Caramel Macchiato Cake

White frosted cake with caramel swirls on side against a white backdrop with a pitcher of milk and stacked plates

5 from 7 reviews

This caramel macchiato cake has everything you love about the classic Starbuck drink: 3 layers of rich espresso cake, sweetened milk frosting and dulce de leche filling.



For the espresso cake:

For the filling:

For the frosting:


  1. Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and granulated sugar.
  3. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water and cook until the egg/sugar mixture is hot (about 10 minutes).
  4. While the mixture cooks, combine the milk and espresso powder. Microwave until the mixture is warm and then whisk the espresso powder in until it has completely dissolved.
  5. Place the bowl with the sugar/egg back on the stand mixer and whip until the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Add the remaining ingredients (milk/espresso powder, vegetable oil and vanilla extract) and mix on low until just combined.
  7. Grease and line three 6″ cake pans and split the batter between them (if you like to weigh out your batter like I do, you should have right around 9.3oz of batter in each pan).
  8. Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. To make the frosting, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan.
  10. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup is completely clear.
  11. While the syrup cooks, whip your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  12. On high, pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl and into the egg whites. Continue to whip on high until the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 15 minutes).
  13. On low, begin adding small slices of the butter until all the butter has been added.
  14. Whip the frosting on high until it becomes a thick frosting (it’ll look curdled at first, but don’t worry. Just keep on whipping).
  15. Turn the mixer down to low, add the sweetened condensed milk, and continue whipping until the frosting is completely smooth.
  16. To assemble the cake, level your layers of cake, spread a thick layer of frosting and use a spoon to carve out some of the frosting in the center. You want to create a shallow area in the center to hold the dulce de leche and keep it from running out over the sides.
  17. Repeat for the second layer of cake.
  18. Once all three layers are assembled, give the cake a crumb coat and allow to crust in the refrigerator (about 15 minutes).
  19. Frost the rest of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  20. To create the dulce de leche swirl, spoon 2-3 tablespoons onto the top. Use an offset spatula to work it out towards the edges.
  21. Use an offset spatula to add dulce de leche to the sides of the cake, pulling it down diagonally. Repeat around the top edge of the cake until the whole cake is covered.


Cake recipe adapted from Miette (2011), pg. 26