An alfajor is one of the most popular cookies in South America. The cookie part is soft like a shortbread cookie and the filling is dulce de leche.
For Mother’s Day I wanted to make something that reminds me of my mom. She used to make alfajores all the time so I created this alfajor cake which is the perfect treat to celebrate Mother’s Day.
This alfajor has five big cookie layers and the filling is a delicious “manjar de olla” which is made with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. This “manjar de olla” is the Peruvian version of dulce de leche.
The difference between dulce de leche, arequipe ,cajeta or manjar is just how each country prefers to create their milk based caramel.
Let’s start with the recipe and if you want to watch how I made this alfajor cake, visit me on Instagram @pastry_tales
Yield one 7 inch layer cake
For the homemade dulce de leche or manjar de olla
1 can sweetened condensed milk by Magnolia
1 can evaporated milk by Magnolia
For the alfajor cake
3 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 and ½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
18 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup milk at room temperature. You can use full fat, low-fat, 2%
For the manjar de olla
1.- Pour condensed and evaporated milk in a pot on low heat and move with a spatula until it thickens. Don’t stop mixing with your spatula because the milk can stick to the bottom and burn. You’ll have to be patient because this process takes about 20-25 minutes.
2.- Your mixture should look thick in the pot. The best trick to know if it’s ready is when you run the spatula across the mixture and you can see the bottom of the pan.
3.- Pour the mixture into a heat proof container and let it cool completely.
For the alfajor cake
1.- In a big bowl and using an electric mixer, cream butter for about 2 minutes. Then, add granulated sugar and mix for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2.- Add milk, flour, baking powder and mix in low speed for one minute. Then, turn up your speed to medium and mix until everything is well combined and it forms a smooth dough.
3.- Weigh the dough and divide in 5 equal parts and form dough balls with your hands. Each dough ball weighs about 195 grams.
4.- Roll out each ball dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and then using a big circle (7 inch) and a pencil, draw the circle on the parchment paper and then cut with scissors. I used a 7 inch pan for the circles. Repeat this process with the 5 layers and them put one on top of other (with the parchment paper still between each circle).
*The amount of dough will give you 6 layers. Please, make the extra one because sometimes one layer can break and you can have an extra one to use.
5.- Refrigerate for 5-6 hours or overnight. We need the dough very cold so it doesn’t spread a lot while baking.
After the chilling time is done…
6.- Preheat oven to 350 F.
7.- Take them out from the fridge, remove parchment paper and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 2 layers at the time for about 15-20 minutes until they are really golden in color. Repeat this process with the other layers. Let them cool completely.
8.- Make layers of alfajor and manjar. First, grab one cookie layer, place it on top of a regular dish and then spread some manjar. Then, transfer it to the cake dish that you want to use. Repeat this process with all the layers. I recommend that you spread the manjar off your alfajor tower so there is less chance of it breaking.
9.- When you finish with all layers, sprinkle some powdered sugar on the last layer. Enjoy!