pumpkin pound cake with dulce de leche swirls

by Patricia on November 2, 2009 · 17 comments


I made a batch of dulce de leche brownies last week for my humor writing class (it was my turn to bring snacks), but the recipe only calls for about half of the can. Which meant there was some leftover. Which meant I was left vulnerable. So I put the leftovers in a jar and locked it away into the refrigerator, hoping to forget about it for a while. But… Why would I want to forget about dulce de leche? How could I lock it away instead of celebrate it’s existence?… it’s rich, creamy, caramel-y existence?

Because I am weak. And because the last time I had leftover dulce de leche it never made it into the refrigerator, it only made it as far as a spoon which led it to my mouth. And I enjoyed every minute of it. However, when the moment was over I realized I had just eaten almost a cup of dulce de leche with a spoon. Surely that can’t be right. Where did it all go? I have more self-control than that.


Well, maybe not. So this time I wanted to resist… to be a little more disciplined. We’re entering the Holiday Season in which there will be more butter-laden treats than any one person should be allowed to sample but I will probably sample them all. However, I’d like to give myself a fighting chance to fit into my jeans come New Year which means not eating some beautifully rich and silky things with a spoon and utter abandon. And so, I locked the dulce de leche away in the fridge and tried to forget about it.

A couple of days later I woke to a desperate cry for help. The dulce de leche wanted to be free. Why was I being so cruel? How could I lock it away like that when we would both be happier if it were free to consort with spoons and the like? Well. Hrm. I could see this was going to be a tougher than I thought. Not only was the dulce de leche taunting me, but it was burdening me with a guilt trip. I immediately began to look for a mitigation plan. I saw a can of pumpkin and was hit with inspiration: pumpkin pound cake with dulce de leche swirls. The dulce de leche would be used up and I could give most of the cake away leaving me free from temptation. A brilliant plan.

In the end, I did not use up all of the leftover dulce de leche. I didn’t want to over-swirl the pound cake. Or maybe, subconsciously, I wanted to have some left to eat with a spoon…


Pumpkin Pound Cake with Dulce de Leche Swirls

(adapted from the Brown butter pound cake in Gourmet, October 2009)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
about 1/2 – 3/4 cup dulce de leche

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch (or 9 by 5-inch) loaf pan.
  2. Heat the butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until the milk solids on the bottom are a dark chocolate brown (Note: I found it easier to see this by removing the butter from the pan because my skillet is dark). Transfer to a shallow bowl and put it in the freezer just until it congealed, about 15 minutes (My butter got hard on top in the freezer but had some liquid still underneath that shell. If this happens to you, mix it for a minute so that it becomes one soft mass instead of some hard and some liquid).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice.
  4. Cream the brown butter with the sugars with mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and pumpkin.
  5. On a low speed, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Transfer about half of the batter to the loaf pan and smooth it around so that it covers the bottom of the pan and forms an even layer. Place small grape-sized dollops of dulce de leche on the surface. Swirl by running the tip of a knife through one or two times to create a swirly pattern.
  7. Cover with the rest of the batter, smooth the surface. Use the rest of the dulce de leche on top, also in small grape-sized dollops and swirled with the tip of a knife.
  8. Bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours (75 to 90 minutes).
  9. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a rack (right side up) to cool completely, about one hour.

Want more dulce de leche?

Make your own dulce de leche:


1 holly November 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm

ach!! when you say “1 can” of puree, what size is it? typically it comes in huuuge cans, or do you mean a regular 8oz can?

2 Patricia November 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm

The cans of pumpkin purée that I find at the stores are 15 ounces (about 2 cups). The recipe for this cake only uses about half of that (or 1 cup of purée).

Hope that helps!

3 Heidi November 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

This poundcake looks divine and your photos are wonderful. Dulce De Leche is just about my favorite food in the world. I can literally sit and eat a whole can. I’ve tried making it myself with sweetened condensed milk but it’s never quite the same as when you purchase it pre-made. But I can never find the premade cans at a good price. Always so expensive so I tend not to bake with it much.

Anyway, really enjoy your blog and your archive of recipes.

4 Veronica November 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Woo-hoo! I made this yesterday and it’s fabulous! I noticed that it got more pound cake-like the next day. Yesterday it seemed more like regular cake–how weird! Did that happen to you too?

5 Brit Hammer November 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I think A and I might just have to move in with you. We could camp in your yard or something. Really, we don’t take up much room, are super neat & clean, and would be more than happy to sacrifice ourselves to help you finish that Dulce de Leche. AND the pumkination… And I’ll even wash the dishes! :-)

6 Veronica November 3, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I actually just made that brown butter pound cake a couple weeks ago–doubled the recipe in fact–and totally ruined it by overbaking it! It’s still in the freezer, waiting to be turned into a bread pudding or trifle or strange tres leches concoction–haven’t decided how to rescue the dried loaves yet. In any case, it looks like I’ll be trying this version of it b/c it looks absolutely irresistable. I commend your pumpkin & dulce de leche additions–a stroke of genius, for sure! Was it still heavy like pound cake after the pumpkin was added or did that change the texture? I’m not a pound-cake purist so I don’t really care if it’s not a true pound cake, but am curious.

7 CB November 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

You had me at dulce de leche swirls!

8 Lori @ RecipeGirl November 3, 2009 at 5:56 am

Sounds/looks amazing. I’m completely addicted to all things dulce de leche!! I did a tutorial on making it in the oven too… so much easier than any other method. Thanks for the link love :)

9 Amanda November 3, 2009 at 4:58 am

Wow this looks incredible!

10 Dan November 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

So good…I’m still not sure if it’s actually pound cake or just really good pumpkin bread, but must add to the favorites! :)

11 Patricia November 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

It is pound cake.

12 Charles Thompson November 2, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I bought dulce de leche so I could make David Lebovitz’s dulce de leche brownies. Now I know what to do with any leftover dulce de leche! Yum and thanks!

13 Patricia November 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

Definitely make the brownies. They are so good. Possibly the best brownie I’ve eaten..

14 heather November 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm

that looks CRAZY good. if i hadn’t already been bombarding my boyfriend with pumpkin recipes, making him beg me to cease and desist for the time being, i’d certainly be making this! maybe i’ll just have it all for my very own.



15 Patricia November 3, 2009 at 9:18 am

thanks heather. I totally understand… I am almost done with pumpkin myself. Maybe I should refrain from pumpkinating for a little while so that I can still eat pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

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