Dulce de Leche Pionono

Pope Pius IX was also referred to as Pio Nono. This dessert is thought to be named after him. The Pionono is a sponge cake that is rolled with various fillings and is popular in spain, south America, and Philippines. I’m going to stuff mine with Dulce de Leche, which is popular in Argentina.

The first step is to make the sponge cake. I have been doing a lot of baking, but sponge cake requires whipping the ingredients, which I haven’t done before.  I’m a bit nervous, but willing to take on something new. With my handy mixer I get to use the whip attachment to make the batter.



Spread it in a pan over my sili bake mat and bake. Success! It comes out a light thin sponge cake. It’s a little brown on the edges and not a perfect square but I have a knife to help clean things up.



On to make the Dulce de Leche. The recipe is simple: dump the ingredients in a pan and stir. I stir



and stir




and stir



after about 30 minutes of stiring I grab a chair, sit down and continue to stir.



Finally I start to see some difference after 45 minutes of stirring, but it is not done until you can form lines in the sauce and they don’t disappear. So I keep stirring.



After an hour of stirring, my right arm is now noticeably larger than my left.  Lines form and stay, so I’m calling it done.



Now after all this work the recipe wants you to lighten the Duce de leche with some whipping cream, sigh… why couldn’t just stop stirring at 30 minutes ago and get the same consistency. I know, I know , there is some magical flavor with the caramelization. I add the whipped cream that the recipe says and find that it is really watery. Next time I would skip this step or add a fraction at a time to make sure it is just spreadable.  However I’m not going to stir for another hour to re make it. So this is what I have.

Flip the cake out of the pan and spread with powder sugar.



Spread the duce de leche



Then roll



As I suspected the filling is way to watery and just seeps out. My hour and sore right arm are frustrated with what seems to be a mess.




I let the Pionono chill for a few hours and I make a caramel sauce to top on the cake and make a caramel icing with butter and powder sugar and pour over the cake.


Cut and serve. It is decadent. The caramel icing is buttery and rich, the cake is light and soaks up the dulce de leche. It is definitely delicious, but I’m not sure the hour of stirring is worth it.





Dulce de Leche

Orginal recipe can be found here

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of condensed milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place the evaporated milk and the condensed milk in your heaviest pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, baking soda and a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Stir steadily with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  3. Continue to stir until the mixture is making large bubbles, is very thick, and is a golden caramel color. It’s very important to stir constantly at this point to prevent burning.
  4. Lift the spoon out of the pot and drizzle some of the caramel sauce over the surface. If it forms a ribbon that does not disappear after 10 seconds or so, it is ready. Takes about 1 hour.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove cinnamon sticks and stir in the vanilla and the corn syrup.
  7. Let cool completely.


Caramel frosting

Original recipe can be found here

  1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Watch it carefully as the butter can burn quickly.
  2. When butter is light golden brown, add brown sugar. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil and stir for 1 minute until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and add milk. Beat with wire whisk until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla and beat again.
  5. Then add powdered sugar until desired spreading consistency; the frosting should be pourable.


Dulce de Leche de Pionono

Orginal recipe can be found here

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (optional) or 1/4 cup additional all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche
  • Confectioners sugar
  • 1 recipe caramel frosting
  1. Line a 11″ x 17″ jelly roll pan with wax paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour with the salt, almond meal, and baking powder, and set aside.
  3. Place the egg whites in a bowl of a standing mixer and beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer beaten egg whites to a clean bowl.
  5. Add the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the mixing bowl, and beat until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients gently into the egg yolk mixture until just blended, then carefully fold in the egg whites. Spread batter evenly into the prepared jelly roll pan.
  8. Bake cake until it is golden and just starts to spring back to your touch, about 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake, or it will be difficult to roll.
  9. Loosen the edges of the cake by running a knife around them, then turn cake out onto a dish cloth that has been dusted with confectioners sugar. Peel off the wax paper, and dust top of the cake with more confectioners sugar. Let cake cool.
  10. If dulce de leche is thick Place cold whipping cream in a large bowl and beat until medium-firm peaks form. Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and a touch of vanilla. Whisk in 1/8 of a cup at a time until dulce de leche is easily spreadable.
  11. Unroll cake and spread dulce de leche mixture over the cake. roll cake, wrap with saran wrap, and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  12. Once the cake is thoroughly chilled, unwrapped.
  13. Prepare caramel glaze
  14.  While the icing is still warm, pour it over the cake, letting it run down the sides until covered.
  15. Chill cake until ready to serve.

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