A Little Latin Flair


I consider myself to be very lucky in many aspects of life, especially when it comes to my family. I have the unique privilege of having a second family in Ecuador. Years ago when my father was in high school, he hosted an exchange student through AFS. Oscar was from Guayaquil Ecuador and stayed with my father in Tupper Lake for an entire school year. Coming from a very large city to a tiny town was quite the experience for Oscar. After he went back to Ecuador, he kept in contact with my family and the relationship has blossomed ever since. Oscar has two daughters, both of which have been visiting the states since they were little. They are both fluent in English and have attended college in the states. Through our unconventional family, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador myself. I’m eternally grateful to both Oscar and his wife Kerly for everything they have exposed me to. Thanks to them I have experienced latin culture in a way I never could have by myself. This past summer with Kerly I was able to volunteer at a hospital and see nearly every part of Guayaquil, delivering medicine and assistance to the impoverished. I cannot thank her enough for those experiences, since they have completely changed my life.

This past Tuesday, one of Oscars daughters, Beverly, celebrated her 22nd birthday. Since she goes to college so close to us, we decided to have a little birthday party for her. I immediately knew what I would make her for a cake. This is a cake that I have been enjoying since I was little. When the family would all come to visit, Kerly would make this cake for my sister and I. We would have little parties while they were here even though it wasn’t truly our birthday. I can remember watching, mesmerized by Kerly’s movements in the kitchen, and the smooth flow of spanish rolling off her tongue. Adding drops of food coloring to the frosting was how I learned to count in Spanish. Even when I started traveling down to Ecuador we still made the cake together. Since this recipe reminds me so much of Kerly and Ecuador I knew that a little taste of home would be perfect for Beverly.

The cake is an Orange Vanilla base that’s then split and filled with Manjar, and finished up with a meringue frosting. Manjar is Ecuador’s version of Dulce de Leche sauce. It’s quite thick, and is sold in the grocery store in jars. Typically it’s used in desserts, but it’s also used to spread on bread or cookies for breakfast. My sister and I both LOVE the stuff so we make sure to pack multiple jars in our suitcases to bring home. Since Manjar can’t be purchased in the states, a homemade Dulce de Leche or store bought would be fine.

I was very nervous when making this cake since it’s the first time I haven’t had Kerly at my side helping me. Also, baking in Ecuador and baking in the States is very very different. For one, the flour in Ecuador comes premixed with baking powder. This made it difficult to decide how much baking powder to add. Also, the cake doesn’t rise very much and stays pretty dense. I’m not a huge cake lover but this one is incredible. I highly recommend it.



  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 sticks plus 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. beat the butter until creamed
  3. Then little by little add the sugar. Mix well until completely combined
  4. Next add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  5. Mix the flour and baking powder together
  6. Mix the vanilla into the orange juice.
  7. Add the flour and orange juice, little by little, to the butter, alternating between the two. Make sure to start and end with the flour mixture.
  8. Butter and flour two 9 inch baking rounds
  9. Evenly divide the batter and baker for 50 minutes, or until the center is no longer wet.

Note: Slice the layers in half if you would like to add a Dulce de Leche filling.


Meringue Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice



  1. Heat the water and sugar on the stove
  2. Boil until mixture becomes slightly thick
  3. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks
  4. Slowly pour the hot sugar into the egg whites while whipping them
  5. Add the lime juice
  6. Color frosting if desired and decorate






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