Pastry Cream for Dominican Cake

Pastry cream for Dominican cake

Sometimes I think we should change the name of our site to Dominican Cake and Other Recipes.

A good percentage of the people who come to our site do it because they are searching for this recipe, this recipe generates more questions than any other, and it’s the one that seems to give most people the most trouble. I have my theories.

Judging from my experience and many years answering questions on this site, a good deal of these questions could be answered if people read the recipe and accompanying post carefully. Of course the vast majority of people seem to get things right; the percentage of people with catastrophic results is a small minority of those who read and try the recipes. The problem often lies in faulty equipment, stale or wrong ingredients, small mistakes (like opening the oven to check on the cake before is done).

To try to answer as many questions as possible I kept adding to the original recipe, but the Law of Unintended Consequences struck again; with more text to read some people just skipped the “unimportant” parts.

Bizcocho dominicano con crema pastelera

Before you think I am immune to this, let me tell you: I have made the same mistakes many times. Some recipes require little thinking, reading and preparation. You would have to be an incredibly lousy cook to mess them up, and at worst the result might still be edible. Some recipes are not like that. Baking requires precision and sticking to the recipe as if it were law. Only advanced bakers can change things with an idea of what the result will be. Cooking may be an art, but baking is a science.

My worst mistake was a combination of every mistake I warn would-be bakers about. A few years ago I got the cookbook How to Be a Domestic Goddess as a gift from Aunt Ilana. In it I found my favorite dessert in the whole wide world: Crème brûlée. I was very excited and eager to try it. I went as far as spending nearly a hundred dollars at a cookery shop in Santo Domingo to get my hands on a torch. And to debut my first masterpiece I decided to make it for my in-laws’ welcome dinner. Do I need to say what a mistake that was?

creme brulee

I am not exactly sure what went wrong. One of my theories is that the Dominican eggs I used were of significantly-different size than the ones Nigella used. Perhaps the sugar was not the same (did she use beet sugar? I used cane sugar), was it my skipping that teaspoon of orange flower water? Did I read everything carefully enough? Did I skip a step? Whatever it was it seemed unimportant at the time, but the result could not have been more disastrous. That lumpy, stiff concoction was far from the rich, smooth, sophisticated dessert that I yearned for, and with which I wanted to treat my gourmand in-laws. I wanted to curl myself up into a ball on the kitchen floor and cry.

So learn from my mistakes dear readers. Do not prepare an unfamiliar recipe – especially not a complicated one – when you have guests if you have never cooked it successfully before. Read recipes carefully, then read again. Make sure that you follow the recipe to a T (unless you are an experienced cook or baker).

Buen provecho!

Tía Clara
Pastry Cream for Dominican Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pastry Cream is a delicious, grown-up filling for the delicious Dominican cake.
Serves: 2 cups (aprox.)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto (or almond flavoring)
  • ½ cups milk
  1. Separate yolks from egg whites, we'll use only the yolks. You can use the egg whites to make the meringue for the cake.
  2. In a heavy saucepan mix the yolks and sugar mixing without beating (to avoid producing bubbles).
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cornstarch together and add to the yolks, mix well without beating, again, careful not to make bubbles. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Boil the milk. When the milk comes to a boil remove from the fire.
  5. Immediately pour the milk, very slowly, into the yolk mixture, mixing well without beating (bubble thing again).
  6. Boil this mixture over low heat and stir constantly but slowly (bubbles!) until the cream thickens (like yogurt).
  7. Remove from the heat and pour into a glass bowl.
  8. Add the amaretto and mix well. Keep stirring until it reaches room temperature.
  9. Use as filling for your Dominican cake.

This cake has a simple decoration, the texture I made with this tool and I covered it with sugar confetti.

Receive Aunt Clara’s Updates
Find out about new recipes, articles, and sometimes exclusive content.

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Rosio November 6, 2012, 12:14 AM

    el azucar es regular o en polvo? lo hice pero no me salio muy bien.


  • Kristina January 23, 2012, 3:35 PM

    This recipe for the pastry cream sounds divine! I had yummy delish scrumptious Dominican Cake overload this weekend at two parties, and tonight I'm trying my hand at it, because I CANNOT get the memory of the flavor out of my head!…. I'm going to try your recipe.

  • Gisell January 6, 2012, 7:48 AM

    I love your blog!

    I couldn't help when you said your story about the creme brulee, because that has absolutely happened to me!

    The problem with the creme brulee was that it was over baked. When any custard is being baked, it goes through a liquid, then beautifully creamy, then curdle stage!

    I hope you tried again, if you haven't, you definitely should because Creme Brulee is deelicious! Every oven is different, but with custards, the lower, the better!

    Also, make sure that you have a water bath, that should help.

    Good luck!!

    And thank you for your recipes!

    • Aunt Clara January 6, 2012, 8:40 AM

      Oh, I did in the end get it. Unfortunately not from Nigella's recipe but from my father in law's (a chef). I have yet to find out what went wrong with that recipe, and since I didn't have any more need for it I never tried it again.

      For the record, Nigella is an awesome cookbook writer and I never had any trouble with her other recipes. I have to accept that it is very well possible that it was I who messed it up.

  • jacqueline October 16, 2011, 4:35 AM


    how long does this crema last in the refrigerator?

  • Ashley September 17, 2011, 12:51 PM

    do i really need the amarreto??

  • Elisha June 2, 2011, 8:24 AM

    Is this from Dominican Republic? I am doing a school project and I have to make something on this country. Thanks :)

  • Monica April 21, 2011, 2:50 PM

    I just wanted to make sure on this, when using this for the center of the dominican cake instead of pineapple. Do you bake it on the bottom of the pan like the pineapple would be or do you leave it out completely and add it as a sort of 'frosting' layer in between both layers of cake after they are baked?

    • Aunt Clara April 23, 2011, 8:10 PM

      You can do both, I personally prefer to bake the pineapple filling at the bottom of the cake. Pineapple has some tough fibers, they get softer with the baking, and they infuse the cake with the flavor. This only works with the pineapple filling.

  • Aunt Clara April 12, 2011, 11:09 AM

    Always welcome.

  • Elisa A April 12, 2011, 10:58 AM


  • Aunt Clara April 12, 2011, 9:27 AM

    From the article above: "Find the recipe for the Dominican cake here.". There is a link to the recipe there. Please read that one. 😀

  • Elisa A April 12, 2011, 9:23 AM

    Where can I find the recipe for the meringue? please let me know, I'm a master at the cake but when it comes down to "el suspiro/meringue" I'm a disaster. HELP