The best way to welcome anyone looking for Dominican desserts is to present them with the best of our selection, but that would seem impossible to agree upon, let's see how we do.
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"Dominican Desserts" is one of the most-searched-for terms on our blog. We don't really need to explain why they are so popular, but I will: A Dominican lunch meal is only properly ended with a "dulcito" -- an endearing term for desserts in the Dominican Republic, usually served with a "cafecito".
There are very many dessert recipes in our blog. Most are part of the traditional Dominican repertoire, while others are recipes of my own creation. It occurred to me that the best way to welcome anyone looking for Dominican desserts is to present them with the best of our selection. Of course that would be impossible to agree upon, so I'll go with second-best: Most-shared on social media. It's a consensus (of sorts), so if anyone has made this decision, it's our readers.
Our most popular Dominican Desserts on social media:
10. Flan (Creme Caramel)
At no. 10 on our list we have a classic, and while Flan is not uniquely Dominican, it's as popular here as it is nearly everywhere in the Hispanic world, so it should not come as any surprise. If you're looking for a decadent, luxurious dessert that takes very little effort to make, I've got it right here. If you're looking for a non-traditional version, try this Coffee Liqueur Flan, or if you are a vegan, try this Auyama Flan than can be made with vegan ingredients.
9. Pudín de Pan (Spiced Bread Pudding)
Pudin de Pan is another dish that has its equivalent in many other countries, each adding their own little touch. Ours has a great combination of spices going for it and a juicy, chewy texture that I love. This is the perfect way to get rid of day-old bread, but it's so good that I sometimes buy fresh bread (and let it sit for a day) just so I can indulge. I have also created a spinoff of this recipe that is somewhere between bread pudding and flan.
8. Tres Leches (Three-Milk Cake)
I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but this is yet another dessert that is popular all across Latin America. Tres Leches is a spongy cake bathed in a sweet milk sauce and topped with either whipped cream (my favorite) or meringue (I've seen both). It has a nice combination of textures, and when served chilled (as it should) it makes you wish that the moment never ends. If you feel like trying something different, we have an amazing coffee liqueur Tres Leches Shots that are the kind of things grown-ups dream about, and if you're looking for a kid-friendly dessert, I've also turned it into a Paleta de Tres Leches (popsicle).
7. Bizcocho Dominicano (Dominican Cake)
Now we're talking! Before I started writing this, if you'd asked me what I thought would be the most popular Dominican dessert on our blog, this would have been one of my top two choices. If you've never tried Dominican Cake, I'm going to tell you why it's so special: It's very light and airy - it basically melts in your mouth. It's usually filled with pineapple jam, which gives it a bit of tartness that works very well with this cake. The Italian meringue topping is so airy and fluffy that it doesn't compete with the cake itself.
6. Cocadas (Flourless Coconut Cupcakes)
This is another surprise to find on this list. Mind you, it's one of my favorite Dominican desserts (anything with coconut, really), but it isn't one Dominicans would put on a top-ten list. I'll hazard a guess that the translation I gave to Cocadas is to be
blamed credited for its popularity: "Flourless" is a buzzword these days, with people -- for a variety or reasons -- choosing to forego gluten in their diets. It's also a very simple dessert, with few and common ingredients. Also, coconut.
5. Maíz Caquiao / Chacá (Cracked Corn Pudding)
I'm so happy to see Maíz Caquiao on this list. Mami would be proud, as this was her favorite dessert, and I think I've done it justice. Maíz Caquiao is how it's known in the northern and Cibao regions, while Chacá is the name given to this dish in the south. In some parts of the country it's served during the Lenten season, but, for the most part, it's a year-round dessert.
4. Dulce Frío (Dominican Trifle)
I'm not surprised that Dulce Frío is so popular. Trifles are a thing nearly everywhere, so it has resonated with Dominicans and non-Dominicans alike. They look fancy, as does this one, but can be very easy to prepare. I must confess that my recipe is slightly more complex than the traditional one, but I can assure you that it's totally worth it and I can see that lots of people agree.
3. Dominican Arepa (Cornmeal and Coconut Cake)
Another non-surprise. Arepa is a very popular dessert in our country. It contains simple, easy-to-find ingredients, and has a unique combination of flavors and consistency. This is a dish with a complicated name. Arepa is used throughout Latin-America for other, very different corn-based dishes, while here it is a dessert (although there's a savory version too). In some parts of the country, the name "arepa" is used for yet another non-corn-based dish, and this one is called "torta" (which is also a generic Spanish name for cake). Separated by a common language indeed.
2. Habichuelas con Dulce (Sweet Cream of Beans)
I expected to find this one atop the list (this is why I do not gamble), but hey, no. 2 is also good. Habichuelas con Dulce is truly a Dominican invention. While investigating its origins, Aunt Ilana discovered other similar dishes, but none were close enough to be recognized as the ancestor of this dish.
This is a Dominican dessert traditionally served during the Lenten season and prepared in large quantities to share with family and neighbors.
1. Paletas de Coco (Coconut Popsicles)
Surprise, surprise! With many tens of thousands of shares on social media, this is nearly twice as popular as Habichuelas con Dulce.
While Paleta de Coco (recipe here) is a simple dessert, steeped in childhood memories, and with all we imagine in a favorite tropical dessert, there is something else about this humble treat (let's call it zeitgeist) that has made it the most-shared dessert in our blog, and one of the top most-shared recipes in all of our recipe collection. This is something I would not have bet on: after all, there are some very unique desserts in our cuisine. My guess is that this is just very popular amongst our non-Dominican readers, and I'm fine with that.
More Dominican desserts
This list may come as a surprise to many. It certainly is for me; there are so many other Dominican desserts to choose from, so I am not sure why these, in particular, seem to resonate with our readership. I'll leave the answer to that to somebody smarter than me. Let us know in the comments if you have any theories.
If you have your own favorite on that list, just go ahead and share on social media - this is a vote where rigging is completely fine by me.