What makes Dominican cake so special? Well, you won’t know until you try it, but let me give you a spoiler: It is incredibly delicate in texture and sinfully delicious.
The most important feature of the Dominican cake is that it is very "airy" and moist. It contains a large amount of fat and a large volume of air, producing a cake that virtually dissolves in your mouth.
Dominican cake is the center of every Dominican celebration. No wedding, baptism, or birthday is complete in the Dominican Republic without our delicious traditional cake.
Note: The fruit filling can be prepared a day in advance. This will cut down on the work needed on the day of the event.
Also, please note that you cannot prepare this cake without a mixer. You will need at the very least, a handheld one. You will also need a kitchen scale.
*Note: We strongly suggest that you use a stand mixer. Once you start mixing the cake, it has to be nonstop until the batter is finished. You will need your hands for other tasks, so if using a hand-mixer, please obtain assistance.
**Note: To prepare the meringue, you must keep your utensils scrupulously clean and make sure they are dry before starting. The meringue will not rise if it comes in contact with even a speck of grease. Humidity and room temperature will affect your results — avoid preparing it on a humid, cold, or rainy day.
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients, simmer, covered, over very low heat until the pineapple is tender and the consistency of marmalade, at least 1 hour. Stir often to avoid scorching and add water as necessary. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Set aside.
Grease and flour two 8-inch round baking pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and mix well. Set aside. Let all of the ingredients come to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat together the margarine, butter, and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy and has a very light yellow color, about 4 minutes.*
One by one, add the eggs and continue beating for about 1 minute after adding each egg. Slowly add the lime zest and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the juice, and when it is well mixed, add 1/3 of the flour. Repeat adding the flour and juice in thirds and keep whisking until all is well-mixed before adding the next third.
As soon as you've stopped mixing the last batch of flour, turn off the mixer. You should have a fluffy batter with a smooth and even consistency. Pour ½ of the pineapple filling into each baking pan. (Make sure not to disturb the layer of butter and flour at the bottom of each pan.) Pour in ½ the batter in each one. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites in a glass or stainless steel bowl until it forms soft peaks. Slowly whisk in the powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks.** Add the salt and cream of tartar while still whisking.
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil gradually over very low heat. If you have a candy thermometer (highly recommended) boil until the caramel has reached 235 degrees. (If you don't have a candy thermometer, boil until the caramel is thick but still transparent — it must not burn.) Very slowly pour the caramel into the egg white mixture while beating at high speed until well mixed.
Cut the crust from the cake. Join both cakes filling-side in. Spread the meringue over the cake using a cake spatula.