This simple meringues and dulce de leche cake roll (or pionono) has a very spongy base with no butter. The hero of this recipe is the filling with the creamiest dulce de leche and crunchy meringues. An absolute classic in every Argentinean childhood birthday party!
This dessert receives many names in Spanish, but I know it as pionono. No matter the name, there is no doubt it is a delicious and easy-to-make dessert.
As a child in Argentina, I remember there wasn’t such a thing like a birthday party without a good dulce de leche cake roll. Each family would prepare it differently though. With dulce de leche, with meringues, covered in chocolate, very thin or thicker. However, 99% of the times, it was bought at a bakery. Considering I can’t buy it at a store here in Australia, I had to learn how to make this recipe. Didn’t get another option!
The base is very flexible and spongy, which is achieved by following a few little tips I’ll share later on. And what’s great is that you can used it for sweet or savoury dishes. So as I’ve told you there is no birthday without a dulce de leche cake roll, there is no Christmas with my mom’s classic savoury pionono filled with palm hearts.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s super easy and quick to make, even for kids.
- The decoration provides lots of flexibility, so let your creativity run wild.
- The cake roll on its own can be used for sweet or savoury dishes.
How to make this meringues and dulce de leche cake roll
The recipe itself can be ready and baked in less than 15 minutes.
However, there are some important tips to make sure you’ll get a spongy and flexible base, both for the ingredients and in the cooking step.
What ingredients you need to make the cake roll
You’ll only need three ingredients: eggs, sugar and flour. No butter or vanilla essence. That’s all! Of course then comes the most fun and yummy part: the dulce de leche filling.
What’s extremely convenient about this recipe is that, for every egg, you’ll need one tablespoon of sugar and one of flour. So, if we prefer to bake a smaller cake roll, we can choose to use 2 or 3 eggs, 2 or 3 tbsp of sugar and 2 or 3 tbsp of flour. Super mega easy!
Eggs: First, the eggs have to be at room temperature. When baking, you should make sure to remove the eggs from the fridge 30 minutes before starting the recipe. Then, we’ll split the eggs into whites and yolks. Make sure you don’t get any yolks in the egg whites. Otherwise, they won’t get fluffy.
Sugar: This recipe calls for regular granulated sugar. No powder, icing or raw sugar, please.
Flour: The self-rising flour is what will help the cake roll to be spongy and not too compacted. One essential thing you have to do here is to sift the flour before adding it to the batter. This will prevent you from having any clumps.
Steps to get the best cake roll
Before getting started, I suggest you get all three ingredients and equipment ready to go.
We’ll need a hand-held or standing electric mixer, which will help to get fluffy and airy cake roll base, a spatula and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
While we get all the ingredients ready, preheat your oven to 200 °C (390 °F). This will bake the cake roll very quickly, so keep an eye on it!
The first step is to split the eggs. In a large bowl, add the egg whites, and in a small one, the yolks. Using an electric mixer at mid-high speed, whip the egg whites until you get firm peaks.
Next, using a fork, mix the egg yolks in a small bowl and then, add them to the egg whites very slowly. It’s crucial to pour them very slowly, which prevents the egg whites to lose volume.
The next step will be to sprinkle the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking for one more minute.
Lastly, we need to set the mixer to low speed to sprinkle the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until all the ingredients are well combined.
Then, pop the baking sheet into your preheated oven for 6-7 minutes. Or until it’s light golden brown.
Once you take it out of the oven, there is an important step to make sure the cake roll is flexible enough to roll it without it breaking apart.
We’ll put the cake roll face down on a lint-free kitchen towel and very lightly, roll it with the parchment paper facing up. This will allow its own heat to make the base moist enough to roll it once it has cooled down completely.
Once the cake roll is at room temperature, unroll it and using an offset spatula or spoon, spread some dulce de leche. You can choose how much you “need”. Then, it’s time to add the crushed meringues. Using your hand, press them down into the dulce de leche, so you can roll the pionono very well. This time, roll it tightly with the help of the parchment paper.
Once it’s rolled, cover it again with the parchment paper and the kitchen towel and pop it into the fridge for an hour before cutting it.
How to fill this cake roll
Once the base is at room temperature, it’s time for the fun part: the filling!
I would say the sky is the limit. The classic one is using plain dulce de leche. But you can easily play and try different combinations of flavours. These are some of my favorite:
- Crushed meringe and dulce de leche (as in this recipe)
- Dulce de leche and peaches in syrup
- Any type of buttercream (see recipe for dulce de leche buttercream)
- Dulce de leche covered with chocolate ganache
Now, it’s time to enjoy this meringues and dulce de leche cake roll at your next birthday, as dessert, at tea time or however you prefer.
Other recipes with dulce de leche:
- Dulce de Leche and Double Chocolate Bars
- Coconut and Dulce de Leche Tart
- Argentinean Rogel
- Cakey Dulce de Leche and Cashew Brownies
Don’t forget to leave a comment down below if you try this recipe (and why not, an Uber-style rating? ★★★★★). It not only helps me but also other people that want to try it. You can also tag me on Instagram or Pinterest so I get to check your photos or send them to me privately if you are shy.
Meringues and dulce de leche cake roll
- 5 eggs split
- 5 tbsp white sugar
- 5 tbsp self-rising flour sifted
- Dulce de leche to taste
- Meringue to taste, crushed
- Preheat your oven to 200 ℃ (390 F).
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and then add to the egg whites very slowly.
- Sprinkle the sugar on the egg mix, one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is still on.
- Lower the mixer's speed to low and sprinkle the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until everything is well combined.
- Pour the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and non-stick spray.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until the top of the cake roll is light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and place it, warm as it is, top down on a kitchen towel. Make sure the parchment paper is facing up. Roll it lightly.
- Once the cake roll has cooled down completely, unroll it and spread some dulce de leche. Add the crushed meringues at this stage.
- Roll the cake roll tightly, using the parchment paper as help.
- Pop into the fridge for one hour before cutting it.
- STORAGE: Store in an air-tight container for 3 days in the fridge or freeze for upto 3 months.
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