Mexican Caramel: Cajeta de Celaya.

Mexican Caramel (Cajeta) is a dessert very popular in Mexico. The dish consist in a creamy and sweet dessert that is thick enough to spread between cake layers or on cookies.

This Mexican caramel is undoubtedly a window to nostalgia for many Mexicans. One of those desserts that remind us of our childhood when we loved to eat it straight from the box as a snack in the afternoon.

Mexican Caramel Cajeta in a Jar

What is Cajeta?

Cajeta is a Mexican traditional dessert from Celaya city, in the state of Guanajuato (hence the name). Because of its origin and the fact that this state was where the Mexican War of Independence began, in September 2010 the recipe was declared “Dessert of the Mexican Bicentennial”.

This dessert has a creamy consistency, suitable for spreading on bolillo bread and also to use it in many Mexican desserts, like in Coyotas cookies. To this day, Celaya is famous for making its traditional desserts using this preparation, and let me tell you that they are truly delicious!.

The name has a reason: Formerly, the Cajeta de Celaya was packed only in wooden boxes, called Cajetes. These wooden boxes are (imho) pretty cute and are still used to sell Cajeta de Celaya all around the country.

Difference between Cajeta and Dulce de Leche

Even though Cajeta is often misrepresented as mexican Dulce the Leche, the truth is that they’re not the same thing. The main difference between the two is that the former is made with goat’s milk while dulce de leche is prepared with cow’s milk.

Another big difference is the taste. Dulce de Leche has a caramel-like flavour, while the Mexican dessert has a deeper taste, often because some other ingredients are added and because the preparation is a bit longer.

About The Texture

While this Mexican caramel is now widely sold in bottles as a sauce to pour over desserts, truth is, the texture of the artisanal dessert is more thicker, perfect to spread in bread, cakes or cookies.

To achieve this texture at home is kind of tricky. Firs you need to let the milk boil for a little bit more than the recipe calls, but taking care to not over due or the milk and sugar will burn and you’ll obtain burnt cajeta (more of this below).

Also, you’ll need to leave the preparation to reach room temperature, preferably overnight, then you’ll notice how the texture gets more thicker after that.

Closeup on cajeta texture.

Variations

QUEMADA – Meaning “burned cajeta”, this flavour is one of the most popular around the country. It’s deeper and as the names indicates, it taste a little burnt and has a more darker color.

ENVINADA – This type contains alcohol into the mix and has a slight liquor aftertaste. Originally, it was wine (vino), but now many artisanal producers of cajeta have experimented with other forms of alcohol like Brandy, Cognac and even Tequila.

DE VAINILLA – Adding vanilla to the preparations makes Cajeta de Vainilla or Avainillada. The taste has a subtly flavour and the aroma is delicious.

The ingredients

MILK: The traditional recipe for this Mexican caramel is prepared with goat’s milk, sometimes using only this and sometimes using a mixture of goat and cow’s milk. In this recipe we have used goat milk because is very easy to find where we live. But most of the homemade recipes for cajeta calls for cow milk because is easier to find.

SUGAR: Regular white refined sugar. Sometimes I also use a combination of white and brown sugar.

BAKING SODA: Bicarbonate of soda helps to give it that golden and deeper color.

The step by step recipe + VIDEO

  • In a medium saucepan, put the milk, sugar, bicarbonate and vanilla essence, place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • When the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly for about an hour.
  • After half an hour the milk will be more or less of this consistency and color.
The milk simmered for half and hour.
  • After an hour, the milk will have completely changed color, taking the classic brown color of the cajeta.
  • When the mexican caramel is ready after about 1 hour, the consistency will be a little runny, as seen in the photo below.
Mexican caramel being cooked after 1 hour.
  • Let it rest for around 10 minutes and then transfer it into a container and let it cool completely.
  • When the cajeta cools, it will have a thicker consistency, perfect for spreading on cookies or bread.

Recipe notes

  • It is important not to stop stirring, otherwise the milk could stick to the bottom of the pot and burn only there, leaving a slightly unpleasant smell and taste.
  • You need to “play” with the heat, raising it and lowering it from time to time to allow the water from the milk to evaporate slowly.
  • You can let the caramel cook for more than an hour, it will acquire a darker color and a thicker consistency.
  • If you want to make Cajeta Envinada (with alcohol) you can add 2 tbsp of Cognac or Brandy at the end of the preparation.
  • You can also adjust the cooking and make it more saucy is you want. Becky from “My Savoury Adventures” did it to drizzle over her delicious Puff Pastry Apple Pie!

Watch How To Make It

How To Store It

You can store cajeta in a glass container or jar. It will last about 2 months in the fridge thanks to the sugar that acts as preservative. If you notice the consistency gets too hard, place the jar in a bowl with hot water for a few minutes and it will become spreadable again.

Mexican Related Recipes: Polvorones | Pan de Muerto.

Cajeta de Celaya (Mexican caramel)

Mexican Caramel (Cajeta) is a dessert very popular in Mexico. The dish consist in a creamy and sweet dessert that is thick enough to spread between cake layers or on cookies.
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 1 hour 5 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2 jars (250 gr each)

Ingredients 

  • 4 ¼ cups Goat's milk (or cow's milk)
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, put the milk, sugar, bicarbonate and vanilla essence, place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • When the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly for about an hour.
  • After half an hour the milk will be more or less of this consistency and color.
  • After an hour, the milk will have completely changed color, taking the classic brown color of the cajeta.
    Cajeta texture.
  • Let it rest for around 10 minutes and then transfer it to a container and let it cool completely.
  • When the cajeta cools, it will have a thicker consistency, perfect for spreading on cookies or bread.

notes

  • It is important not to stop stirring, otherwise the milk could stick to the bottom of the pot and burn only there, leaving a slightly unpleasant smell and taste.
  • You can let the cajeta cook for more than an hour, it will acquire a darker color and a thicker consistency.
  • If you want to make Cajeta Envinada (with alcohol) you can add 2 tbsp of Cognac or Brandy at the end of the preparation.
Nutrition
Calories: 941kcal | Carbohydrates: 173g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 1062mg | Sugar: 173g | Vitamin A: 1027IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 696mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram! @maricruzava.blog

Similar Posts

20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’d love to try the cajeta envinada. I can’t imagine what the taste would be. But some liquor in combination with this caramel can only be delicious.

  2. Love the blog. Love the history. The recipe seems pretty straightforward. I was not familiar with this desert, although I have had dolce de leche several times and love it. Would love to try this as well.

  3. 5 stars
    This looks so good! Would be perfect on any fall dessert, such as apple pie, cheesecakes and pretty much anything.

  4. 5 stars
    Mexican Caramel is totally new to me! I love the texture and the thought that it is. spread! What a lovely colour. I suppose the flavours will be awesome. I wish I can make it but first will have to hunt for a goat! :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating