This recipe is adapted from Rick Bayless’ Mexico One Plate at a Time.


  • 1 quart goat milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, preferably Mexican, split open
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water 


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the milk, sugar and vanilla and place over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until it comes to a simmer and sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and add dissolved baking soda. It will bubble up. When the bubbles have subsided, return the pot to the heat.

Adjust heat so that the milk is simmering briskly. Cook, stirring regularly, until the it turns pale golden, about one hour.

You will now need to stir the milk more frequently as it  thickens and turns a caramel-brown color. Don’t allow the milk to stick to the bottom of the pot. It will probably cook for another 30-45 minutes, depending on how hot you simmer it. It is done when it reaches the soft ball stage, or a deep caramel color.

Strain the cajeta through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or pyrex measuring cup to coolWhen the cajeta is cool, it should be a medium-thick sauce. If it’s too thick, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the proper consistency. If it is too thin, return to the heat until it thickens.

Refrigerate until ready to use. But reheat before serving; cajeta is best served warm.