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Tres Leches Cake

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See these three milks (tres leches)? Imagine them stirred up together and poured over a hot sponge cake that soaks up every drop until it is bursting with sweet milk, and then slathered with a light & fluffy white topping after being chilled. That’s this cake. And it’s fabulous.

My first and only Tres Leches Cake experience prior to making this one was taking a bite of one that was brought to a Church potluck dinner a decade ago. I believe it was made from a mix and there is no comparison between it and this one. The texture was too fine and the cake too moist to properly absorb all the liquid and flavor of the milks and it was almost a pile of mush on my plate. Not very appetizing.

If it wasn’t for my friend, Marina, who provides me with so many wonderful recipes, I never would have tried another. But she mentioned that she had a fabulous recipe for one and since I can’t resist a fabulous recipe, particularly one that comes from her, I asked if she would share it and happily for us, she did!

I made the cake for my husband to take to a Mexican-themed potluck at work, along with Chicken Enchilada Chili.  They gobbled it up and Dennis came home with rave reviews.  The story that tickled me most was about a co-worker who has been on a diet but decided to take a small piece.  He was still standing next to the cake when he took his first bite and immediately cut himself a larger second piece before he even finished the first.  I don’t blame him! 

Just look at this milk-laden goodness.  If you stare at it long enough, you can almost hear it whisper, “Eat me.  You know you want to.” 

I did nab a piece myself before sending it off with Dennis.  What, don’t you take a piece for yourself before bringing cake to potlucks?  You should–just tell anyone that asks that you did it for quality control purposes.  Works for me.  Anyway, see that piece below with the cherries on top, à la Pioneer Woman?  I ate that sucker in a minute flat.  Then I licked the plate.

I’m sending this recipe to Creative Sanyukta, the host for this week’s BSI–milk!

 

TRES LECHE CAKE

Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Topping:
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

Icing:
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form.  (I’m impatient so I beat them on high speed.)  Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and beat to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.)  Add the vanilla.   Bake until golden & a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

To make the cream topping:
Whisk together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a medium bowl.  Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the icing:
Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 to 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. While beating, add the hot syrup in a stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture cools, and a glossy icing forms.

To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

recipe courtesy of Marina C.

*Veronica’s Note:  This recipe is similar to Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but makes a larger cake (compare the ingredients, there’s larger quantities of most everything) and the method is easier–you don’t have to use more than one bowl.  Also, instead of whipped cream on top, Marina’s calls for a light egg white frosting (you may have heard it called 7-minute frosting, but the method here is a little different) that is fat-free, and since the cake already contains three highly caloric milks, I thought it was heavy enough without adding any additional fat.  It wasn’t a hard decision choosing Marina’s recipe over Ree’s (although I am a faithful PW fan), despite those drool-worthy pictures, and I don’t regret it.

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