Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tres Leche Cake

Pastel De Tres Leche translates to "Three-Milk Cake" in Spanish. 

After emerging from the oven, the top "skin" of the cake is gently removed with a serrated knife.

Then the fun begins.  

Three cups of a mixture containing evaporated milk, 

sweetened condensed milk, 

and heavy cream
will be poured over the cake.   

Three cups!  

It's quite an impressive amount for an unassuming single layer of cake to absorb.

Sometimes, while applying my night cream in the bathroom mirror, I pretend that I'm in an Olay commercial.   Turning my face to the side, I (vainly) mimic the model's graceful application of the product.  Only I usually end up finding something to pluck or pick at, and the daydream shatters into shards and swirls down the sink drain.  
A similar commercial connection forged between my mind's Rolodex of television advertisements and my initial preparation of this cake.  You know the baby diaper commercials where the infamous "blue liquid" is poured (and poured and poured) into the diaper, illustrating it's mind-blowing absorbent potential?

That is exactly what will happen when you make this cake. 

You will look at the full measuring cup of milk and adopt a stance of combined disbelief ("There's no way this cake will hold all of that!") and irritation ("This silly recipe must be wrong.")

But just believe.

And, as long as your feet are firmly planted in dairy-loving land, prepare to have tingles run up and down your spine at the dessert's unadulterated sumptuousness. 

(This recipe and some of the text was included in Heather Spriggs Thompson's premiere issue of her online magazine, "Gatherings."  Treat yourself to a visual feast and hop on over...)

Pastel De Tres Leches
Serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk
3 cups heavy cream, divided

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-by-3-inch springform pan with vegetable cooking spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt;  set aside.  Combine eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to low; add the water and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.  Mix well.  On very low speed or by hand using a long spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into the batter.  Pour batter into the prepared pan* and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is firm on top and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place pan on a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  Turn the cake out on a serving platter, place a cake plate over the cake, and turn it right side up.  Set aside to continue cooling.

While the cake is cooling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk, the remaining two teaspoons of vanilla, and 1 cup of the heavy cream; set aside.  Using a serrated knife, gently slice off the top skin of the cake and discard.  Prick the cake all over with a long toothpick.  (This will allow the cake to soak up the milk mixture.)  Pour milk mixture over the cake in several batches, allowing it to soak in as much as possible each time.  Refrigerate.** 

When ready to serve, pour the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream into a chilled bowl and beat with chilled beaters until stiff peaks form.  Pipe or spread the whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake and garnish with fresh fruit slices, if desired.  

 *Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, minimizing clean-up in case cake spills over while baking.

**Store cake in refrigerator.  

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Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms


Brittany said...

Looks delicious! I will try this! I love Tres Leche but I have never made it. This is great.

P.S. I am having a giveaway on my blog. There are awesome organizational charts and tools for moms and kids. I hope you will enter!