Tres Leches Cake

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Do y'all have any wild and crazy plans tonight?  I'm still not sure what the plan is around these parts, but I hope it involves many tacos and a few margaritas.  Perhaps a few tequila shots as well.  I do know we'll be digging into this tres leches cake very shortly.  I baked it late last night into the wee hours of the morning.  I need to plan these things better and not start baking around 10:30 PM.

I adapted this recipe from Costa Rica Cooking, because I'm still on a bit of a Costa Rican kick.  Pura Vida!  Take me back to the land of pinto gallo and chili guaro.

The cake is a very spongy cake, made from whipped egg whites, sugar, yolks and flour.  No butter, folks, I repeat, no butter.  But don't go thinking this is a healthy cake; the fat comes from whole milk and heavy cream.  After the spongy cake is baked, you poke 2 million holes in the cake and douse it with the three heavenly milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake take a bath overnight in the milk to soak up all of the liquid.  I topped the cake with whipped cream and cherries because tres leches cake is kind of ugly.

Do you like maraschino cherries? Do you know how to tie a knot with a cherry stem with your tongue?  I do not mind them, and I really want that talent.  Luckily there's a WikiHow to help us learn.

Tres Leches Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar + 3 tablespoons

3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use

 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided use
Maraschino cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 10-inch springform pan with butter and sprinkle with flour, or coat well with nonstick cooking spray.  

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Reduce mixer speed to medium and gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar until well combined.  Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.  Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and almond extract.  Gradually fold in flour mixture, alternating with whole milk until just combined.  Be very light handed with this step.

Place cake batter in prepared pan.  Bake 25 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes or until cake turns golden brown and lightly springs back when touched.  Cool 15 minutes.  Run a knife around outside cake edges and remove outer portion of pan.  Poke a lotttt of holes in the cake.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup cream.  Drizzle half of the mixture over cake.  Invert cake into some sort of serving dish that can hold a bit of liquid.  Poke cake with more holes and drizzle with remaining milk.

Beat remaining 1 cup cream and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large mixing bowl using a mixer on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.  Do not overbeat it.  Do not listen to Michael Jackson while doing this step.

Spread whipped cream on top of cake.  Decorate with cherries.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Or at least a couple of hours.  The cake needs time to soak up the liquid.

Makes 9 servings
5 comments on "Tres Leches Cake"
  1. Looks great! I have made this cake also and it is definitely rich!

  2. I love seeing the different variations on Tres Leches Cake. My recipe comes from my ancient copy of Elaine Corn's "Gooey Desserts" and it's baked as a sheet cake. I don't remember if it has butter, but it does have a lot of eggs. The cake is thin and dense and every time I pour the milks over it, I worry they won't soak in, but they always do. It is my mother's most requested cake for occasions like birthdays and Mother's Day (and she loves chocolate, so that's saying a lot). If you want to try a less dairy-soaked angle the next time you make this, Corn's recipe uses Italian Meringue/Seven-Minute frosting for her version. It's a bit lighter than using yet another heavy milk ingredient. It kind of tastes like the cake is covered in marshmallow.

    1. That was my fear! It seemed like so much milk! This cake doesn't have butter, which kind of makes me mad... I feel like all cakes should have butter. That sounds delicious! I may have to try your version very soon.

  3. Late-night baking is tough. Long ago I forgot I was supposed to bring something in for a work birthday celebration the next day and started at about 11 pm. The cat sat at the bottom of the stairs -- he'd look up, then meow, then look at me -- wondering what the heck I was doing in the kitchen at that hour.

    I love Tres Leches. I like to use Dulce de Leche in place of condensed milk, adds a richer flavor!