I've always heard mixed reviews about tres leches cake, but when I saw it in this month's Fine Cooking magazine I decided to give it a try. I know that if any recipe is going to be good, it's going to be in that magazine, so I was pretty excited to finally taste what all the fuss was about. Since I was making the cakes for my graduation party I decided to make two different kinds. The first was a traditional vanilla tres leches cake with fresh berries on top, and the second was a tres leches cake using dulce de leche in place of the sweetened condensed milks. The three milks that the light sponge cake is soaked in are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. After soaking the cakes overnight they soak up all that sweet liquid and become dense and super moist, but not soggy at all! I totally loved both, but my favorite was the traditional cake since the thick dulce de leche mixture didn't soak into the cake as well as I would have liked. If you're looking to try tres leches cake, then you should try it now. It's the perfect time of year for a lighter kind of cake!
Tres Leches Cake
Yield: one 9x13" cake
For the cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the soaking liquid:
12 ounce can evaporated milk
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the whipped cream topping:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
First, make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" baking dish and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Using two large bowls, separate the egg yolks from the whites. With an electric beater, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar until pale and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the milk and vanilla until incorporated, another minute. Wash and dry the beater and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until firm peaks form.
Gently whisk 1/3 of the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites. Continue alternating between the flour mixture and egg whites until everything is folded in and homogeneous. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the meddle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack, peeling off the parchment paper, and cooling completely. Once the cake has completely cooled return it to the pan. Poke the cake all over with a toothpick or fork.
To prepare the soaking liquid: In a saucepan combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream until combined. Heat to a simmer and remove from the heat. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cooled cake, making sure to let the mixture absorb before adding more. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.
Just before serving, make the whipped cream topping: In a large bowl beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake.
Berry variation: Top the cake with fresh berries before serving.
Dulce de leche variation: Replace the sweetened condensed milk with an equal amount of dulce de leche.
adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.