Monday, May 9, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

Ok, so I know I'm a day late and a dollar short on this Tres Leches Cake, but it is soooooo good! It was definitely the highlight of my weekend. And, I've been eating it since I made it Thursday night-YUM! I've been wanting to try Tres Leches for a long time. Last year I found a coconut Tres Leches Cakes that I thought would be fabulous because I love coconut. However, it wasn't so hot, so it put me off for a while. When we decided to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration, I knew this was my chance to make it again, the REAL thing this time though.

I did a little research on Tres Leches Cake and found out that the basic cake recipe is probably the most important part of it all coming together. Using cake flour and beating the egg whites separately gives the cake the perfect crumb and makes it rise enough to be able to soak up all the milky goodness. Otherwise, you may have a milk moat from a cake that cannot stand up to all that milk.

I wasn't sure how I would like eating a cake that was so moist, but after my first bite, I was blown away! The drizzle of dulce de leche was an extra special treat as well, making this actually a Cuatro Leches Cake! This dessert has lodged a place in my recipe book I'm sure for years to come.

Tres Leches Cake
For the cake:
6 3/4 oz. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. granulated sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the milk mixture:
1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

For the whipped topping:
2 cups heavy cream
4 oz. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

maraschino cherries
dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray a 9x13 baking pan with oil until well coated. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in about 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the rest of the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined; do not overmix. Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and mix on low until combined. Remove the paddle/whisk attachment from the mixing bowl and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula. (You don't have to get them completely incorporated, it's ok if you still see ribbons of egg white throughout the batter-kind of like a souffle.)

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to even out surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake it lightly golden. (Remember all ovens are different so be vigilant near the end of baking time to ensure proper doneness.)

Remove cake pan to a cooling rack and allow cake to cool for 30 minutes. Take a fork or skewer and poke holes all over the cake. Allow the cake to completely cool.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the milk mixture. Slowly pour mixture over the cake, cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the whipped topping, place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve the cake, drizzle some dulce de leche onto a small plate and place a piece of cake on top. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon and top with a maraschino cherry. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Some notes:
1)As always, you can make your own cake flour. For every cup of all-purpose flour, take out 2 tablespoons and replace with cornstarch. Sift well.

2)A kitchen scale really comes in handy in this recipe. They are a good investment, relatively inexpensive and I have used mine more than I thought I would. With that said, I'll give you an idea of the equivalents: 6 3/4 oz cake flour is just over 1 1/2 cups, 8 oz sugar is about a cup and 4 oz of butter is 1/2 cup or 1 stick.

3)I purchased dulce de leche in the Mexican section at my local grocery store, although you can easily make your own. I also thinned it out with a little milk so that I could drizzle it easily on each plate.

SOURCE:Adapted from Alton Brown and Pioneer Woman

Linked to...
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen
Sweet Indulgences Sunday @ A Well-Seasoned Life


  1. That cake looks deliciously moist. I bet it didn't last long in the house.

  2. Wow, this cake looks delicious. Would be lovely to have a slice. Always wanted to try at making one! Thanks for this lovely recipe.

  3. Yummy! This looks so delicious. I've only had Tres Leche cake one other time at a Cuban restaurant and it was delicious. I would love to invite you to post at my linky party at A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.



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