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Friday, March 25, 2011

Last time I hinted at a Tiramisu cake, which honestly has yet to be made.

But don’t fret; I have something equally delicious to post about today.

First off I’ve basically been under house arrest for the last couple of days due to my retarded ankle injury. I’m on resting mode for 2 weeks (4 days down, 10 to go) which basically means I can’t run :(. I’ve been bored. Cable-less and internet-less (stupid ATT), but I’ll be connected on Saturday again (YAY Comcast!) Enough about me let’s get down to business.

I finally tried my hand at baking again since lent started. Honestly, it has been one of the highest points of my week (besides receiving my copy of Paris Sweet by Dorie Greenspan by mail). Sad I know. But I’ve been told the cake was delicious. So in a way it was well worth the work.

This week I made a trés leches cake, which if you grew up in a Mexican home this was probably a birthday staple and for those of you who have never had the pleasure of such a lovely cake, my heart weeps for you and I shun those who deprived you of such an amazing cake. Of course I can’t with all honesty say that this cake is anything but amazing, because trust me I have had my share of unappetizing cakes. This cake can either be too soggy or too dry.

Now I first tried my hand at making a trés leches cake about a year ago, and the first time I made this cake the cake base was too dense and did not absorb the liquid effectively. The second time I made this cake, the cake base was perfect. The secret was a nice fluffy sponge cake. However the milk mixture was overly sweet and too thick to be absorbed properly, and in all honestly not the good.

BUT this time I got it down pat. Finally after several attempt I made what is in my opinion a perfect homemade trés leches cake.

After my dad’s first try, he immediately declared that this was the cake he wanted for his birthday. So I better remember because for all the sweets I bake they can never remember which one is the exact one that they wanted. So I made a note and took down all the changes I made so I wouldn’t forget.

Now I know and you know that trés leches means three milks, however I found that using only condensed, evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream rendered an overly sweet, thick milk mixture. So my cake is a technically a quatro leches cake.

Yields 2 8/9 inch cakes or a quarter sheet cake with small layers

Sponge Cake (Adapted from American Test Kitchen Sponge Cake recipe):


• ½ cup cake flour
• ¼ unbleached all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 3 tbsp milk
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 5 large eggs, room temperature
• ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 ⁰F. Grease two 8/9 inch round pans and line bottom with wax paper.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, or sift onto waxed paper.
3. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Remove head and add vanilla; cover and keep warm.
4. Separate 3 of the 5 eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, reserve the 3 egg yolks along with the other 2 eggs.
5. Beat the 3 egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 6 tbsp of the sugar; continue to beat whites to soft, moist peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT) Transfer egg whites to a large bowl and set aside.
6. Add the 3 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs to a mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. Beat the eggs with the remaining 6 tbsp of sugar until eggs are very thick and a pale yellow color. (about 5 minutes)
7. Add beaten eggs to the egg white mixture and lightly fold 2 times.
8. Sprinkle the flour mixture over beaten eggs and whites. Fold very gently 12 times with a large rubber spatula. Make a well on one side of batter and pour milk mixture into the well. Continue folding until batter shows no trace of flour or eggs, about 8 additional strokes. (It’s ok if it takes more just don’t mix the batter, remember folding in the batter is key)
9. Immediately pour batter into prepared baking pans, bake until cake tops are light brown and feel firm to the touch and spring back when touched, about 16 min for a 9-inch, 20 min for an 8-inch and 25 min for a half sheet cake pan.
10. Immediately run a knife around parameter to loosen cake. Cover pan w/large plate. Using a towel, invert pan and remove pan from cake. Peel off parchment paper. Re-invert cake from plate onto cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cake and continue.

NOTE: *DO NOT rotate pans in the middle of baking. Opening the oven door will cause the cake to sink in the middle (or so I’ve heard because it can’t have possibly happened to me…)
*Invert the cakes IMMEDIATELY so that they don’t sink.
*If you don’t want to dirty plates, what I do is invert the cake onto wax paper and then re-invert it onto another piece of wax paper and allow it to cook on the wax paper.

Milk Mixture:

• 12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
• 14 oz can evaporated milk
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
• ½ cup whole milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Whipped Cream:

• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 tsp gelatin
• 2 tbsp cold water
• 10 tbsp powdered sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place mixing bowl and whisk attachment into freezer
2. Mix gelatin and water in a waterproof bowl and allow to bloom for 10 minutes.
3. Once gelatin has bloomed, place bowl over a double boiler and dissolve mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature. (If mixture thickens again, reheat it until the gelatin melts.)
4. While the gelatin cools, beat the heavy whipping cream in the chilled bowl to soft peaks
5. Add gelatin mixture along with vanilla and sugar
6. Whip to stiff peaks and refrigerate until use

Assemble cake: 

Once cake has cooled, place one cake layer onto desired serving board/plate. Divide the mixture in two portions about 2 cups each. Slowly pour ½ a cup of the mixture onto the bottom layer, brushing on the remaining of the portion onto the cake. Making sure that the milk mixture is being absorbed properly. If you have a sunken spot, it will be denser, poke that part with a fork to help it absorb the milk mixture. Once milk has been absorbed, add about half of the whipped cream mixture, add fruit or other filling if using any at this time (I’ve used pineapple chunks, just make sure to drain the pineapple chunks so you don’t have a runny mess, and pecan pieces.)Place the other cake layer on top and repeat with the addition of the remaining milk mixture. Frost and decorate according to desire. Refrigerate until ready to be served. This cake gets better with time. 


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I am a college student who would rather read a baking book then a textbook. I have become quite adventurous recently and enjoy trying new things.
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