Got milk? Yes, please! ... and plenty for my Tres leches cake.
Tres leches cake in Spanish means three-milks cake. It is traditionally a basic sponge cake or butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. When butter is not used, Tres leches cake can be a very light cake and its most ideal texture should be moist but not soggy despite being soaked in a three-milks mixture. Knowing the descriptions of Tres leches cake, I wish to bake the non-buttery kind and hoping that I can archive its most ideal light and fluffy texture. To share the happiness (or maybe pains - LOL!) of baking this traditional Spanish cake, I had proposed to bake Tres leches cake as our bake-along theme with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena, from Frozen wings.
To me, I reckon that the concept of baking Tres leches cakes is quite similar to the boozy chocolate cake that I baked previously. The only difference is that the chocolate cake of the boozy cake is soaked in spiced Cointreau syrup and the Tres leches sponge cake is soaked in a three-milks mixture. From my past boozy chocolate cake experience, I have learned that I have to be patient baking these syrup-soaking kinds of cakes. Patient in term of giving the cake enough time to fully absorb the syrup for a moist and delightful texture.
For this bake-along, I wish to bake Tres leches cake in its most traditional way. As I was reading along, I have discovered a lot of interesting and modern versions of Tres leches cakes... From all, I choose this recipe from The Pioneer Woman which is kind of the traditional non-buttery one that I prefer to bake.
Based on the instructions of the recipe, I waited more than 30 minutes (and I did wait for about an hour!) for the cake to absorb the milk mixture... After waiting, I was excited to feast on my very first slice of Tres leches cake but had the "sweetest" shock after I had my first bite!
Is 30 minutes too short to wait? After 30 minutes, the sweet milky mixture are mostly still on the top, bottom and sides of the cake. Tasting the sides of the cake (at that time) is eating a small piece of cake with a few tablespoonful of condensed milk... Yuck! At that point, I asked myself... What should I do? Wait again? Will the milk mixture be absorbed into the cake further? Wait for another 30 minutes? Or wait for next day? *clock ticking*
What the heck... I need to eat this cake now and I can't wait. So, I trimmed off the sides of the cake and serve it with fresh cream and Mexican chocolate sauce to balance out its sweet milky taste. Glad that I have trimmed off the sweetest part of my cake and the cake has became not-too-sweet and delicious to eat and even in this chocolate-plus-cream combination. Despite my initial "sweet" shock, I'm happy baking and enjoying this light and fluffy cake. All I need is to be patient for thorough milky absorption... or taking shortcut by trimming off its sweet sides... LOL!
|My Tres leches cake (without any sides)... LOL!|
|Making the basic vanilla sponge cake|
|The sponge cake is ready!|
|Combine three milks to make the milky mixture|
|Pour and wait... Easy!|
|Making the Mexican chocolate sauce|
|No more sweet shock! Soft and fluffy cake with served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Yum!|
Here are the recipes (with my notes and modification in blue).
Tres Leches Cake from The Pioneer Woman
1 cup all-purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 whole eggs (reduced to 3 large eggs for 2/3 recipe)
1 cup sugar, divided (reduced to 100g for 2/3 recipe)
1 tsp vanilla (replaced with vanilla-infused milk)
⅓ cup milk (** vanilla infused)
1 can evaporated milk (* I used the 98% fat free one)
1 can sweetened, condensed milk (* I used the skim one)
¼ cup heavy cream (* replaced with vanilla-infused milk)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar (3/4 amount of the amount I used) on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar (1/4 amount of the amount I used) and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
Bake for 35 to 45 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (or milk) in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 mins (or MORE).
To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tbsp of sugar until thick and spreadable. Spread over the surface of the cake. (I didn't do this and serve the cake with just plain whipped cream)
Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. (I didn't do this) Cut into squares and serve. I served mine with Mexican chocolate sauce.
Using 2/3 of the recipe, I have baked my cake in 20 cm square tin at 160ºC (fan forced) for 25 min.
*For 2/3 of the recipe, I need to pour only about 2/3 cup of the milk mixture onto my cake.
Based on the recipe, the proportion of the mixture is 4:4:1 (evaporated:condensed:cream) but mine is 2:2:1 (evaporated:condensed:milk) which is 60 ml evaporated milk + 60 ml condensed milk + 30 ml milk.
** Please note that I have used two "recycled" vanilla pods to infuse its flavours into 80 ml of milk. The vanilla pods were previously used to make vanilla sugar and now used to infuse this amount of milk by soaking in the milk for at least 1 hr.
Mexican Chocolate Sauce from Epicurious
Mexican chocolate is very different from the European, American or Australian chocolate that we eat or cook It contains cinnamon, sugar and sometimes ground almonds making its texture grainy and also typically not smooth at all. Please don't get me wrong... This chocolate and its sauce is ok to eat. We are just being picky and fussy and prefer the usual typical continental chocolate that we used to eat...
8 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped1/2 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
(both water and cream were replaced with 1/2 cup of evaporated milk)
1 tbsp Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur (I used rum)
In a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water or using microwave at low power, combine chocolate and water (I didn't add any water) and stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is somehow smooth. Remove bowl from heat and stir in cream (or evaporated milk) and liqueur until combined well**. Cool sauce completely and transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Sauce keeps, covered and chilled, 1 month. Serve sauce over ice cream or my Tres Leches cake.
**At this stage, I realised that placing the combined sauce in the microwave for about 30 sec with high power can help to thicken the sauce and smoothen it further.
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