Monday, February 16, 2009

Tres Leche

It's always fun making something you've never had before. I had NO idea what to expect when I baked this. But we're having a Mexican themed dinner soon, and I thought this would be fun to try, so I wanted a trial run first. It's a very dense cake, but surprisingly, not overly rich. But sweet and tasty. I've seen some recipes that call for whipping the egg whites separately, but Alton Brown is my hero, so I thought I'd try his recipe first. I suspect whipping the egg whites would result in a taller, and slightly lighter cake. Reviews did say the cake was extremely sweet, so I reduced the sugar from 8 ounces to 6 ounces in both the cake and the whipped cream topping. The cake absorbs the tres leche mixture pretty quickly, bubbling and gurgling through the many holes poked through the cake. Then I just put it in the fridge for 3 days. Recipe says overnight, but most sources said the flavor was better with longer soakings.

Tres Leche
Source: Slightly modified from Good Eats on Food Network

For the cake:

* Vegetable oil
* 6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
* 6 ounces sugar
* 5 whole eggs
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

* 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:

* 2 cups heavy cream
* 6 ounces sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 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. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.


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.

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