I wrote about the Tres Leches cake before.
When I just started baking for the Heavenly Cake Bakers group back in January the “Torta de las Tres Leches” from the book was my first “official” post into the group.
I mention in that post that this is in fact my “signature cake” with my family and friends. What? Don’t you have a signature dessert or food? I been baking this cake for over 20 years for birthdays, special dinner parties, events, because any time my family or friends has “something special” this is the dessert that is requested.
When I made Rose’s version of the cake, my family went up in arms… how crazy was I to change this? To “cheat” on my original recipe and do something else! Don’t do it! And while Rose’s version was “ok” in everyone’s verdicts, mine own recipe continue to come on top.
This past weekend as most of you know by now, we celebrated my mother’s birthday. And of course as soon as I asked her what birthday cake she wanted, she all but shouted “TRES LECHES!”
So, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my version of this cake.
It’s pretty straight forward and un-complicated with 3 major steps. You could do this in a day, but if you space it out in two days it not a lot of work. Here are some tips that would make it super successful:
- Make it one day ahead, this is always better the NEXT DAY - hands down
- Keep it in the refrigerator, its best to be served sort of cold. I usually bring it out about 15 minutes before I serve it, which is the time it takes for me to make the espresso coffee that we normally drink along with it.
- Yes, there is raw egg yolks in the “leches – milk” part. Don’t panic, if you warm this up, the egg will cook and there will be no danger.
- You can replace the meringue topping with heavy whip cream, but it will no longer be the “original” tres leches.
Serves 8 to 10
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter a 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish the deeper the better, I usually use one that has over 2.8 quart capacity.
- Beat ¾ cup of the sugar with the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes or so. Fold the vanilla, flour and baking powder along with the milk.
- Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the whites into the yolk batter. Pour this into the buttered baking dish.
- Bake the cake until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick/cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool off. After 10 minutes of so, with a spoon, gently scrap away the top crust of the cake, exposing the layer underneath, using a fork, gently pierce the cake all over. At this point, let the cake cool completely.
- Make the Milk soaking cream.
Soaking Milk Cream
- 1 - 14 ounce can Sweetened Condense Milk
- 1 - 12 ounce can of Evaporated Milk
- 1 can (use the empty one of the Evaporated Milk) of whole milk
- 1 - 6.7 ounce can of Heavy Table Cream
- 1 tablespoon of rum (don’t skip this, it gives it a whole other dimension, and you will not taste it)
- 3 egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
- Warm up the whole milk until almost hot, using the microwave or over the stove top.
- Pour the hot milk into a container or blender and then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix/blend until fully combined. I usually take a taste at this point add more rum or cream if needed, You don’t want this to be overly sweet cream and the Heavy cream and rum tends to tone down the sweetness.
- Pour the soaking cream over the cool cake, the cake should automatically start soaking up the cream, but if it pools in any particular area, just move it around so it will absorbed.
- Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator while you make the Meringue toping.
Note: the Heavy Table Cream can be found in most Latin supermarkets and in some cases in your local supermarket in the “Latin” or “Ethic” food section. If you can not find it, you can use Sour Cream instead, measure the amount using the empty can of the evaporated Milk - about half of the can, or if you have a scale then measure the 6.7 ounces needed. Also if you are worried about the “raw” egg factor in the soaking milk, you can exclude, but since you are warming up the milk, this will “cook” the raw eggs when mixing.
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup of water
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 eggs white (saved from the Soaking cream)
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Place ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy saucepan with ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook over high heat, for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook the sugar to the soft ball stage, 239F on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the cream of tartar. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beating to stiff peaks. Pour the boiling sugar syrup in a thin stream into the whites and continue beating until the mixture is cool to the touch and is nice and glossy white, add the vanilla extract and mix once more until incorporate.
Finishing the cake
Take the cool cake out of the refrigerator and using an offset spatula, spread the meringue all over the top of the cake. Once is fully covered, I like to put some maraschino cherries on top (use a paper towel to dry the liquid off a bit). Cover again with foil and back into the refrigerator it goes. You can served this the same day its made, as long as you give it at least 2 hours of refrigeration time. It’s best the next day.
Note: You will have some meringue left over, which gives you a perfect excuse to make chocolate cupcakes in order to frost them with the left over.