Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tres Leches Cake for Sarah

Our next portable dessert for picnics and potluck dinners is a Tres Leches Cake, the famous "three milk" cake of Mexico.  This cake is easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.  If you are really short on time, you can serve the cake without the leches with sliced fruit.  It tastes like a giant, cloud of a lady finger.  But try to take the time to let the sweet milks soak in to make this classic dessert.  We topped ours with fresh strawberries for a very international strawberry shortcake variation.

To travel with Tres Leches Cake, leave the cake in its pan swelled by the soaking liquid.  Smear on whipped cream and pack your rinsed strawberries on the side.  Cover the cake and hit the road. Add the finishing strawberry touches once you've arrived. 

Tres Leches Cake for Sarah
Serves 6-8
Two small cake pans (7-8 inch diameter) or one large 9X13

For the cake:
4 eggs
½ t vanilla
½ cup sugar
1 cup + 2 T cake flour (or 2 cups all purpose flour)

For the tres leches filling
½ can sweetened condensed milk (6-7 oz)
½ can evaporated milk (6-7 oz)
4 oz whole milk (or cajeta, a sweet milk cooked until caramelized)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups whipped cream (use about 1 tablespoon sugar for every cup of cream)
1 pint strawberries, sliced

Method
  1. Separate egg whites from yolks.  Place the egg whites in a large bowl.  Place the egg yolks into a medium bowl.  
  2. Beat egg yolks on medium high until they are pale yellow and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat another minutes.   
  3. Beat the egg whites on medium for 4-5 minutes, until they form soft peaks. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form.  
  4. By hand, using a wide spatula, stir half of flour into the egg yolks.  
  5. Add egg yolk mixture to egg whites in larger bowl.  Gently fold together, adding remaining flour by scattering flour over batter, a spoonful at a time.  To fold, using the side of your spatula, cut down the middle of the batter then turn the spatula to comb along the bottom of the bowl with the flat side. Lift and turn the batter over onto itself.  Repeat this gentle action to incorporate the lighter egg white mixture into the denser egg yolk mixture.  The result is a very light, foamy batter.  
  6. Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake 13-15 minutes until the top is light brown and the cake is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cake can be cooled at this point and the filling liquid added the next day.  It is also nice to fill the cake while it is warm—not hot.  Let cool at least 15 minutes.  Prick cake with a fork and pour filling all over cake.  Soak, refrigerated, at least one hour before serving.  Top with  whipped cream and strawberries.