I decided to have tres leches cake as my birthday cake this year for a number of reasons:
First: I hate dry cake. I'd rather pass on the cake and just have a bowl of ice cream if the cake is dry and crumbly. Tres leches cake is never dry: a sponge cake is soaked with a mixture of three milks which makes every bite taste like cake and custard at the same time.
Secondly: I love whipped cream. Icing is delicious and obviously traditional topping for cakes but secretly I would choose whipped cream over icing any day. Especially if its freshly whipped with good vanilla extract in it.
Third: It's fun soaking the cake with the milk mixture. You don't have to be careful or precise, you just soak the cake in milky deliciousness and banish any dry-cake worries you might have.
It all starts with a sponge cake. You bake the sponge and then turn it out onto a tray to prepare it to be soaked with milk(s). This preparation consists of poking it with a fork all over so that the milks can soak in.
If you've baked with condensed milk, or have eaten desserts made with condensed milk before you should already know why this cake is so freaking delicious. If you haven't, you probably shouldn't wait too much longer.
It's ok to really soak the cake with the milk mixture. Sponge cake holds liquid beautifully without being soggy or breaking down into mush. I soaked the cake before brunch started and used all but one cup of the milk mixture. It needs some time to soak up the milk so plan for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Tres Leches Cake
(from Pioneer Woman)
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoons Salt
- 5 whole Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar, Divided
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- ⅓ cups Milk
- 1 can Evaporated Milk
- 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
- ¼ cups whipping cream (heavy cream)
For the Topping
- 1 pint whipping cream
- powdered sugar to taste (I use less than 1/3 cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 pan
2. Separate the eggs with the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another
3. In a third bowl (a large one), combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar 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.
5. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy but not dry
6. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter until just combined. The pour into your prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto tray or other rimmed platter and let cool completely. I've only had trouble getting the cake out of the pan once but don't worry if it doesn't come out perfectly. Whipped cream hides everything
8. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. pierce the cake's surface with a fork all over. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture making sure to also soak the edges of the cake
9.Let the cake sit and soak in the milk mixture for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla until thick and fluffy.
10. Cover the cake with whipped cream and serve. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.