Friday, August 20, 2010

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The Cake Slice: Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches
We all know I am a Miami girl. I live, eat, and breathe Miami. I grew up in Miami and don't look forward to moving again in 4 years. Part of being a Miami girl is knowing about all kinds of Latin dishes. One dish in particular is the Tres Leches cake. You can go into any Cuban restaurant and most Latin restaurants and it's guaranteed that Tres Leches will be on the menu. Tres Leches, as I am used to eating it, is supposed to be a very wet cake. Every atom of the cake is drenched in the sweet milk. The cake is borderline soggy but that's how Tres Leches is supposed to be. Maybe the Miami Tres Leches is different from Tres Leches served in other areas with a Spanish population because the Tres Leches recipe chosen for this month's The Cake Slice is not what any Miami person is used to. I can make this statement because I had a few friends try the cake and the consensus was this: "Good cake, just don't call it Tres Leches." This cake was more like a pound cake with a milk syrup rather than a sponge cake with a milk bath. Or maybe it's user error and I did something wrong with the recipe.
Tres Leches

Tres Leches Cake
Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk

Three Milk Sauce
1½ cups milk
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
One 12ounce can evaporated milk
1 tbsp grated lime zest

Sweetened whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Fresh fruit, such as kiwi or berries for garnish (optional)

Cake Method
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9inch pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and stir with a fork to mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer at high speed to mix well. Add the eggs one by one, beating well each time and stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then until the mixture is light, fluffy and smooth.
Add one third of the flour mixture and then half the milk, beating at low speed each time just until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add another third of the flour, the remaining milk and then remaining flour in the same way.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly in the centre and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
While the cake bakes, make the sauce. (You want the cakes to still be warm when you add the sauce)

Three Milk Sauce
Combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk a medium saucepan. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring often until the mixture forms a smooth, steaming hot sauce. Do not let it come to the boil. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before using.

To Finish
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the lime zest over the cake. Punch holes with a toothpick in the top of the cake, about 1 inch apart.

Slowly pour the warm milk sauce over the warm cake, in stages, stopping to let the cake absorb the sauce before adding more. You may not need it all. You can add more later if needed.
Let the cake stand for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the cake to come to room temperature before you serve it. Cut into squares and serve right from the pan. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit if desired.
 Tres Leches


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Babette said...

I'll vouch for that not looking like Miami's tres leches--although it looks and sounds every bit as delicious...I got to try the Cuatro Leches bakery cake...drenched...and I loved every drenched bite of it...

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i agree--not spongy or saturated enough for a tres leches. i'm actually glad to see that most people have had the same experience, b/c i did wonder if maybe i'd mixed mine wrong.

Monica H said...

From what I've read about all the other CS cakes, is that it is not user error, it's recipe error. It was good, but not the best I've had.

Eliana said...

I'm right there with you girl, is is so not tres leches cake. Good try but no sir.