Monday, August 11, 2008

Milk Cake

My in-laws were in town again and I made a big Mexican inspired feast for dinner on Saturday night. I wanted to make a dessert that correlated with the theme so I did some research before I decided what to make. After considering churros, sweet plantains and Mexican "fried" Ice Cream I settled on Tres Leches Cake. I had never tried Tres Leches Cake and since I am not a lover of chocolate I was intrigued by the sans-chocolate ingredients.

Tres Leche Cake
Recipe Courtesy Alton Brown

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
8 ounces sugar
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze: (Next time I would cut these ingredients in half)
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
8 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. (After I refrigerated it over night I poured the unabsorbed milk out)


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.

I served the cake to my in-laws and then again to a group of our friends after we all went to dinner on Sunday night. I think everyone liked the cake but it didn't receive rave reviews. I read that Tres Leche cake is supposed to taste like cake dipped in milk and to my defense that is exactly what it tasted like. However, I am not sure everyone is comfortable with soggy cake and I don't know that I will be making it again. I was glad I tried it though.


KMAYS said...

All the (good) Tres Leches cakes I've had have definitely been on the soggy side, so it's not anything you did wrong. The sweet creamy liquid is the best part. Sorry you didn't like it.

Gabriela said...

I am so proud of you for venturing out and trying the Tres Leches Cake. I agree the texture would take some getting used to, had I not grown up with Pastel de Tres Leches. When my husband makes it, he does not dump out the unabsorbed liquid, and yes at our table it is eaten with a spoon. Your cake looked beautiful and I'll bet that Latin taste buds would have definitely given it rave reviews.

Anonymous said...

That cake looks/sounds awesome. I would destroy that.

I really like the picture too. Nice job, B!


Cheryl said...

My husband eats that all the time during his Costa Rica trips, I have been wanting to make it! Looks gorgeous!

Joelen said...

We love the richness of the cake but yet it still feels light! I think that's what gets us in trouble because it doesn't feel as heavy as it really is with all the ingredients involved :)

Anonymous said...

Even though I think ALL deserts should have chocolate as an ingredient, I must say this is a BEAUTIFUL cake. I love the height of the cream icing ... it made for a great picture!

Your sister,

Matthew said...

It was excellent! Matthew

Paula said...

Oh wow, does that look terrific. I am so intrigued how you poured the glaze over the cake. That cream icing looks wonderful. Even though it didn't get rave reviews, I bet it would be a great dessert after a spicy meal. I want a piece of that cake!!!

Megan said...

I love the tres leches cake--found it on Food Gawker and I had to smile at the pic it is perfect.

I wandered over to your site and realized we are neighbors--I live in Leesburg! We need to plan a foodie gathering in NOVA.


Megan of Bit of Nutmeg

Kyle said...

Most recipes I have seen for Tres Leches involve combining the milks and then reducing them over heat before adding them to the cake.

This will cut down on the liquid, making your cakes less soggy, but still slightly sticky, the way they are supposed to be. Some recipes state you should take half of the milk mixture, reduce it, then add it back into the unreduced portions.

Hopefully these suggestions will help and it will turn out better next time!