Seriously, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I think that, whom ever invented the Tres Leches cake, had only one thing in mind. And that was to deliver heaven’s sweetness; not that it would become one of the most varied and controversial dessert known to mankind. And there’s no reason for it. It is a simple one with three basic components; cake soaked in a liquid mixture of three different milks (evaporated, condensed and heavy cream) and a creamy topping. That’s it; nothing more, nothing less.
It’s origins are in dispute as the combination of all three of these milks was not available until the 1920’s and 1930’s when the evaporated milk began to be widely commercially available. However, yet today, many Latin American countries claim this dessert as their own. And that’s fine with me. Regardless of the thousand different variations you can find (over 380,00 in google alone), still in my opinion, the best dessert there is and the most popular on our menu.
So here is a basic Tres leches recipe made from scratch that will deliver heaven’s sweetness as it was originally intended; without any additional bells and whistles.
Total time – about 9 hr – 45 min. prep time, 25 min cook time and 8 hr inactive (to allow the liquid to soak evenly across the cake)
Yields – a 13 x 9 cake
- 1 cup white sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 10 maraschino cherries (optional for presentation purposes)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light in color and doubled in volume. Stir in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder.
In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until firm but not dry. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely
Do not remove cake from pan. With a regular fork, pierce surface of the entire cake. This is how the cake is going to absorb the liquid.
Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream and pour milk misture slowly across the entire cake until completely absorbed.
Whip the remaining whipping cream until it thickens and reaches spreading consistency.
Frost cake with whipped cream and garnish with cherries.
Cover and refrigerate (overnight for best results, trsut me….)
Note: This cake must be kept refrigerated at all times.
Shortcuts – you can save a lot of time by using boxed cake mix. My suggestion is that you avoid using store branded mix and stay within the popular brands. Also, you can us Cool Whip to frost the cake. Again, skip the store branded one.
Variations – these are some variations I have used in the past with very good feedback from clients.
- Using french vanilla cake mix
- Adding almond flavor to the cake mix
- Adding brandy or cognac liquor flavor to the cake mix
- Replacing the evaporated milk and heavy cream with coconut milk and coconut cream
My suggestion is that you start with the basic one first and then start experimenting with different flavors. Just remember to stay with the three basic elements of the dessert.
For great party tray and dinner packages ideas visit us www.piscolabiscatering.com