Pastel de Tres Leches
One of my friends on Facebook is Chef Mario Daniel Jarero. Chef Mario and I were chatting one day and he asked me what my favorite cake was. As I sat thinking about all the luscious cakes I've had and trying to pick just one, Mario very quickly replied that the best cake he's ever had was a Tres Leches Cake. I was still mulling the question over... he didn't even hesitate! Of course his choice peaked my interest because I've never made one.
Off I went on a recipe search. I found out that is cake is thought to have originated in Nicaragua and has become a favorite of many Latin countries. I started this recipe from Epicurious by making a cinnamon flavored sponge cake in a 10 inch spring form pan. The cake is very light and airy , perfect for absorbing the 3 milks that are spooned over the top.
Other recipes called for baking the cake in a 13x9 inch baking pan. But I liked the idea of a nice tall cake, so I made it in a 10 inch spring form pan.
It baked up beautifully! In my recipe search, I found that other cakes required you to poke holes in the top of the cake so the milks would abosorb easily....not so with this recipe....
This cake bakes with a slight crusted dome on the top, when removed, either by cutting it off or as I did peeling it off ( I couldn't cut a straight line if my life depended on it!), it reveals a light cake with air holes perfect for absorbing the milks.
After combining the 3 milks (evaporated, sweetened condensed, cream and vanilla), I spooned the milk syrup over the cake. I was fascinated at how the cake absorbed it all!
That last little bit of milk on top soaked into the cake as well! I chilled the cake, then prepared my topping. This recipe called for a meringue topping, but I wanted whipped cream. I have a wonderful recipe that Carol sent me a few years ago called Chef's Secret Whipped Cream that I use whenever I need a whipped topping for a dessert. This recipe uses gelatin and keeps the whipped cream from weeping...even the next day. I use it for all my summer desserts...it's like Cool Whip only homemade!
I piped the whipped cream on top, and sprinkled with cinnamon. Now to taste....the first bite gave me the cinnamon in a moist soft cake. It's not soggy...it's not heavy. The milk becomes part of the cake and makes it so moist and light...yes, light!
Thank you Chef Mario...this is one heavenly cake!
Wanna print just the recipe, click here!
Pastel de Tres Leches
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
Rum Milk Syrup
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
1 can heavy cream (use empty can from condensed milk - 1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark spiced rum (Meyers or Captain Morgan will do), optional ( I didn't use the rum)
For Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Sift flour with baking powder and cinnamon. Using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy, then slowly add sugar to tighten whites to semi stiff peaks. Add yolks one at a time. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk.
Pour batter into pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched and edges pull slightly away from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
For Rum Milk Syrup:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Whip thoroughly with a wire whisk and reserve. (If made in advance, refrigerate and stir before using.)
Unmold cake while slightly warm, and slice off the hard top with a serrated knife. Place cake on serving platter and spoon rum syrup over cake a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, repeat until all the syrup is used. Ice the top of the cake. Refrigerate until cool.
Chef's Secret Whipped Cream
makes about 4 cups whipped cream
1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups heavy or whipping cream ( 1 pint)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Chill large mixing bowl about 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. In chilled bowl, while beating cream on low speed, gradually add gelatin, then beat on medium speed until thickened about 5 minutes. Add sugar, then beat till soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Hint: If you plan on piping beat until stiff peaks form.
Variations: For a flavored whipped cream add your favorite extracts or liqueurs to taste and proceed as above.