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tres leche = tres delicious

Posted Feb 11 2009 12:00am
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend, his brother, and I went to a brunch at Blue Mesa. The brunch was absolutely delicious and definitely worth the 16.99 per person price. Although the unlimited mimosas were a highlight, my favorite part of the brunch was definitely the desserts. And one in particular really tickled my fancy: Tres Leche cake. This was my first experience with Tres Leche cake, which is surprising considering I grew up in southern Texas. After leaving the restaurant, I was determined to recreate the cake at home.

Girls supper club was coming up the following Wednesday and that gave me the perfect excuse to make a Tres Leche cake. After going through multiple recipes on the internet and in cooking books, I finally arrived at a recipe that sounded delicious. I made the cake for our dinner party and it was a huge success. Even the girls who avoid desserts at all costs tried it and raved!

I made the first cake in a 9 x 13 baking pan. When cooked, it stood about 1.5 inches tall. I took what was left of the cake with me to work the following day and my co-workers seemed equally as pleased with it as the supper club ladies. Because the bf lives in Houston and was coming into town this past weekend, I used this as an excuse to make the cake again. This time I used an 8 x 8 inch pan. This cake obviously turned out much taller, but the consistency was about the same. I think it is really personal preference on which pan you use, as I had success with both. This recipe, adapted from Mary Luz Mejia at Suite 101, is definitely a keeper.

Tres Leche Cake

5 eggs, seperated
1/3 cup organic skim milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Topping1/2 - 3/4 can evaporated milk
1/2 - 3/4 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray pan with a non-stick cooking oil.

In bowl # 1, beat egg yolks and 3/4 c sugar until mixture is smooth. Gradually add in the milk, flour, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder. Once all these ingredients are combined, beat for about a minute.

In bowl # 2, beat egg whites until peaks form, gradually add in the cream of tartar. Beat for about a minute. Gradually add in remaining 1/4 c sugar and beat until texture is not grainy and appears fluffy. Once fluffy, fold in egg whites into the other mixture and mix (do not beat) until well combined. Pour the mixture into your oiled pan of choice.

In bowl # 3, whisk together, evaporated milk, condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla. Refrigerate!

Depending on which pan size you use, baking time will differ. For the 9 x 13, it took a little under 30 minutes for the cake to cook. For the 8 X 8, it was closer to the 35 - 40 minute mark. Cooking time is always a little bit of guesswork for me as I monitor what I bake very closely. The best test is to insert a toothpick or fork into the center or thickest part of the cake and see if it comes out clean. If it does, it is ready.

Once cooked, let cake cool. When cake is done cooling, gently pierce the entire cake with a fork. Make sure to get all the way down to the bottom of the cake to ensure that the milk will be able to reach all layers of the cake. Once the cake is pierced, remove the milk mixture from the refrigerator and slowly spoon it over the entire cake. The original recipe I had called for full cans of the evaporated and condensed milk and a cup of whipping cream. Both times I made this cake, I thought that was entirely too much. However, use your discretion.

The cake is really delicious and doesn't need an icing. But, I'll take any excuse I can get to make whipped cream, because I absolutely love it. Since I ran my first half marathon this past weekend (yay me), I felt it was completely appropriate for me to douse the top of my piece of tres leche cake with whipped cream and berries. I made a whipped cream with the leftover heavy cream I had. It is super simple and beats the heck out of store bought whip cream.

Whipped Cream

3/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c sugar, have additional sugar out to add as necessary
1 tsp vanilla

Prior to making the whipped cream, put your bowl and beaters in the freezer and let them get very cold. Pour heavy cream into bowl and beat for about 3 minutes. Add in vanilla and sugar. Continue beating until the cream is not runny and takes on more of a whipped cream texture. Add sugar to taste.

Garnish cake and whipped cream with various berries. I used blackberries and blueberries. Enjoy!!
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