Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tres Leches Cake To Die For

It's nearly Thanksgiving time, who's bringing the Tres Leches cake? No hands? Then I'll just have to do it myself. Why NOT add this wonderful cake to the desserts list for the holidays?

Tres Leches is a cake generally served at special occasions such as weddings and birthdays, but with the advent of boxed cake mixes to make it easier this delicious and traditional Mexican dessert can easily be served up any ol' time. It is called "Tres Leches" (3 milks) because it is soaked in 3 different kinds of milk.

There are a couple of tricks involved in making a successful Tres Leches cake using a prepared mix: 1) Add no butter or oil to the mix and 2) Beat the eggs yolks and egg whites separately, and fold the whites into the mix at the end. These steps prevent sogginess in the cake, maintaining its light texture.

If you don't like sweet, sinfully rich desserts you'll want to pass this recipe by. Just more for the rest of us, that's what I say!

And here's the recipe:

  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 2 boxes yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1 cup of milk
  • sweetened whipped cream for topping
  • maraschino cherries for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

In a separate large bowl, beat the egg yolks, cake mix, vanilla, and water together until smooth. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter until well incorporated and no egg white remains visible.

Pour cake batter into a buttered and floured 9 x 13 cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack. I like to let it cool overnight in the refrigerator, unwrapped, as I find the texture of the cake stands up better that way, but you may want to go ahead to the next step once the cake reaches room temperature.

A couple of hours before serving mix together the three milks. Use a toothpick to carefully poke holes in the cake about every half inch. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the cake, allowing it to soak in a bit before adding more. Continue adding the milk mixture until the cake is evenly saturated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, prepare a topping of sweetened whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 oz shredded coconut (optional)

Top with maraschino cherries for decoration. Cut into squares and serve.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)