A light and fluffy Mexican cake soaked in three different types of milk, making it incredibly moist and delicious. Piled high with whipped cream and infused with cinnamon. Quite possibly the best cake I’ve ever eaten!
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I’m a big fan of Mexican food, despite my mouth being a giant wimp! I don’t think I’ve tried a mexican dish I haven’t loved, and if my liver would allow it I would drink margaritas all day every day! We don’t get much Mexican food in the UK, at least not good Mexican food. I eat a fair bit of it when I’m in Atlanta since there’s a lot of good Mexican food there, but I’d still never tried Tres Leches Cake until I took matters into my own hands and made it for myself.
Tres Leches Cake always intrigued me, it looked yummy but I didn’t think it could be as good as everyone seemed to say it was, but boy was I wrong! Now this is the first time I’ve ever eaten Tres Leches Cake so I can’t vouch for it’s authenticity, but I can vouch for it’s downright deliciousness. I honestly could not get enough of this cake and I’m pretty sure I put on at least 5lb from how much of it I ate.
You know that episode of Friends where Chandler and Rachel keep stealing that cheesecake and Chandler says “I’m full but if I stop eating this cheesecake I know I’ll regret it”, well that was how I felt about this cake. I was so full up on cake but I knew I needed more, to stop eating it would have been the biggest mistake – it’s just too good! The other problem was normally I eat a little of my creations and then send them off to work with my mum, but since she was in hospital for over a week the cake stayed in my fridge with only me to eat it! (On a related note, my mum is now home from hospital and doing well, thank you for all your well wishes!)
This is a very egg and milk rich cake. There’s 5 eggs in it and, well, tres leches literally means “three milks”, once it’s baked the whole thing is soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk – double (heavy) cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk. I steeped my cream with cinnamon before adding it to the mix to give a subtle hint of cinnamon throughout the cake, and I think that is really what tips this cake over from regular delicious to never-stop-eating-it delicious. A lot of liquid goes into this cake, you might think it’s too much and the cake will come out soggy but I really do urge to use up all the milk mixture because there’s not one single thing I’d change about this cake – it’s not soggy at all, just ridiculously moist and to die for! To enjoy this cake at its best, you really will want to leave it in the fridge overnight after soaking before topping and serving so plan accordingly, the waiting is torture but it really is worth it!
One tip I will give you is, if like me, you do not have a lipped serving platter keep the cake in the baking tin. I made the mistake of removing the cake from the tin and transferring it to a lipped baking sheet to soak it, then I had to transfer it to the board I was serving it on. And that is not an easy thing to do in a cake that’s been soaked in 750ml of milk! Soak it in the dish you baked it in and you’ll have none of those problems and you’ll probably have a much easier time of soaking the cake through! Even if you have a lipped serving plate I would recommend soaking and serving it from the baking dish anyway, unless the presentation is super important for what you’re baking for.
Traditionally, tres leches cake is usually topped with fresh fruit and I had planned to top mine with strawberries – but considering it’s winter here the berries have been a bit hit or miss so I decided to just go with a dusting of cinnamon. I love how it looks with just the cinnamon, but I imagine it would be even tastier with some fresh strawberries if you can get your hands on some good ones – or mango I think would be really yummy, particularly with the cinnamon.
I really do urge you to give this cake a go, it’s honestly one of the best cakes I’ve had the pleasure of baking or eating. I adapted it from a recipe by Ree Drummond and, of course, put my own cinnamon obsessed spin on it! Do let me know what you think of it if you give it a go. What’s the best cake you’ve ever eaten? If your answer isn’t tres leches cake your answer might just change if you try this one!
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Tres Leches Cake
A light and fluffy Mexican cake soaked in three different types of milk, making it incredibly moist and delicious. Piled high with whipped cream and infused with cinnamon
- 140g plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 210g caster sugar (super fine granulated sugar), divided into 160g + 50g
- 90ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 397g can of sweetened condensed milk
- 340ml evaporated milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 600ml double cream (heavy)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside.
- Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with 160g of the sugar on a high speed until pale in colour. Stir milk and vanilla into egg yolks to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mix and stir gently until just combined.
- Whisk the egg whites on a high speed until soft peaks form
- Add the remaining 50g sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks are just formed (see notes for more info on peaks)
- Very gently fold half of the the egg whites into the batter until combined. Then gently fold in the remaining half until all combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and skewer comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, pour the double cream for the milk mixture into a small saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Heat on medium until it's just about to boil and remove from heat. Put lid on pan and steep for at least 30 minutes.
- Place dish on a wire rack and cool cake in pan for 10 minutes.
- Pour the steeped cinnamon cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk into a jug and stir to combine.
- Keeping the cake in the pan, poke holes all over the top of the cake with skewer or fork.
- Pour 1/4 of the milk mixture all over the cake while it's still warm and leave to soak in. Repeat with the remaining milk (doing 1/4 at a time) until all has been soaked in, making sure you get the sides of the cake too.
- Once completely cooled, cover cake and place in fridge overnight.
- To make the topping, whisk together the cream and sugar until you have soft peaks, spread evenly over the cake and sprinkle with ground cinnamon (using a sieve works well for even sprinkling).
- Soft peaks look like - when you remove the whisk from the mixture, peaks should be just starting to form and will melt back into the mixture within a few seconds
- Stiff peaks look like - When you remove the whisk from the mixture, peaks should be standing up straight with only the very tips folding over.
- Cake is best the day after baking/soaking
- Store covered in fridge for 3 days.
Adapted from Ree Drummond
Adapted from Ree Drummond
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