Monday, April 18, 2016

Tres Leches Cake with Berries

Tacos were on the menu for my first birthday party (many years ago!).  I have no recollections from that party but do know that tacos have been my birthday dinner menu ever since.  The tradition has evolved in that most birthdays, in my immediate family, are celebrated with a taco dinner. My daughter-in-love’s birthday coincided with our first free after-tax season weekend.  It was the perfect time to have the family over and have tacos with all the trimmings! They were so good! Most importantly, it was wonderful to have my family gathered in our home once more! Between grandchildren, children and my parents, we had 12 in attendance.  I loved it! Nana’s house was full once more!

I wanted to make something different for dessert and found a recipe for Tres Leches cake in Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, Make It Ahead.  How perfect was that, a Mexican-style cake after our taco dinner? Tres Leches literally means three milks.  It is a light sponge cake that is drizzled with a mixture of three milks; evaporated, sweetened condensed, and cream.  The milk mixture soaks into the cake overnight.  The cake, surprisingly, isn’t soggy but has a cream-like consistency to it. It was part pudding, part cake. I served it with fresh-from-the-patch strawberries and freshly whipped cream. It was a wonderful dessert!
Tres Leches Cake with Berries

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon almond extract
Whipped cream
5 cups sweetened berries (strawberries, or combination of strawberries, raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13x2-inch baking dish and set aside.

Place the room temperature eggs, sugar, and the vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Fit with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed for 10 minutes or until extra light and fluffy.

While the eggs and sugar are mixing, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.

After 10 minutes of beating time, reduce the speed to low, and add half of the flour mixture. Then, add the whole milk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula to make sure that the batter is mixed completely, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Smooth out the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake springs back from the center when touched a cake tester comes out clean.

Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

While the cake cools, whisk together the heavy cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and almond extract.

Poke the cake all over with a bamboo skewer, and then slowly pour the cream mixture over the cake, allowing it to soak in before continuing to pour more of the mixture.  Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 5 days before serving.

To serve, cut the cake into slices and top with the sugared berries and whipped cream.
I was beginning to doubt myself at this step, it seemed like so much milk mixture, but the cake absorbed it quite nicely!


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