Tres Leches Cake

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary! No, we didn’t do any thing special (since we’ll be splurging this Summer in Peru for about a month!).  We had a nice casual dinner from the Middle Eastern place, and for dessert I made Tres Leches Cake.  I’m still a bit confused because I see both Tres Leche and Tres Leches online, which one is it??  Anyway, I decided to use Tres Leches (don’t ask me why).  This cake is baked throughout Latin America and I’m guessing it varies from country to country.

Tres Leches Cake means “Three Milk Cake”.  I first ate this cake from my local Mexican bakery.  Let me tell you, it was really rich.  It was good, but it was rich, did I say that already?  Tres Leches Cake is traditionally soaked in milk/cream so that the cake soaks up all the goodness, thus making the cake heavy and rich (here I go again).  Well, I wanted to make this cake not just for my anniversary, but I wanted something to post for Cinco De Mayo (coming Saturday!).  I found my version of Tres Leches Cake from The Food Network;  it’s Alton Brown’s recipe and I do have to say I was very very happy with the outcome.  Based on some of the reviewers I made little changes. 

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For the cake:
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-3/4cups cake flour, plus extra for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus dash of nutmeg
For the topping:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

** If you don’t want the cake to be too soaked with the glaze just use half of the glaze.  I was able to make 2 pans of cake and use the measurements for glaze and whipped topping (specified here). 

For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:
Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, cinnamon and nutmeg in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Topping:
Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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As you can see in the above photo, you can see some cream on the pan, but the cake is not drenched in it.  I really liked it this way (because I have eaten the “drenched” kind and thought it was a bit too much). 

My opinion:  Oh yes, loved loved the cake!!  Not too rich, and the subtle taste of cinnamon and nutmeg brought refreshing compliment to the milk/cream filled cake! 
Yum yum yum!!  Can’t wait to eat some more tomorrow!!  You can eat this cake without any decorations, or you can put shaved chocolate, maraschino cherry, or any other toppings you would like!

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