Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Best Birthday Eva'! I haven't laughed so hard in recorded history! I wish I would still be hanging out with these guys in my 60s, I honestly do!
So, two of my friends were celebrating their 60th birthday last weekend and I volunteered myself to make a cake. Yes, I know, a masochist. But I thought that the Mexican-inspired dinner would match well with a Tres Leches cake, and Tres Leches cake is my new favorite thing. My first piece of Tres Leches cake was at a wedding this spring. It was fruity, moist and absolutely delicious. My second piece (and the third and fourth) was at the Las Campanas observatory in Chile a few weeks ago. I had cake for lunch and I would have had it for dinner too. I asked the chef for the recipe and he was all to kind to write it out for me. Turns out the cake is pretty simple - sponge cake, soaked in a mixture of three milks, which was no guarantee for success - my first attempt at making it failed quite miserably (but was happily eaten nevertheless). So here it is, attempt Number 2, follow the directions exactly:
Tres Leches Cake
For the cake:
1 C white all purpose flour, sifted (sift, then measure)
1 C + 1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
4 egg whites
1 C sugar
Please, please, please, do sift the flour! Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is frothy and light yellow. Beat the egg whites until frothy, ~ 2 minutes. Keep beating the whites and add 1/2 cup of the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, beating until well incorporated before adding the next tablespoon. Keep beating the whites until soft peaks start forming. Carefully mix a portion of the whites in the yolk mixture to lighten it up, then pour the rest of the whites in and fold, veeeery carefully. Mix salt, 1 Tbs of sugar, baking powder and the flour (the baking powder may not be necessary). Sift the flour mixture into the wet mixture little by little, slowly folding the flour in. Do not overmix! I used an electric mixer to beat the eggs and then folded the ingredients with a spatula. Pout into a springform pan. If the pan is nonstick, oil and flour the sides of it, but not the bottom, before pouring the mixture in. Bake for ~40 min at 350 F, until the top is lightly brown and springs back to the touch. Take is out if the oven and flip is upside-down on a towel for a couple of minutes to avoid serious deflation.
While the cake is baking, make the "syrup". Use the condensed milk can as a measuring cup and mix 1 can of condensed milk, 1 can-full of evaporated milk and 1 can-full of heavy cream. Stir well until the condensed milk is well dissolved.
While the cake is still warm, remove the sides of the springform and move to another plate if you want. Using a cerated knife cut off the thin top crust. This is done so that the cake absorbs the milk mixture easier but will make is unappealing without frosting. Put the springform sides back on and slowly pour the milk mixture minus ~3/4 cup evenly on the cake. Place in the fridge to chill. Decorate with merangue, stick the candles in and start singing "Happy birthday to You". Enjoy!