Tres Leches Cake
Tres leches, which means “three milks” in Spanish, refers to the whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk that make up a creamy soaking sauce for the baked cake. Over time, it saturates the cake, making it soft and luscious. While a thick garnish of softly whipped cream may seem excessive, it actually tempers the sweetness of the whole confection. Serve with some berries or sliced fruit to complete the presentation.
- Serves: 12 persons
- Butter for the pan
- 2 ¼cups/285 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼teaspoons baking powder
- ¾teaspoon kosher salt
- 6large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1cup plus 2 tablespoons/225 grams granulated sugar
- ½cup plus 1 cup whole milk
- 1(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½cup heavy cream
- 1tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan lightly, leaving a 1/4-inch border that remains ungreased. Do not butter the sides of the pan; you want the cake to “climb” up the sides of the pan as it bakes.
Step 2In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup/100 grams of the sugar until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1/2 cup of the milk, lower the speed and then mix in the flour mixture just until combined.
Step 3In another large bowl, with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until foamy and the yellowish color has disappeared, about 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/125 grams sugar while beating. Continue to beat the mixture until you have shiny, medium-stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir a big scoop of the egg white mixture into the batter to loosen it, then, using a spatula, gently fold the remaining whites into the batter without deflating them.
Step 4Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack to cool slightly.
Step 5Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Using a skewer or a toothpick, poke holes about 1/2 inch apart all over the cake. Cut the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake, about a cup at a time, allowing 5 to 10 minutes for it to soak in before adding more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours).
Step 6To serve, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar to soft peaks. Top the cake with the whipped cream.