Monday, April 16, 2007

Pastel de Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)

I've come to the realization lately that I have a commitment problem! There is always another that has something that the one I've chosen doesn't - I just can't commit to one! The first step is admitting it, I guess....I wonder if there is a support group out there for me?!

I've come across numerous recipes for Tres Leches over the last month, all with different ingredients and methods, and I put it off since I wasn't sure which one to go with. After reading reviews of all the recipes I collected and taking them into consideration, I decided to combine parts of all of them! Perhaps I was looking for disaster since I've never had a Tres Leches cake before but I love a challenge and I used my intuition! I knew I had to add coconut somehow since Marc and I absolutely love coconut (I know this isn't authentic but what the heck!...) and I knew I had to incorporate some booze into the equation! I saw quite a few recipes that used rum so I went with that!

The cake part was ready after baking it for 45 minutes. When I mixed together the milks, I thought to myself "this is going to be way too much" but I went with it and after poking the cake about a million times with a fork, I started slowly pouring the milks over the cake. About three-quarters of the way, the milks were close to overflowing so I stopped and left it to soak up some before I finished. Next time I think I will use the recommended 13"x9" pan instead of the springform - I think it might be easier for the cake to absorb all the liquids (and easier for pouring) and I will decrease the baking time to 30-35 minutes. You try and you learn, I guess!

After letting it soak up all the liquids over night it was the moment of truth! I made some whipped cream and...why am I not surprised that this cake is super yummy! Very very moist and fluffy, slight coconut flavor, lots of rum flavor (but not overpowering) and with the whipped cream on top - Oh My God! I agree with Marc that for our tastes it needs a bit more coconut flavor so next time I might add some coconut extract and maybe even a little almond extract to the cake itself. With a little more tinkering this recipe will be PERFECT!

Pastel de Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour an 8" springform baking pan.

Combine flour and baking powder and set aside. Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy. Add in granulated sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks are formed (about 5 - 7 minutes on medium speed). Continue mixing and add in one egg yolk at a time until incorporated. Add in flour/baking powder mixture and milk. Alternate by starting and ending with flour/baking powder mixture. Add vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 8" springform baking pan.

Bake at 350° F for 45 - 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven, and cool for 10 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE FROM PAN. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over the cake using a fork. Set aside.

Tres Leches (Three Milks)
1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup lite coconut milk
1/4 cup rum

Add milks and rum to a bowl and stir to combine. Pour slowly over cake until all absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

For the toasted coconut, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut and spread it in an even layer. Cook, stirring often, until coconut is lightly toasted and browned. If coconut begins to burn, reduce heat. Remove from pan immediately.

Whipped Topping
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Spread over top of cake and then sprinkle with toasted coconut and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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