Tres Leches Cake

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: one 9 x 13-inch cake (about 16-18 servings)
Recipe: 77/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 176

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       After last week’s marble pound cake, I wanted to make another well-known yet simple cake that I had never tried – to eat or to make! This tres leches cake is a name that I often heard but never realized its meaning until I saw a recipe for it in this bible of a cookbook that I cherish so much. This latin american cake is meant to be a moist and simple cake. Tres leches means “three milks”, referring to the three types of milks traditionally used in such recipes: condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy (i.e. whipping) cream.

     This cake turned out exactly as the recipe describes: moist and succulent! I realized as I was cutting into the cake to serve it that I had most likely slightly undercooked it. It did not stand up by itself completely and wasn’t as firm as I was expecting. This was probably made a bit worse by the milk mixture, which made the whole cake a bit more delicate and spongy. Fortunately, the taste was all there nonetheless! Hence, make sure that you bake the cake enough and that it is completely chilled before you slice into it.

Ingredients for cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients for milk mixture:

  • 1 tin (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tin (370 mL) evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant skim milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, lightly toasted (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan, and dust the bottom and sides with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In a small saucepot, heat the butter and milk over low heat until the butter has melted. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
  3. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until the eggs are doubled in volume, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  5. Fold half of the flour mixture into the whipped eggs, then add all of the butter mixture and finally fold in the remaining flour mixture.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. After the cake has come out of the oven, let it cool at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Prepare the milk mixture in the meantime.
  7. For the milk mixture, stir the condensed milk, evaporated milk, whipping cream and vanilla extract together. Poke holes in the cake using a bamboo skewer or a toothpick and slowly pour the milk mixture over the entire surface of the cake. The cake will absorb all of the moisture and swell up. Cool the cake to room temperature, then chill for at least 3 hours.
  8. For the topping, whip the cream until it holds a soft peak. Stir in the icing sugar, skim milk powder and vanilla extract, then spread the cream over the surface of the cake.
  9. If desired, garnish the top of the cake with toasted coconut. Keep the cake chilled until ready to serve.

Notes from Anna:

  • A simple way to fold delicate ingredients together is to use a whisk, which will diminish the air introduced in the batter compared to, for instance, using a spatula.

 

Valerie

Milk Chocolate Silk Tart

Pies and Tarts

Yield: One 9-inch tart, 8-10 servings
Recipe: 6/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 120

    Having never been a fan of tarts (gasp!), I decided that if one tart would be able to convert me it would be the exquisite-looking milk chocolate tart portrayed in Anna’s cookbook. I figured that if I did not like this tart, I was condemned to a tartless world. The shell for this tart was very straightforward to make and came out great. The filling was just as doable and came out light and fluffy. You will definitely not run out of filling for this tart because I filled my tart to the fullest and I still had some leftover chocolate, so fear not! I personally filled the tart until it was almost overflowing.

   Once chilled for a couple of hours (this is no doubt the hardest part of the recipe!!), it was time to taste. Verdict: this is another great recipe from Anna Olson. Lighter than a chocolate tart (i.e. tarte au chocolat) but not as airy and fluffy as a chocolate mousse, this tart was divine and melt-in-your-mouth good. I find this tart to be at its best when eaten chilled, straight from the fridge. I have now undeniably been converted and will give other tarts a shot before refusing a portion!

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz (360 g) milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place a medium pot filled with about 1 inch of water on the stove and bring to a simmer. In a metal or glass bowl that fits over the pot but does not touch the water, whisk the eggs, sugar, water and salt. Whisk over the simmering water until the egg mixture doubles in volume and holds a ribbon when the whisk is lifted, about 8-10 minutes. (Note: for an egg mixture to “hold a ribbon” means that the egg mixture takes some time to blend with the rest when drizzled over the bowl). 
  2. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the chopped milk chocolate. Use a spatula to stir gently until the chocolate is fully melted. Allow this chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  3. Using electric beaters, beat the butter into the chocolate mixture until evenly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl and with clean beaters, whip the cream and vanilla extract together until it holds a soft peak.
  5. Fold the whipped cream unto the chocolate mixture in 2 additions, and spread this into the cooled tart shell. Chill the tart in the pan for at least 2 hours before topping with the chocolate shavings and removing the outer ring of the pan to serve. The tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes from Anna:

  • Due to the fact that this tart has a creamy filling, it is best cut using a hot, dry knife. Dip a chef’s knife into hot water for 20 seconds, wipe off the blade with a towel and then make a clean slice. Dip and wipe the knife after each slice.
  • Soft peak: this is the first level past foamy, when the meringue takes on a white colour. When you lift your beaters from the whites and invert them, the whites should curl over easily.

Valerie