“OMG Linda, my work mate brought a ridiculously ugly cake to work, but it was so good, I had 2 slices!” What a greeting I had from Minh last Wednesday morning, no “Hello” or even a “Hey”. Upon further enquiry Minh explained that the cake was called Mexican Milk Cake, Tres Leches ( 3 milk) cake. I was quite intrigued by this deliciously ugly cake, so decided to investigate. According to Google, Tres Leches cake consists of a cottony soft vanilla sponge cake made with milk that when cooled, is allowed to sit and soak up a mixture of three milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and thickened cream.
The description of the cake is something I think the whole family will appreciate, so I decided to give the cake a go. However, to spice it up a bit, I added a middle layer of caramel mousse and fresh strawberries, topped with freshly whipped cream, caramel web, more fresh strawberries and torched meringue.
Tres Leches Cake
Caramel Mousse adapted from Dobla
60gm egg yolk
80gm caster sugar
1 gelatine sheet
200gm heavy cream
Seeds from half a vanilla pod.
Pinch of salt
- Whip egg yolks and vanilla seed until thick and ribbon.
- Bloom gelatin in cold water
- Wet sugar with some water and allow to the sugar to slightly caramelise.
- Add gelatin to the yolk mixture, whilst mixing, gradually add the caramel.
- Cool mixture down to room temperature
- Whip cream to soft peak, gradually add to the yolk mixture.
Sponge cake adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 cup all plain flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cups milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup thickened cream.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a round baking tin with baking paper.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
- Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
- Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
- Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
- Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
- Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.
To assemble the cake, slice the sponge in half. Liberally spread the caramel mousse all over half the sponge then layered with sliced fresh strawberries. Top the bottom layer sponge with the other half. Cover the sides and top of the cake with whipped cream. Using pre-prepared caramel, draw concentric circles on top of the cream, then use a clean skewer to draw a line from the outer side of the cake to the centre. Repeat every 3cms. Pipe meringue to the side of the cake, then using a blowtorch, torch the top of the meringue. Add fresh pieces of fresh strawberries and finish of with a dark chocolate strip.
True to the name of the cake, a sponge cake really does soak up everything. I was quite surprised to see this sponge cake soak up all the milk mixture, retaining it within the cake.
I am not one for putting lovely creations on large cakes, often opting to serve a slice of cake with either a dollop of cream or a scoop of ice cream. This time I decided to do something a little different, play around with decorating techniques that I’ve always wanted to try, just going back to basics.
I have never made meringue before, so was quite pleased with the outcome, all though it was still a little too foamy for more liking. However once blow torched, the caramelised streaks in the meringue actually made it look better. Back when I first started baking, I was always impressed by designs and drawings that bakers would draw on the cake, either using caramel or chocolate. This time, I decided to give it a go, since it was my first time, I decided to draw something simple, spider web designs. Looking back at the cake, I should have drawn more circles and more lines, my web looks a little too spaced out. Lesson learnt.
As usual, the taste testers are my family. Upon seeing this cake, my brother was quite dissappointed that it wasn’t his beloved carrot cake, however once he ate it, he agreed that this is a good consolation. After wolfing down my slice of cake, I totally agree with Minh, this cake is absolutely simple and delicious. Dad liked it so much he has requested this as his birthday cake.