I'm still in Utah, twelve days and counting! It's extreme grandma/perfect-grandbaby-bonding time and it's been SO MUCH FUN! I did take a one day break from Baby Max and went to visit my younger sister, who looks older than me. She's a pretty good cook - because she can read and follow recipes and because she has a knack for knowing just what makes a recipe good or not. I was at her home when my niece asked if we would make her a Tres Leches cake - her favorite. My sister was not inclined to cook, so I volunteered...but I was cautioned not to make the cake too sweet because the milk that's poured on top can be super sweet and, in her words, "it just gets to be sickly sweet."
Tres Leches means three milk...so this is three milk cake...a traditional Spanish/Caribbean/Mexican cake that is full of air bubbles - like a sponge - and because of it's distinct texture it soaks up the milks without getting soggy.
If you've never had Tres Leches Cake you're in for a treat - and this recipe is especially easy, too. (Just make sure to allow plenty of time for the cake to soak up the milk - at least four hours but overnight is best.) After my younger but older looking sister and I talked about the different recipes, I decided to try my hand at my own version...I like Tres Leches Cake made the traditional way but sometimes it can be a bit bland - and the milky taste just doesn't do it for me. I wanted more flavor so I replaced one of the milks with coconut milk...you might say it was a stroke of genius because this cake is now my new favorite!
Doesn't look like much, does it? When you pour the milks on top of the cake you'll think it's going to be a soggy mess...but it turns from an ordinary sponge cake into a rich, moist, creamy cake that just melts on your tongue...the pic on the left below shows the cake right after the milks are poured on...the pic on the right shows the cake after four hours of refrigeration - all of the milk as been absorbed and it's ready to be topped with whipped cream...try this one folks, it's a 5-danger!
Coconut Tres Leches Cake - Pots and Pins
softened butter for buttering a 9 x 13-inch baking dish
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk (**You can use cream of coconut, see below)
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups heavy cream, whipped, for frosting cake
flaked coconut for sprinking on top of cake, optional
**If using Cream of Coconut, increase evaporated milk to 1 1/4 cups and add 1 cup of Cream of Coconut.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed until light in color, about 5 minutes. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold whites into yolks until almost combined. Sprinkle sifted flour (put flour into a tight-weave strainer and shake over the mixture) over top of egg mixture and gently fold in just until all is mixed and there are no streaks but do not beat. Fold in vanilla. Pour batter in prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake until golden and pulling away from sides of dish slightly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the milks: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, the coconut milk (or coconut cream, if using, and the additional evaporated milk) and the evaporated milk. Whisk in vanilla. When cake is completely cooled, poke holes in the top of cake with a wooden skewer (a chopstick works great). Pour milks evenly over cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for four hours or refrigerate overnight. Frost cake with whipped cream. Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. (For even more flavor, as if that's possible, toast the coconut!)
I've made this cake TWICE in the last two days...TWICE! We just couldn't get enough of it! If I keep up this pace I'm going to have to fly home in a JUMBO jet because I won't fit in a little 737!