Sunday, September 1, 2013

Double Layer Tres Leches Cake (Birthday Celebration)

Yesterday we celebrated Lewis's 24th Birthday! It wasn't technically until later on in the week but we decided not to put off the festivities. The day consisted of cool moose veggieburgers, Boss Japanese coffee beverages, the beloved Taco Lu (review coming soon), and this crazy tasty cake! I made this cake a couple of years ago and it has been one of his favorite desserts ever since! For those of you who aren't familiar with this, tres leches translates to "three milks cake" and before you step back and say "heyyy man that's not my thing, I'm not sure about this wet cake business" I encourage you to try out this delicious recipe!

Tres leches usually consists of a yellow sponge cake soaked with a mix of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and half and half (or regular milk). This recipe is specially designed to produces a cake that's slightly dense with a lot of air bubbles in order to soak up all that milk without becoming soggy. This cake sorta resembles rice pudding in flavor but the texture is that of a dense mousse. You could also just make a rectangular 13 X 9 inch cake with this recipe as well if you didn't feel like bothering with the layers. This cake is traditionally topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon but to switch it up I typically go for the cocoa powder for a slight chocolate finish, feel free to top it with some fresh fruit as well!

Double Layer Tres Leches Cake

* note: The cake is best when baked a day prior to serving, to let the cake soak up the glaze overnight in the fridge.

For the cake:
1-3/4 c. flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla


1.Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 9 inch cake pans and set aside.
2.Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low, and with the mixer still running, very slowly add the sugar. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla and mix again. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three batches and mix until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and spread evenly (it will seem like a small amount of batter for a cake).
3.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
4.Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

1.Whisk all ingredients together until combined.
2.Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. It will seem like a lot of glaze but just take your time and let it keep soaking in as you pour (think of it as a delicious flavor sponge). The cake will not completely soak up the glaze until it has sat overnight. So, pop it into the fridge and finish it the following day.

For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon or cocoa powder, for sprinkling on top

Place the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment on medium speed, until stiff peaks are formed. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whisk until thick.

Spread the topping onto the cake, sprinkle with cinnamon, top with cherries, and allow it to chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

To assemble:
1.Once cooled, take both cake pans and turn over unto a sheet pan with a lip to catch access milk. Soak each layer until no milk remains in the pan. On a cake stand, carefully place the first layer of soaked cake, take a little over half the whipped cream and spread it evenly over the top of cake layer. Place the second soaked cake on top of whipped cream layer and then proceed to frost the top with remaining cream. Dust with either cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa powder.

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