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Tres Leche Cake

October 8, 2009


Whoa, whoa, whoa! I got approved for the Foodie BlogRoll yesterday, and my blog stats spiked yesterday and this morning. I realize this is just because I am featured on the widget right now (and not for much longer, I’m sure), but it was still nice to know that almost one hundred people had viewed my blog today, as opposed to the normal one or two. So while people are actually reading, I decided to take a break from desperately trying to finish a fellowship application and post an entry.

For the same dinner that I made the Iowa Chicken Pie, I also baked, soaked, and covered a tres leche cake. My first exposure to this cake was relatively recently at a party. But that cake was made from a box and frosted from a can. Now I don’t necessarily have anything against boxed cakes and canned frostings (ok, so I probably do…), but I consider baking to be relaxing and challenging (a relaxing challenge?) not a chore, so I almost always bake from scratch. So when I read The Pioneer Woman’s post about her tres leche cake,  I soon headed to the kitchen.


I gathered my ingredients and took a picture for you. I think it may actually include all the ingredients (I usually forget one two, typically the salt and vanilla ). Don’t those eggs look beautiful? Some particularly observant readers may notice that there are four variations of milk in this recipe, but I think the tres leches refers to the three milks in the soaking liquid (but I’m not Mexican, I don’t know!).


I started by whisking the dry ingredients into a bowl before separating the eggs and putting the yolks in a mixing bowl. Then I whipped in some of the sugar. The whisk is moving so quickly you can barely see it in the top of the picture (God, I love Kitchenaid).


Then I quickly added the whole milk and vanilla. And then it looked like this frothy goodness.


I poured the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently combined the two.


Before cleaning my mixing bowl (I really need an extra bowl, but both money and space is tight for this graduate students) and my whisk attachment. Then the five egg whites went into the bowl.


I started the mixer and slowly added some sugar.


And I beat those egg whites and sugar until I had stiff peaks.


Now my favorite part: folding the egg whites into the batter. Ok, this may not be my favorite part, but I do think among all of my culinary skills, I am particularly good at it.


Folding up close.


Once the egg whites were folded in, I smoothed the batter into a greased (and glass, although I don’t think it makes much of a difference) 9 1/2 x 13 inch baking dish. And stuck it in the oven.


Here’s a picture of the cooked cake. On the spectrum of baked cakes, it is on the ugly end. Look closely at the bottom right-hand corner.


Like a man whose spent too much time in the pool, this cake suffered some serious shrinkage. (Note: please ignore the cut on my finger. I have far too good knife skills to ever slip up. I wish.)


I mixed together a touch of whipping cream with a canof evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk into my largest liquid measuring cup.


It barely fit.


Next came the fun part: pouring the liquid goodness into the sponge cake. I oversaturated the edges and undersaturated the middle. I don’t know think there is a good way to tell what you’ve done, but this cake can hold a lot of liquid and I preferred the wetter pieces to the drier ones. (Yes, I ate more than one piece of cake. Thanks for judging me.)


You will undoubtedly have some leakage. If you have a platter that has rims (like Pioneer Woman), use that. If you don’t (like me) grab some paper towels. The taste is well worth the mess. Then put some whipping cream, your mixing bowl, and your whisk attachment in the freezer for fifteen minutes or so. Then whip the cream with some sugar and vanilla and cover the cake. Stick the cake in the fridge for a bit, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy a piece of wet heaven.


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    October 8, 2009 1:18 pm

    great pictures! I’ve been jonesing for a Tres Leches Cake for a while now… I’m in Houston and they’re everywhere, but not always as good as homemade.

    • cookingupaphd permalink*
      October 10, 2009 11:15 pm

      This was only the second one I’ve ever eaten. I really like the moistness off this cake.

  2. October 8, 2009 9:54 pm

    I’ve never had tres leches cake before, but I love that the cake is soaked in sweetened condensed milk!

    • cookingupaphd permalink*
      October 10, 2009 11:13 pm

      You should make it. It isn’t particularly difficult, and the sweetened condensed milk makes all the difference.

  3. October 10, 2009 10:30 am

    I love the icing-to-cake ratio you’ve got, here.

    • cookingupaphd permalink*
      October 10, 2009 11:12 pm

      It was perfect! 🙂

  4. October 13, 2009 3:54 pm

    A couple of comments…

    * Your numbers will spike up on the day your blog appears and possibly the next two days thereafter.

    * I’ve found that I’ve gained a few new readers in this manner. In addition I’ve started commenting on a wider variety and number of blogs — at least the ones that interest me. This is another, longer, wordier 😀 way of saying that your readership will gradually increase — perhaps not as dramatic as today — but every little bit counts, right?

    * I love tres leches cake so it’s a wonder why I don’t make it more often.

    • cookingupaphd permalink*
      October 27, 2009 11:51 am

      I’m going to make a chocolate tres leche cake soon!

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