Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches CakeViva Cake! 
We eat Mexican food a lot—easily twice a week if not more. So, when Cinco de Mayo rolls around it makes it kinda difficult to come up with something “special” to mark the occasion. The easiest way to do something different, in my opinion, is with dessert. (And don’t forget the tequila…)

About four years ago we took a trip to Mexico and while down there I came across a gorgeous neon pink tome of a cookbook called, appropriately, Mexico, The Cookbook. It is 704 pages long and filled with recipes that come from all regions and categories—like classic, everyday, and special occasions. Since it has been part of my collection, I haven’t even come close to making a dent. But, when I am looking for something authentically Mexican, this is where I turn.

I chose the recipe because it’s tasty and also because very few desserts scream Mexico as much as this one. (Except maybe flan.) If you have never had a truly good Tres Leches Cake you are in for a treat. (Plus it’s way less frustrating than flan…)

This particular recipe has strawberries in it. You could leave them out if you wish. I’ve eaten it both ways. If you are planning a get together for Cinco de Mayo, or even if you are not, I highly encourage you to give this cake a shot.

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from Mexico, The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

butter, for greasing

For the Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 extra large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups extra fine sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved, plus extra
for garnish

For the Cream
1 14-oz can condensed milk
1 5-oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons brandy

For the Topping
3 egg whites
1/2 cup extra fine sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the Cake
Grease and line an 11-inch round cake pan. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until ribbons form. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder mixture, alternating with the milk.

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold them into the mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Make the Cream
Meanwhile, make the cream. Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until combined.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. Turn out onto a plate, slice cake in half, into two layers. Add the strawberries on top of one layer, and then place the second layer on top. Pour the cream over it while is still warm.

Make the Topping
To make the topping, put the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice, and syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the surface of the water. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is fluffy, then remove the bowl from the pan, and continue whisking until a meringue forms.

Cover the cake with the meringue using a spatula and brown the tips of the meringue with a culinary blowtorch. Add strawberries, if using.

Serve with the cream.

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