Saturday, March 13, 2010

#228_Pastel de Tres Leches ( Three-Milk Cake)

Pastel de Tres Leches

Pastel de Tres Leches, translated as three-milk cake is a very popular Latin American cake soaked in three different kinds of milk products, hence tres leches (three milk). Some recipes use butter cake, some simply use boxed white cake mix and while there's hundreds of ways to dress this cake up, I will stick to what I have already tried which is nuts and strawberries. Because this cake is already too sweet from the milk, I don't particularly want anymore frosting nor sweet garnishes on it such as whipped cream or caramel.
I first tried this cake last year from an authentic source (click here). I'm glad I did because now I have a recipe based on that authentic piece of cake.

For the cake, I used the tried and true Chiffon Cake recipe #210, click here and it turned out great. I did one in a 9"x13" pan and 5 mini cakes using "one-of-a-kind" molds.

I call these mini cakes because they are bigger than cup cakes and smaller than the smallest size cake pans. Do you want to know what kind of molds I used? It's my secret, so don't tell anybody... they are Tuna Fish cans! Yep! 7.5 oz.tuna fish cans, a bit taller than the regular 5 oz. cans. I love the size because it is perfect for individual servings. I got the idea from a friend, Josie, who uses the cans for making leche flan. There you go, I just revealed a secret!

Mini cakes using tuna cans for molds

Tres Leches Cake in a 9"x13" cake pan

Here's the recipe:
Prepare your pans. If using glass pans, grease the bottom well. If using mini molds, grease bottom and sides well. Baking gurus say don't grease the pans when making chiffon cakes...
I am breaking that rule specially with mini molds or muffin tins because you can't unmold them without breaking them to pieces if the molds aren't greased.

For the Cake (Chiffon Cake recipe #210, click here)
Egg yolk mixture:
2-1/4 cup cake flour, sifted before measuring
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup+2 tbsp orange juice or water
7 egg yolks
2 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift together cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, canola oil, orange juice or water, vanilla and orange zest. Mix together with a wire whisk until all ingredients are well bended. Set aside.

Egg White Mixture:

7 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar
Using a stand mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the sugar. Continue to whip until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and soft peaks forms.

The Cake Batter:
Fold the egg white mixture (in 3 batches) into the egg yolk mixture until both are well blended together. (remember, just fold, do not mix or stir this mixture)

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in pre-heated 350 degrees oven. Baking time varies
depending on the pans used. I bake the 9"x13" cake for 23 minutes; 18 minutes for the mini cakes. If using mini molds, place the molds in baking sheet then put in the oven.

Making the TRES LECHES
Cool cake for about 5 minutes, then poke holes all over the cake using a skewer or a fork.

Poke holes all over cake for the milk to penetrate.

Mix the 3 milk together
in a bowl

Some recipes that I saw online use a combination of evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream. Some uses fresh milk instead of heavy cream. I guess it doesn't matter as long as there's condensed milk in it.

Pour the milk into the cake making sure it gets into the holes.

After pouring milk into the cake, let it cool completely then cover
and put in the fridge to chill for few hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, pour some more milk on the cake then garnish as you desire.

Notes from MaMely:
1) This chiffon cake recipe looks like it is hard and complicated to make, but it is really not that hard. Unless you give it a try you won't know how easy it is to make it. I know, because it took me a few years before I decided to try making it as I thought it was complicated for me. I'm glad I did give it a try because now, I hardly use cake mixes for this kind of cakes.

2) A blog reader and a cyber friend, Ziggy who is from Cuba, told me she makes this cake a Cuatro Leches, which means 4 kinds of milk. For the fourth kind she uses dulce de leches to top the cake. Sounds delish, I'll have to try that.

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