Recipe Post: Très Leches Cake

(As previously posted in my blog post: “Tips for Better Baking: Dairy Products and other Liquids)

I made this recipe for a cake commission some time ago; it was actually one of my first cake commissions (ever), and while I was still in Culinary School.  A South American coworker had asked if I could find a recipe and bake one for her, as she missed having this very popular cake from back home. Of course I said I’d do my best, and set to my brand new cake commission with a will.

I was absolutely astonished that the cake I had made could hold so much liquid as I was pouring, and pouring, and POURING the milk mixture overtop of it. Be reassured, however, the cake will hold all this liquid, and be the better for it. The secret is the sponge cake itself; it really does act like a sponge, and should be fine with all the liquid mentioned in the recipe. If you’re concerned that your cake is not absorbing it all, take a minute or two and let it do its thing; it will get there eventually; just make sure that before you start adding your “leches”, your cake is either on the presentation plate already or will be served in its pan; once it’s heavy with milk, it will be practically impossible to move it in one piece to another plate.

Très Leches Cake

YIELD: 8-10 servings

PREP: 10 mins | BAKE: 30 mins | CHILL: 4 hours  

Cake:

  • ½ cup/115g/4oz unsalted butter
  • 1 cup/190g/7oz sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp/5mL/0.2fl.oz vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups/190g/7oz all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp/7oz/0.25oz baking powder
  • 1 cup/240mL/8fl.oz 2% or whole milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) tin evaporated milk  

Topping:

  • 1½ cups/355mL/12fl.oz whipping cream
  • ¼ cup/30g/1oz icing sugar
  • 1 tsp/5mL/0.2fl.oz vanilla extract
  • Fresh sliced strawberries, maraschino cherries, chocolate curls, or cinnamon sugar to decorate (optional)  
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13”x9” baking dish, and set aside.  
  2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; mix in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour and baking powder; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring to blend.
  4. Pour batter into prepared dish, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately pierce cake with a fork all over.   At this point, either remove cake from pan and place on rimmed serving plate, or leave in pan for presentation.
  5. Combine the 3 milks, and pour on top of the cake; cool cake to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.  
  6. Beat whipping cream, icing sugar, and vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until thick; spread over cake, decorate as desired, and serve.  

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