Tres Leches Cake with Whipped Cream and Dulce de Leche

This cake is not for the faint of heart. Nor the dieter, diabetic, or lactose intolerant. Nor is it for the procrastinator or the spontaneous. But if you don't fall into any of these categories, this cake is definitely worth a try! If you're not feeling quite so ambitious, simply buy the already made dulce de leche at the grocery store. Heck, get a tub of whipped cream while you're at it! But definitely give the cake a shot.

Tres Leches Cake
From Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009 Magazine, page 54

Milk Mixture:
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For the milk mixture: Pour the condensed milk into a large microwave safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on low power, stirring and replacing the plastic every 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened, 9 to 15 minutes. (I actually heated mine on the stovetop in a saucepan on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often.) Remove the bowl from microwave and slowly whisk in the evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.

2 For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Heat the butter and milk in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted. Set aside off the heat.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed (if you're using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment), beat the eggs in a large bowl for about 30 seconds, then slowly add the sugar until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg mixture is very thick and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in the melted butter mixture and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl as necessary, then mix on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

4. Using a skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the top of the cake. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake until completely absorbed. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate uncovered for 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

5. For the frosting: Remove the cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream, corn syrup, and vanilla to soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Frost the cake and slice into 3-inch squares. Serve. (The assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Dulce de Leche
From Milk.Com

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Poke two vent holes in the top, by using a can opener for example. Put the can into a pot (with the holes up), and fill up the pot with water until it is a quarter inch or so below the top of the can. Put the pot on a stove and turn up the heat. Let the pot and can simmer gently for about one and a half to two hours for runny dulce de leche, or up to four hours for solid dulce de leche. Add more water, as necessary, when the level boils down too much.

When it's done, let it cool for a while, and then carefully open up the can completely and eat directly (for the solid variety) or use as a dessert spread (for the liquid variety).

The resulting product should be colored tan or brown.

I thought I'd get a little ambitious this week and try a cake! I bought my boyfriend the Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009 magazine recently, and in the dessert section there was a recipe for Tres Leches Cake that sounded absolutely delicious. What could be better than a cake soaked in 3 types of milk? Quite a bit if you happen to be lactose intolerant, but I'm not, so this cake sounded absolutely delightful! I had a can each of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk in my pantry that had been hanging around for awhile, and I finally had an excuse to use them! Unfortunately, upon inspection of the cans, I realized they had expired in 2006... 2006?!? That was before I even moved in here! What was I doing hauling around expired food?? Oh well.. Into the trash they went and I was off on another grocery store run. Story of my life.

Make that 2 grocery store runs. The first time I only got Dos Leches--I forgot the cream. *Sigh* I even make grocery lists so I know what I need! And they still sit attached to my fridge when I go to the store.. Someday I'll learn. Anyway. It was Thursday night, and I had promised my boyfriend that I would bring him cake on Friday. I had the whole day Friday off and thought, "Oh I'll have plenty of time to make this cake tomorrow!" WRONG. Upon reading the directions Thursday night before I went to bed, I realized this was a very time consuming cake. It was supposed to sit, soaking up the milk mixture, for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight, and even up to 24 hours. 24 hours?? I'd have to start right then! So much for going to bed.. It was going to be a long night..

I started with the Tres Leches mixture:
Sweetened condensed milk, cooked to a golden color, about halfway to dulce de leche, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.This mixture--incredible. If I didn't think I would be horribly sick afterwards, I would have stuck a straw in the bowl and drank it. Onto the cake. I was quickly realizing that this cake could never pass itself off as figure friendly. 4 eggs and 2 cups of sugar. Whole milk and a stick of butter. Not to mention the milk mixture that it would soon be soaking in. This was a caloric nightmare. And it made my mouth water that much more. Most of the sites I perused for tips on making this cake said to use a 9x13 glass baking dish so you can see if all the milk has soaked up into the cake. Ah-ha. I knew there was something else I was forgetting. I have every size but 9x13. The most common size baking dish, and I'm somehow lacking it. I have an 11x15 for pete's sake, but not the standard 9x13! How have I survived this long without one?? Oh well. It was 1:30 in the morning, and I was not about to make another trip out to the store. My 9x13 cake pan would have to do. 35 minutes in the oven, and I had a nice golden cake that I let sit for 10 minutes before I poked holes all over it and started pouring the milk onto it. I guess I should have been slightly more observant of my cake and its soaking abilities.. I poured the milk on in 3 parts. The first one went perfectly. It was soaked up in about a minute. The second part took a little bit longer to soak.. Blindly confident that my cake could hold all the milk that was left, I went ahead and dumped the rest of the mixture on top. This is when I started to question how much Leche you really should pour over the cake because it started to literally float in the baking pan.. Could the cake really suck up that much milk? How squishy was it going to be? I started to panic and feared it was going to end up a wet disgusting disaster, but I had faith in America's Test Kitchen. They wouldn't let me down. Would they? I just had to wait about a day to find out.

12 hours later... pulling it out of the fridge I could immediately tell my cake was still floating. It hadn't sucked up all the milk, and I knew no matter how long I left it in there, it would never absorb it all because it was already thoroughly saturated. It was probably already saturated after the 2nd round of milk mixture. The third was just overkill. Oh well. Too late now. Now it was time to figure out how to drain off the excess. I ended up having to completely remove the cake from the pan, wash the pan out, and scrape the excess off the bottom of the cake. That was a gruesome task.. Talk about one grande leche mess. It took me a good 15 minutes to wipe up all the milk off my kitchen counter. This had better be one amazing tasting cake.

Onto making the ducle de leche for the drizzle. This was definitely one of my more ambitious ideas.
From everything I read online, you should poke holes with a can opener in the top of a can of sweetened condensed milk, and stick the whole can right into a pan of simmering water and basically boil it until it turns golden and thick. My directions said an hour and a half to 2 hours for a runny consistency. That was about what I wanted. Just something to drizzle over the top of my cake. So I set my timer for an hour and a half and kept checking on it. With about 15 minutes to go, from what I could see through the holes at the top, it hadn't changed colors at all. It was still a milky white. So I reset my timer for another hour. After an hour, it had changed to a very pale yellow. This was taking forever! I put another 45 minutes on the timer to take me up to about 3 hours of boiling this blasted can.. 3 hours waiting for this stupid thing to change colors. But it was a good time to get housework done. I managed to vacuum, clean up my hall closet, go through about 150 books in my bookcase and find 2 bags worth of things to donate, reorganize the bookcase, do 3 loads of laundry, unload and reload the dishwasher, and take out the trash. I was more productive in that 3 hours of boiling than I had been all week! My timer went off the final time, and still not much of a color change. Finally I had had enough of this. I was going to open the can up and see what the heck was going on inside. I probably should have done that an hour ago. The bottom was a nice golden tan color, and well on its way to being completely solid. It was just the top that was still a milky color because it hadn't boiled its way all the way up. So if anyone tries this later--Use a can opener to open the can all the way up about an hour into it and stir it up to see where it's at. Don't stupidly rely on the top holes like I did. And make sure you've got an oven mitt or something. That can's gonna be REALLY hot and I don't want anyone to burn themselves. I poured it all out into a bowl and whisked it up to get the solid chunk from the bottom to blend with the milky liquid from the top. It ended up being REALLY good. I licked quite a bit off the whisk when I was done... And then had a bit of a stomachache and a sugar rush. Not a good combination.

Just a spread of whipped cream and a drizzle of the cooled dulce de leche and the cake was finally done!! It was finally time to pack it up and head over to my boyfriend's with the promised cake. By that time, I was in desperate need of some real, substantial food, so we went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant to get us ready for our dessert! When we got home, it was finally time to cut into the cake! And it was muy delicioso. It was sweet, but not overly sweet (at least to me) with a hint of spice from the cinnamon in the cake. The whipped cream was the perfect light topping for this incredibly dense cake. It's so good, you want to have another piece, but it's so filling that one is enough. Especially after a huge Mexican dinner! Mmm.. This post made me really hungry.. I'm going to have to go cut myself another piece right now..

Pin It


Kimi said...

I made a Tres Leches last year for Cinco da Mayo, so yummy! I was afraid to make the dulce in the can, I blogged mine as well.
Welcome to the forum! I'm in Ohio also, Lake Erie, Central North Coast. Where are you?

Amanda said...

This cake has got my mouth watering! I love the idea of it, but I don't know if I have the patience or ability to make it these days. :)

Lourdes Crohare said...

1) As far as making the Dulce de Leche, believe me you DO NOT have to poke any holes in the cans. My husband comes from Chile and about 99% of desserts in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay are made with Dulce de Leche. The mothers and grandmothers of course still use milk and stir forever on top of the stove. But everyone I know just puts the cans of sweetened condensed milk in a big pot and make sure they are totally covered with water, and simmer for 2 hours. You can simmer for 3 hrs too depends how dark and thick you like it. Make sure that every half hour you add more water so that the cans are always totally submerged.
2) As to this recipe I just tried it this past weekend. I found the cake a bit strange. Even though the toothpicks came out totally dry the cake was more dense in the middle and looked a bit raw? I also thought it had way too much Milk Mixture. I did as the recipe said and left it overnight in the fridge but I felt it was soaked and totally swimming in the Milk Mixture. That's is shy I wanted to go back and make sure I had the right ingredients and I did.

OhGrl Josefine said...

I made this cake and it worked out great everyone loved it especialy my boyfreind.. I would make it again.

Sha Burns said...

You don't need to poke any holes in can, just make sure it's covered. I had to add water (heated already) to get to 2 hours. Try just boiling a can and pour into a baked pie shell. It makes an easy and very good Caramel Pie, perfect pie consistency. You can add whipped topping if you like, but after it cools. Be very very careful opening hot can. Her cans ingredients was light on top because water got in the holes and diluted the top of it. Holes also make it hard to remove whole lid to get it out. It won't pour.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails