In my last post, I bemoaned the fact that I had not been trying out enough recipes from the Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Garten). Well, sure enough, I am back in form, with a second Barefoot Contessa in less than a month’s time.
I had always wanted to make a tres leches cake, having always been eager to order the dessert at the Mexican restaurants we might frequent. I loved how moist and sweet the cake was.
And as luck would have it, Ina had a recipe waiting for me in her most recent book. Ina’s recipe called for cream and whole milk, as well as the full-fat versions of the condensed and evaporated milks. I cut all of these and did not feel like the cake suffered; it was still incredibly moist and flavorful. After all, you’re talking about tres leches (or three milks) being poured into the cake while it cools!
Tres Leches Cake with Berries
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 9 to 12
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead
WHAT TO GRAB: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 large eggs, at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup low-fat milk (I used 1%) 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk (I used 1%) 1 12-ounce can evaporated low-fat milk 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed low-fat milk Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean 4 cups sliced strawberries Whipped cream
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 . Butter a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Place the eggs, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, and the vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium- high-speed for 10 minutes* until light yellow and fluffy.
*Ina really suggests 10 minutes. I did five minutes and got it fluffy enough.
3. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add half the flour mixture, then the 1/2 cup milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched lightly in the middle and a cake tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
4. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk, evaporated milk, the sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean seeds. Using a bamboo skewer, poke holes all over the cooled cake and slowly pour the cream mixture over the cake, allowing it to be absorbed completely before continuing to pour more. (You may not need all of the mixture. I used about 3 cups.)
5. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least six hours. To serve, toss the fruit with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Dust the cake with confectioner sugar if desired, cut in squares, and place on dessert plates. Surround the cake with the fruit, put a dollop of whipped cream on top, and serve!