Weekend Recipe: Tres Leches Cake


Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

This is everyone's favorite cake: its origins are said to come from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of Europe, as they all have their own variation of the milk-soaked dessert. Make this Cook's Country version -- a moist, yet sturdy cake that holds up to a three-milk bath -- your favorite.

Tres Leches Cake
Serves 12

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 corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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For the milk mixture: Pour condensed milk into large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on low power, stirring and replacing plastic every 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened, about 9 to 15 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and slowly whisk in evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

For the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 13 by 9-inch baking pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In small saucepan over low heat, heat butter and milk until butter is melted; remove from heat and set aside.

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

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

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

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