Friday, May 9, 2008

Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche

This combination give the phrase "Milk your diet" a whole new meaning! I was invited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a few of my neighbors. The host made the main course dishes, others contributed with an array of salads and appetizers. I volunteered the dessert. The reason being, I saw the "Good Eats" episode a while back where Alton made the Tres Leches Cake, and had never heard, seen or tasted one. It looked so delicious that I have been obsessed, well maybe just a tad, about this cake. I did a pretty long search on the net for recipes, there are many! I decided on this one from Cottage Living. I liked the look of the cake, the Chef's background and the addition of the dulce de leche. The cake received raves reviews, is very simple to make, and is almost like cake and pudding in one. There are many ways to make the dulce de leche(you can jump here to wikipedia for more info), a caramel like milk sauce. I was a bit afraid for the method where a can of sweetened condensed milk is boiled on the stove, I had visions of installing a new kitchen. I opted for the CIA's version, how could I go wrong with this one? It was a great choice. The sauce is not one for the impatient, it takes hours, but oh the aroma! My house smelled like sweet warm milk all day. Drizzle your dulce de leche on toast, yogurt, cookies, I mean the possibilities are endless. I give this combo 5 stars and can't wait until the next excuse, I mean occasion to make this.

Tres Leches Cake
serves 15
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (I used my vanilla sugar)
5 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 1 /2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 (14oz)can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; mix in eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring to blend. Pour batter into prepared dish, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Pierce cake while warm, with a wooden skewer or fork all over.

Combine the 3 milks, and pour on top of the still warm cake; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. I think it is best if left overnight.

When ready to serve, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and remaining vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until thick; spread over cake, drizzle with dulce de leche and serve. The cake can sit out a bit at room temperature, but should have a slight chill to it.

Dulce de Leche
makes 1 cup

1 quart whole milk
1 cup sugar
cinnamon stick, two-inch piece
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water

Place the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, while heating the milk to a gentle simmer. The milk will begin to form a foamy layer across the surface and around the perimeter of the pan. Stir the mixture gently to incorporate.

Dissolve the baking soda in the water. Stir the baking soda mixture into the milk mixture. It will foam up quite a bit, just keep stirring, gently.Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture uncovered at a low simmer, just so the milk's surface breaks with a gentle roll.

Check the mixture periodically and gently stir without incorporating the foamy layer that forms across the surface.

After the mixture has been simmering for 1 hour, remove the cinnamon stick. The milk mixture will begin to turn a light tan color. Continue simmering until the mixture reduces to the thickness of sweetened condensed milk, takes on a rich tan color and has reduced to about one cup, about 1 to 1-1/2 additional hours. The mixture will thicken further as it cools and under refrigeration.

Strain the mixture immediately into a jar, using a fine mesh strainer. Cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks but I doubt it will be around that long!

Just one more picture of my proud moment!

A sample of our great spread!


toontz said...

Oh how I wish I was one of your neighbors right now. What a great job on the tres leches cake (and dulce de leche) I have always wanted to make that cake and like you, was very nervous about making the dulce de leche from a can of condensed milk. Thank you for showing how you made it from scratch. I am bookmarking this for sure!

Elle said...

Wow--you made it from scratch! I'm so impressed! It looks delicious with your gorgeous cake. I just happen to have one mason jar leftover from my jam making day...maybe I'll give it a shot.

Elle said...

I passed along an award to you, if you want to check out my blog, it's in the pound cake post. ;)

Kimi said...

Elle: Thanks for the award. I will check it out and get a blog on!