Today, 28 years ago, I made my big entrance into this world. My mom, after an average length labor, said upon looking at me, “Oh my gosh! She’s so ugly!” When I first learned this as a kid, I think it made me cry. But now I think it’s hysterical and I absolutely refuse to let Mom live it down. Because, really, what kind of mom says this? It is a fantastic counter to her occassional guilt trips. I know that sounds horrible on my part, but we really all should have a trump card up our sleeve.
Anyway, this year I decided that I wanted to celebrate my special day with a truly decadent cake. I finally gave up on the fantasy that my Hubby would miraculously find the best bakery in town and pick out the perfect cake. Every other year he’s usually ended up picking something from the local grocery store. And while his heart is in the right place, his taste buds obviously are not. So this year I opted to make my own, and I chose Tres Leches. I haven’t had this cake since college, when a roommate’s mom introduced me to it (and introduced a few more inches to my hips), mainly because I hadn’t seen it in any bakery (which is odd for TX). Also, I wasn’t sure where to look for a good, authentic recipe. I’d searched a few sites not finding anything and even the Epicurious website came up short. Luckily, though, Food Network had quite a few to choose from, and I (wisely) went with the Alton Brown version. The Hubby and I moaned with delight at the first taste and kept on until we were loosening the belts on our jeans.
I have to warn you, though. This cake is not for the faint of heart. It’s name means three milks, which also means it is three times as rich as just about any other cake you could ask for. It’s also incredibly sweet. Because it’s saturated in milk, a glass on the side really isn’t going to do you much good. And it is just wrong to drink a glass of water with this. But if your sweet tooth is threatening a binge of untold purportions, give this cake a try. I think it will satiate the sugar cravings with just one slice. Oh, and the added bonus to all this is that you’ll never have to worry about ending up with a dry Tres Leches cake.
For the cake:
6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces sugar
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half
For the topping:
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.
For the glaze:
Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.
Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.