Tomorrow my trip home is officially over and Oliver and I will be headed back to Boston. It’s a little bit bittersweet since I miss my boyfriend and my kitchen, but at the same time it’s always hard to say goodbye to family and relaxation. Before I went though my sister requested one of her favorite desserts: Tres Leches Cake. She and my mother routinely order it from a favorite restaurant, Cafe Latte, but have never made it before. Having made Tres Leches Cupcakes before for a dinner party I knew that this cake can be MUCH less intimidating than it seems. Basically what makes Tres Leches Cake unique is that you take a sponge cake and pour a mixture of three milks (in this case evaporated, sweetened condensed, and heavy cream) over the hot cake. The cake absorbs the liquid and becomes extra rich and moist. It’s a perfect cake for anyone who finds typical cakes to be too dry. The history of the cake seems to be debatable. Some sources claim it originated on the back of a can of evaporated or condensed milk in Latin America in order to encourage more usage of these products though others say it was developed more organically by home cooks in Nicaragua. Whatever the history it is one really rich and delicious cake.
Many of the recipes I found online call for a meringue frosting but I did a whipped cream frosting instead to make it closer to what they order at the restaurant. The only word of caution is that whipped cream will deflate over time so if you won’t be serving it right away or anticipate having leftovers I recommend waiting until the last minute to frost it and including whipping cream stabilizer in the frosting. If you wanted to save time and make this recipe a little easier you could also use sponge cake mix (I found two brand available online: Manischewitz and Greens) in place of the homemade cake.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
-6 large eggs, separated
-2 cups granulated sugar
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 cup whole milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk Mixture for Soaking:
-3 5-ounces cans evaporated milk
-1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
-1 cup heavy cream
Whip Cream Icing:
-2 cups heavy whipping cream
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup raspberries
-1/2 cup blueberries
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.
To make the milk soaking mixture: In a bowl, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and beat until well combined.
Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the icing: While the cake is chilling pour your whip cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl you will use to beat the cream. Refrigerate along with wire whisk/beaters for at least 30 minutes. Once the bowl and beaters have had time to chill and are thoroughly cold beat cream until cream forms stiff peaks.
To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top. Arrange the blueberries and raspberries over the top and serve.
Anyway, guess tomorrow it is back to reality. Thankfully I at least got to spend some considerable time pursuing cookbooks from my parents’ library. I had the good fortune of looking through The Bacon Cookbook and Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. Both had fantastic sounding recipes that I cannot wait to try out when I get home. On the dog front Oliver also got a haircut while he was here. His hair was starting to get matted and he picked up quite a few ticks so I had to have him shaved. My mother and sister preferred the fluffy Oliver but I like him in his short coat. I find him a bit more manly.
I also got to go on a mini road trip today with my mother that I’ll be saving for this Friday’s Fromage Friday. It was lots of fun and I hope my recap will do it justice. In the meantime I’m trying to figure out the best way to ease myself back into the work week.
Any tips? What do you do when you return from vacation to get back into your regular routine?