Friday, November 11, 2011
Dulce de Tres Leches
Each year, I celebrate Dia de los Muertos (also called Araw ng mga Patay) with a fondant draped calavera cake (see previous years' cakes here and here).
This year, I'm also celebrating the birth of my son, and decided to do something different. In our home, cake is identity, and everyone has their own. I do this with my Mr., who gets a Strawberry White Chocolate Cake, and my daughter, who can claim a decadent Chocolate Truffle Cake, so I knew my son's would have to be comparably fabulous.
Have you ever had Pastel de Tres Leches? It's Mexican sponge cake, soaked with three milks (tres leches): sweetened condensed, evaporated, and heavy cream.
What about Dulce de Leche? It's sweetened condensed milk, cooked long and slow until it caramelizes into a transcendent sort of richness.
These are some of my favorite flavors, so combining them is only natural.
And so, my Dulce de Tres Leches Cake is born: layers of milk-soaked Vanilla Sponge, spread with Coconut Caramel and topped with Whipped Coconut Cream. The three milks I use are coconut, almond, and rice, but keep the coconut milk, and any other two will work fine.
Dulce de Tres Leches
One 6" cake
Make the sponge cake a day in advance, and the caramel up to a week in advance, and assembly is easy.
I bake the cake into two or three 6" layers, but you could also use a single 9" pan, and simply spread the one layer with caramel and cream after soaking it.
For the Vanilla Sponge:
1 ¼ cups non-dairy milk
¾ cup evaporated cane juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider or coconut vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Heat oven to 350ºF. Oil and flour two or three 6" round pans, line them with rounds of waxed paper, and set aside.
In a medium bowl or 2-cup measure, combine non-dairy milk, evaporated cane juice, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
Melting coconut oil into the other liquids
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour in the liquid mixture, and gently whisk until combined and nearly free of lumps. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, and transfer to oven. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when pressed.
Cool 5 minutes in the pan, and run a thin metal spatula around the cake to release it. Invert onto a wire rack, then cool completely, top-side up. If baked in two pans, split the layers crosswise just before soaking.
For the milks:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
Whisk together all ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
When the cakes are cooled, place them in a large pan, and liberally brush the tops with the liquid.
Pour additional liquid over, allowing it to flow over the sides. Let the cakes sit and absorb the remaining liquid.
1 recipe Joy's Coconut Caramel
2 recipes Whipped Coconut Cream
Gently--because it will be soaked and a bit fragile--place a layer of Vanilla Sponge on a cake plate.
Spread with caramel, and about a quarter of the Whipped Coconut Cream. Repeat with remaining layers, finishing with a mound of whipped cream on top, onto which you can drizzle more caramel, or sprinkle with toasted coconut curls, if you like.
Vanilla Sponge is my very favorite cake for celebrations. It's right for just about any occasion, making perfect cupcakes (bake it a few minutes less), and withstanding the rigors of stacking.
Also my favorite? Not apologizing that the last three posts have all been ridiculously decadent sweets. It's how I roll.
Z, finding the idea of a smash cake positively unsuitable, insists on the appropriate utensil with which to demolish his slice