Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tried and True Tres Leches Cake

What do I love more than milk? Three kinds of milk!! Ever since my friend Sunni introduced me to tres leches, I have been hooked! I was a little nervous making this since Sunni only made things that were ridiculously complicated and had a chance of exploding, but I figured it was worth the risk.

While I can't say if this is as good as hers (unfortunately it has been far too long for me to recall), it was pretty fabulous and I will most definitely be making it again. We had a progressive dinner this past weekend with several of our new neighbors and I volunteered to do the dessert course. As my neighbor Kevin would say, this cake was "stupid good". So good that I could only snag a lonely corner piece to take pictures of. Next time I hope to plan a little better and take some shots of it before its completely devoured.

I always get nervous when trying out a new recipe, but this one from Cook's Country did not disappoint. My husband did suggest adding a little dulce de leche / salted caramel drizzle to it next time, but it was fabulous just on its own. So good that I'm even considering throwing tradition out the window and making it for Thanksgiving this year. And I'm not even kidding.

***UPDATE: Since this initial post, this recipe has become a staple in our household. It is so good that I haven't even bothered looking for another recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Mmmmm, tres leches.

Tres leches. Good for just about any time of day. Nom nom nom.

Tres Leches Cake from Cook's Country

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
 Whipped Topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. 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, 9 to 15 minutes. Remove from microwave and slowly whisk in evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Heat butter and milk in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted; set aside off heat.
  3. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs in large bowl 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 rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes (it took me the full 35). Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.
  4. Using 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 3 hours or up to 24 hours 
  5. For the frosting: Remove cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. With electric 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. Sprinkle with just a tad of cinnamon and serve. (The assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We've gone bananas!

Banana nut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
I know, I know. Its been eons since my last post! All I can say is that I've been busy with life. I've changed jobs, ran my first half marathon, and also built a house!

Right next to planning our wedding, I think that building a house was probably one of the most stressful things I've ever done. But it has been completely worth it though. We really do have our dream kitchen and I have been baking up a storm ever since we moved in.

Our new kitchen!
A few weekends ago our sweet little niece Ava came over and we made banana cupcakes. I had only tried to make banana cake once before and it turned out awful. Little did I know how ripe your bananas need to be to make a good banana cake. Like they need to be on the edge of disgusting. Gabe offered to toss them out at least three times before they were ready.

I used this recipe but made cupcakes instead of a sheet cake - and the batter makes a LOT of cupcakes, about 28 or so. I just added some walnuts to the batter and whipped up a batch of my go-to cream cheese frosting, but added the zest of one lemon for a little extra zing. It baked a ton faster for me than what the recipe said. I baked them at 275° and they were done after about 30 minutes in my convection oven.

My niece Ava, such a huge helper in the kitchen!

Banana Cake w/ Walnuts (original recipe is here)
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, really ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 275°. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into lined cupcake pans and bake in a preheated oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1lb box of confectioners sugar (a little under 4 1/2 c sifted)
1-8oz block of cream cheese (softened)
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
1t pure madagascar vanilla
zest from 1 lemon

In a large bowl blend butter, cream cheese, lemon zest and vanilla together. Add in confectioners sugar in batches until completely blended. Frost cupcakes and enjoy! Note: I was short on frosting since this recipe made so many cupcakes, and I like to put quite a bit of frosting on my cupcakes. Next time I make these (and there definitely will be a next time), I will update this with how much is actually needed.