Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quatro Leche

Eating a spoonful of tres leche is like having an out of body experience. Rich, squishy, spongy, sweet, a moist cake. And immensely satisfying. A small portion quenches my post dinner penchant for dessert. But for some it's quite the opposite! I make this milk-soaked cake for girlfriends who love to dessert!! They eat vast quantities, topped with spoonfuls of freshly whipped cream with gay abandon!!! I can only watch and gape! Teresa, married to a Nicaraguan, extols the virtues of my version, after seconds. Sabrina makes inroads into the cake and cream. Joann, pops her Lactaid and delves into her portion. Nooshin eats with her eyes and stomach. Vini eats little bit at a time, over days. Geets, oohs and aahs as she forks a mouthful. I watch these slim figured girls consume this calorie laden delight, Where does it go, these calories??? Into thin air I presume!! 

This is the second recipe of tres leche I have tried. I do love the first but it makes a sparse portion. Emeril Lagasse's cake is better for bigger crowds. Having made his version a few times, I find it better. More cake-like. More sliceable. Just plain better. I follow his baking instructions to a T. I tweak the leche part though!! A little bit of this, a little bit of that and I love the result.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Serves 8-10

1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoons Flour
2 cups unbleached Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
6 Eggs at room temperature 
2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole or 2% Milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
2 cans Condensed Milk
1 cup heavy Cream
1 cup Coconut Milk

Butter 9x13 glass baking dish.

Dust with a tablespoon of flour. Flour should be all over the buttered dish in a thin layer.

Sift 2 cups flour and baking powder. Keep aside.

Separate eggs.

Heat oven to 350F.

Whisk whites with a hand or stand mixer, using a whisk attachment. Whisk till soft peaks form, for about 3-4 minutes.

Scatter sugar over egg whites and continue whisking till eggs are stiff for 2-3 minutes more.

With the mixer on low, add egg yolks one at a time.

Add vanilla extract.

Divide the flour/baking powder mixture into 3 portions. 

Add one portion of flour to eggs. Beat on low to incorporate.

Pour in 1/4 cup milk and mix.

Add the next third of flour. Mix.

Pour the leftover milk and mix.

Add the last portion of flour and whisk gently to blend all ingredients.

Ladle eggs into prepared dish. Smooth the top.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown.

Stick a toothpick or skewer in the middle of the cake. It should come out clean and dry. The cake is now ready to come out of the oven. 

Take cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Assemble the milks by mixing evaporated milk, condensed milk, whole milk and coconut milk. Whisk well to blend them smoothly. 

Pour the milks over the warm cake. Start with 1 cup at a time. Do this every 15 minutes till all the milks has been absorbed by the cake. 

When cake is cool, cover with cling film and refrigerate.

Serve cake cold with whipped cream.


Eggs HAVE to be at room temperature or else whites take forever to stiffen.

I have used both a stand mixer and a hand-held one. It is easier with a stand mixer as the work is done for you by the machine!! The end result is the same for both!!

You could leave out coconut milk if you do not care for the taste. Replace it with more cream.

On occasion I have served the cake with fresh strawberries too. 

So it isn't the traditional Latin American version. Tradition and I don't go together often. This time I take a classic and twist it a tad. The girls prove their love by polishing off large portions. Restraint flies out the window. We  live in this dessert-filled moment.  Our friendship is cemented in sweetness but not light!