Latin Lover

I have lots of friends that are Latin here at school. And I’ve been bragging for the past year about the Tres Leches Cake I used to make for Jules. Once Alex donated a bottle of cajeta to the cause, I finally lived up to my big mouth. Everyone was on a sugar high for days!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:
3 large eggs, separated
1 cups granulated sugar
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk topping:
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

Filling:
1 23-ounce bottle of cajeta (optional)

Icing:
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
or
1 ½ cubs of heavy cream
½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round cake pan.

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 topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack. After about 15 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it. Invert it onto the wrack and let cool further. Once the cake is cooled to room temperature, using a serrated knife, cut the cake into two even rounds. Place one cake half back into the baking pan. Place the other into a 10-nch round spring form pan. Pour half of the milk mixture over each half. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

After 4 hours, squeeze the cajeta over the cake half that is in the spring form pan. The cajeta should make an even level and cover all of the exposed cake. Quickly invert the other cake half over top of the cajeta. If it breaks, pat it back together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the icing: Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 to 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. While beating, add the hot syrup in a stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture cools, and a glossy icing forms. If this is too complicated, you can beat the whipped cream with the sugar and use it in place of the meringue icing. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top.

Just before serving, un-mold the cake from the spring form pan. Serve with fresh fruit if desired.

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