Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tres Leche Cake with Dulce de Leche Sauce

Not one, not two, but three types of milk soaked into delicious sponge cake until it couldn't possibly take any more! It's like eating and drinking at the same time. Not really, but obviously it's extremely wet. A very unique and surprisingly enjoyable flavor and texture. I topped mine with a dulce de leche sauce, which I'm willing to admit was originally intended to be thick and creamy dulce de leche that I didn't cook long enough. So I went with it.

Yield: 1 (13 by 9-inch) cake

vegetable oil (for greasing pan)
6 3/4 oz. cake flour (plus extra for pan)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. sugar
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

2 cups heavy cream
8 oz. sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.      Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly oil and flour a 13- by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.
2.      Whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
3.      Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200º F.
4.      Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow cake to cool completely then prepare the glaze.

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half in a 4-cup measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

from Alton Brown
oiled and floured pan
King Arthur cake flour is my favorite (it's the
only unbleached cake flour I've ever found)
creaming the butter
adding eggs one by one (sugar already mixed in)
adding vanilla extract
adding dry ingredients
batter in pan
adding condensed milk to evaporated milk and half 'n half
poking holes in the cake
pouring the tres milks over the cake
whipped cream topping

Some tres leche cakes use a meringue topping,
but whipped cream toppings are common too.
whipped cream blob on cake, getting ready to spread
spreading the whipped cream
It's normal for some milk to ooze out once the cake has been
sliced. So if you have a small puddle on your plate, you did it
right (if you have a gigantic puddle, you did something wrong).
If you look closely, you can see some milk oozing out of this piece.

Yield: about 2 cups

1 quart whole milk
12 oz. sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1.      Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

2.      Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour.

3.      Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 2 cups, approximately 1 1/2 hours (or longer if you want it thicker).

4.      Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.

adapted from Alton Brown
vanilla bean
sliced vanilla bean
(see the luscious seeds on the knife)
milk, sugar and vanilla
foamy and turning light brown
removing the vanilla bean (it's much darker brown now)
much darker and thicker

If you keep going until the mixture is reduced to
about 1 cup, you'll have a nice thick dulce de leche
instead of a pourable sauce.
straining into a bowl
jar of dulce de leche sauce

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