I really like to spiced this with cardamom (an idea I got from the fab Benjamina Ebuehi), but it goes equally well with cinnamon and nutmeg. Heed my advice, here: do not bake this cake in a rush. Make it the day before, leave it to soak overnight and add the topping just before serving. I’ve tried to rush it and it wasn’t nearly as good. Also… there’s no getting away from the fact that this cake is an absolutely filthy, calorific monster, but it’s INCREDIBLY good. Don’t skimp on getting proper double cream. The one I used was 48% fat and all the better for it!
Tres Leches Cake, barely adapted from Cassie Best
For the cake:
- 4 UK large eggs (whole weight c. 240g), separated
- A pinch of cream of tartar
- 200g caster/ superfine sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g milk, preferably whole or semi-skimmed (2%)
- 200g plain/ all purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp cardamom OR 1.5 tsp cinnamon or a scant tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the soak:
- Half a 397g tin of (sweetened) condensed milk (see below!)
- 170g tin evaporated milk
- Around 3 tbsp (45ml) of fresh cream or whole milk
For the topping:
- The other half of the 397g tin of condensed milk
- 250ml -ish of double cream/ whipping cream (C. 38-50% fat content. The higher the fat content the better, otherwise you may need to add butter to make it whip up properly with the liquid condensed milk.)
- Optional: A dusting of cocoa OR cinnamon OR a little nutmeg, as appropriate for the spicing inside the cake. You could also serve with berries, if they are good/ in season, or grated dark chocolate. (There’s so much sugar you don’t want to use milk chocolate here, and definitely not white!)
- Preheat oven to 180C / 160 fan / 350F. (If your oven cooks from the bottom like mine, consider lowering this by 5 or 10 degrees C and extending the baking time as needed.) Butter and line the bottom of a 20cm/8″ square, loose-bottomed, high-sided, non-stick cake tin. Leave the sides so the mixture can cling onto the sides (like it would in an angel food cake).
- In a scrupulously clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, then gradually add 100g of the sugar and whisk to the edge of stiff peaks but not too far. You will need to use an electric whisk or stand mixer, unless you are seriously hench.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale, thickened and frothy. Fold in the flour, spices salt, baking powder and milk.
- Fold into the egg whites (or fold the egg whites into this) in thirds, taking care to retain as much air as possible, while also not leaving any streaks of egg white. I use a large metal spoon in a “backwards six” motion (I’m right-handed), turning the bowl around as I go.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, checking a bit earlier, until cooked all the way through- a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to an appropriately sized dish. Meanwhile, mix together the soak ingredients in a jug.
- Skewer or fork all over. Pour over the soak very gradually, coming back to it every so often minutes to add a little more. Meanwhile, refrigerate for a few hours at least, or even better overnight.
- Just before serving, make the topping. Whip the cream and condensed milk together until thickened. Spread with an offset spatula or pipe on to the top. BE HAPPY!