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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tres Leches Cake

 I love Tres Leches. It's one of my favorites.

Tres Leches, Spanish for "three milks", is a wonderful cake/confection that's been delighting those of the Southwestern affiliation for many a year. My love for this cake was rekindled some months ago by a friend of mine, Chef Jesse Vega, who was/is also a Chef Instructor at the Culinary school I attended. I never had any of his classes, but I always saw him around. I reconnected with him at the same meeting I'd seen the cake at. He said it was good to see me and that he had been hearing about me.

"Ah, thanks." And I walked three steps in the opposite direction before turning on my heel and saying "Wait, what?" but he'd disappeared into the crowd. I still don't know what he'd heard. But I guess it was because Chef Venne(the Head Chef Educator at my Culinary School) had seen me at the meeting prior and we talked. I assume.
I posted this one on Twitter

Anyway, the Tres Leches was one of the best I'd ever had. It reminded me of why I love Tucson, what Sonoran cuisine was all about. It made me homesick. And yet it didn't, because it made me feel like a piece of my home culture was there in my mouth, ready to slide down my throat and give my stomach a hug. It was like the Tres Leches Cake said to me:

"Hey, homes. Ease back. I gonna give you a hug from the inside."

It was like the taste of childhood. All I needed was a Coke from the can and an above-ground swimming pool and I would have been set, all back in Tucson, the summer I was eight. I begged and begged Chef Vega for the recipe. A day before I needed it(really needed it for a party I was doing), he emailed it to me. Now I share it with you.

Mexican Tres Leches Cake

  • 1⁄2 cup butter plus more for baking dish, melted, cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 cups fresh fruit (such as orange segments, strawberry
  •  slices, and kiwi slices) 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. In a

medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt set aside. In

a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar on

high until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla mix well then fold in

melted butter. With mixer on medium, gradually add flour mixture to egg

mixture and beat to combine. Transfer batter to dish and bake until top is

golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20

minutes, rotating dish halfway through. In a medium bowl, whisk together

milks. Poke warm cake all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick, then

pour milk mixture over top and let cool to room temperature. Whip cream

and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. To serve, spread whipped cream evenly

over cooled cake.


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