Monday, June 1, 2009

Tres Leches Cake with Strawberries

The family got together yesterday to celebrate my grandmother's 89th birthday. My sweet aunt hosted us for a delicious Italian Sunday dinner--stuffed shells were the star, but soon after the pasta was demolished we tore into this cake.

This is another from-a-box cake, doctored for perfection. Everyone loved it, though I must say it was VERY sweet and there are some things I would do differently for future tries.

First, the recipe is from the What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor herself. I guess this was the right book for me, since I'm a box cake mix fan. I recently borrowed this book from the library

I won't reprint the recipe verbatim here. You can find the cookbook at your local library--or online here--to see for yourself. It's very easy to make, but I do have a few notes:

- First, this mustn't be removed from the fridge or frosted until the very last minute. You can see from the photo above that the milk syrup was oozing out of the bottom and pooling at the base of the plate. It got much worse and dribbled onto the counter, the tablecloth, my aunt's blouse... ugh! Of course we made short work of it with a couple of spoons, but still. Messy, messy, messy. That said, it would be even easier made in a regular 13x9-inch pan to contain any leche-leakage.

- I modified the soaking syrup a tad by reducing the amount of heavy cream from 1 cup to 1/2 cup because I was convinced that this cake couldn't possibly soak up all that milk. It did, but it was fine without the extra half cup of cream. In the future I might try using light coconut milk to replace the cream and some of the sweetened condensed milk. I think it would add a nice additional dimension to the cake, and since we found it all rather on the sweet side, reducing the sweetened condensed milk would be a good thing.

- I forgot the vanilla extract. It wasn't missed at all.

- I baked the cake in a 7-inch deep springform pan. All the batter fit in the same pan, which was great. It took a good hour in the oven, though, to cook through.

- The sliced strawberries were a fantastic accompaniment. They cut through some of the sweetness of the cake nicely.

- I frosted the cake with non-dairy whipped topping, since I had to travel an hour with this whole shabang and assemble at my aunt's house. Much easier than dealing with whipping cream at someone else's house.

Come to think of it, the milk probably was leaking out because we'd traveled an hour with the thing! I wonder if it would be better to freeze it before transporting?

At any rate, it was a success. G'ma enjoyed her cake, and so did the rest of the family. I'd call it a success.

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