In the first quarter of 2014 I asked our online community of any interest in a super Tres Leches dessert. Response…amazing!
As I had many scheduling hurdles in 2014, my focus was drawn away from the goal of developing a modified version of what we had been using at the Occupational Center to serve over 1000 people on our International Days before the end of 2014!
Instead, I am celebrating Tres Leches success for 2015!
My challenge was that I had already developed a delicious formula for the Tres Leches syrup—it needed a cake to match its excellence.
I was looking for a type of sponge cake that absorbed more syrup and simpler to make than the one we had been using. My research took me to Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum which turned out to be from a former chef employer, Mary Sue Milliken. The class turned this recipe into a sheet version using 18 eggs, which normally yields an appropriate amount of batter. The results were not what I was looking for exactly—too dry and lumpy for some reason—could have been a student error-who knows-and no time to try again.
As still not happy with the experiment at school as I wanted to make a smaller round dessert- size as per Beranbaum. The book references a 3-inch high version which I made and not happy with the shape-I continued….
My next experiment yielded a Happy Day!
My thoughts lead me to refer back to my own upscale dessert business before I began my current career as the Director of the Culinary Arts Department at “West Valley Occupational Center in the San Fernando Valley.
Back then I had baked many a genoise in 10 x 2 inch round pans and all of them contained 6 large eggs as does Beranbaum’s /Millikens’s recipe.
Why not, I thought, try a tried and true size pan for this search as well!
In addition to the book’s ingredients, I added ¼ teaspoon baking powder sifted with the all- purpose flour as the book’s sponge seemed so unusually delicate even when baking principles were followed perfectly by yours truly.
It worked! And no sinking and pulling from the side of the pan this time!
I offer some handy hints for
1. Once completed, this cake
2. The unbaked foam batter is
(The correct consistency of the eggs and sugar and vanilla once the mixture is whipped for at least 5 minutes after warming to 109 degrees F.)
3. I use my hand to constantly
(Sugar and egg that must be mixed immediately after adding the sugar to room temperature eggs.)
(Using hand to mix the eggs and sugar over the bain marie)
(Bowl on top of saucepan which shows the bain marie)
4. Once the heated eggs are
.(genoise batter in cake pan ready to immediately into the oven)
5. Bake immediately in a preheate
6. I use two thermometers in my
7. Let the cake cool in the pan
8. After 5 minutes of cooling
(Sugar on top of cake before turning out of pan)
9. Keep the parchment paper that
10. Cool the cake.
11. Wash the cake pan. Line the
12. Lift the cake from the
(Bake cake flipped out of pan to cool)
13. I do not remove the golden
14. Now you poke holes in the
15. Make the syrup according to
16. I ladle enough syrup to cover
17. Let the syrup filled cake
18. Cover with parchment paper
19. Refrigerate 8-12 hours.
20. When cool, I uncover the cake
(Refrigerated cake that contains the syrup ready to take out for decorating using a cake board)
(Cake onto cake board and ready to have parchment paper that was used in the baking removed for icing.)
21. I ice and decorate the cake
(Iced and decorated with stabilized whipped cream flowers)
(Cut slice ready to serve and enjoy!)
This cake is loved by all who
Enjoy and please let me know
Best regards and Happy New
Bake America Stronger!
P.S. I use the leftover
(Be sure to read the previous
Tres Leches-The Sponge
Yields: one ten inch round
Number of Servings: 8-10 or
Large eggs (room temperature)
Superfine Sugar (Bakers’)
All-purpose Flour (bleached)
Crisco to coat the pan
All-purpose flour to coat the
Equipment: Parchment paper,
- Completely coat the pan with
thin coat of shortening. Flour the pan and tap excess off of the shortening.
- Preheat the calibrated oven
to 350 degrees F
- Line the bottom of the cake
pan with parchment that fits exactly.
- Put water into the saucepan
so as to not allow the mixer bowl to touch the water.
- Heat the water to simmering
- Place the mixer bowl with
eggs and sugar over the water bath (baine marie) and with your hand stir the mixture rapidly so to prevent the eggs from cooking-you just want them pretty warm—and the sugar dissolved; 109 degrees F is fine.
- Put the bowl immediately onto
the mixer and fit with whip and whip on high speed until the eggs are at the ribbon stage, rather a soft-definite peak—5-6 minutes.
- I sift the flour and baking
powder twice before adding to the eggs at this time.
- Once the eggs are cool and
whipped as described above, I add using a sieve about ½ of the flour/baking powder to the eggs and use my hand to fold this into the eggs rapidly but gently opening my hand to gain surface area. When I can see that most of the flour has disappeared, I add the rest and do the same thing as gently and as rapidly as I can so as to not deflate the eggs.
- Then as in number #4 hint
above rapidly with large swift motions with my bowl scraper I want to dispense the batter into the cake pan near the side.
- Bake as directed above in #5.
- Follow the hints 6-11 above.
Chef Susan’s Tres Leches Syrup
Hint: You need to caramelize the sweetened condensed milk using the brands recommended in the photographs. I do not use the brands that are already caramelized as the flavor of the cake would not be the same.
Yield: one 10 inch x 2 inch round cake
Approximately (2 pounds plus 11 ounces)
Caramelized sweetened condensed milk 1.75 ounces
Evaporated milk 2.25 ounces
Sweetened condensed milk 14 ounces
Evaporated milk 3.25 ounces
Heavy whipping cream 1 pound 1 ounce
Light corn syrup 4.5 ounces
Vanilla Extract 2 plus ¼ teaspoons
Brandy 1.25 ounces
Equipment Needed: Saucepan- 3 quart size, stainless steel whisk, measuring spoons, scale, ladle, hot pads.
- Once the sweetened condensed
milk has been caramelized and the cake baked then proceeds.
- Measure 1.75 ounces
caramelized milk and 3.25 ounces evaporated milk into the saucepan. Heat at medium while whisking constantly until the caramel melts into the evaporated milk (5 minutes or less just do not turn up the heat too high or the mixture will burn.)
- Add and bring to a boil, stirring
constantly with a whisk the 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 3. 25 ounces evaporated milk, 1 pound plus 1 ounce heavy whipping cream(preferably not ultra-pasteurized), 4.5 ounces light corn syrup, 2 and ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract.
- Remove from heat once the mixture
boils, let cool 5 minutes and add brandy.
- Use hints 10-21 to add the
syrup and finish the cake.