I will admit, I was sceptical when I first heard about Tres Leches cake. 'Why would I pour three types of milk and cream over my freshly baked cake?' I thought. Then I made it, and wondered no more. I know it sounds absurdly rich, but it really isn't. It's moist and sweet and perfect served slightly chilled on a hot day, which explains why it's popular in South America.
It's been given a bit of a British twist here with the addition of strawberries, in honour of all those folk running around after balls out there, so it's sort of a tres-leches-victoria-sponge-cake.
Tres Leches Cake (makes enough for lots of hungry sports watchers)
Preparation time: 25 minutes (plus 20 minutes chilling time)
Baking time: 35-40 minutes
You will need:
For the cake:
- 4 free-range eggs, separated
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g self-raising flour
- 100ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out or 1 tsp of vanilla essence
For the sauce:
- 200ml evaporated milk
- 400ml sweetened condensed milk
- 200ml double cream
- 2 tbsp rum
For the topping:
- punnet of strawberries (optional) sliced
- 200ml double cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence / 1 vanilla pod
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the bottom of a deep, square cake tin. (I used a 23cm x 9cm one, but you could use two smaller ones if you don't want to cut your cake in half: they will take less time to bake, so keep an eye out and adjust accordingly).
- Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and use an electric whisk to beat them until tripled in size and peaks form.
- Gently fold in the caster sugar, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
- Add the flour, milk and vanilla and carefully fold in until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
- Tip into the prepared tin and bake for around 35-45 minutes, until risen and set and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Whilst the cake is baking, make the sauce by putting the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream and rum in a jug and stir together.
- Leave the cake to cool for a minute or two (no more) then carefully slice it in half horizontally using a sharp, serrated knife.
- Place the bottom half on the plate you intend to serve the cake on, and pour over 1/4 of the sauce.
- Scatter the slices of strawberries over the bottom half.
- Sandwich the second half of the cake on top, carefully poke holes all across the surface with a fork, then pour on 1/2 the remaining sauce.
- Cover and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill.
- Whip together the double cream and vanilla until stiff and spreadable.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and pour over the remaining sauce (you might have a little too much left, just, err, eat this with a spoon, or something).
- Frost the top of your cake with the cream, spreading right to the edges, the top with extra strawberries to decorate.
- It's best served straight away: use a cake slice because that bottom layer will be, oooh so soft...