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Anna Olson’s Spongey Tres Leches Cake

PREP TIME
30 min
COOK TIME
40 min
YIELDS
1 cake

This Latin American cake is a moist and simple cake that must be served in the pan. A sponge cake is soaked with a sweet syrup and the chilled cake is topped with whipped cream. Because of all of this added dairy, the cake needs to be stored in the pan, but it will feed a crowd.

There are many versions of this recipe but one rule must stand – there must always be at least three types of milk in the recipe to earn its name!

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Ingredients

Cake

½
cup unsalted butter
1
cup 2% milk
4
eggs at room temperature
2
cups granulated sugar
2
tsp vanilla extract
2
cups all-purpose flour
2
tsp baking powder
½
tsp salt
¼
tsp ground nutmeg

Milk Mixture

1
tin (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
1
tin (354 mL) evaporated milk
¾
cup whipping cream
1
tsp vanilla extract

Topping

2 ½
cups whipping cream
¼
cup icing sugar
2
Tbsp instant skim milk powder
2
tsp vanilla extract
1
cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted (optional)
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Directions

Notes

If baking the cake in a ceramic or porcelain dish, for presentation, you may need to add 10-15 minutes to the bake time.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Grease a 9-x-13-inch baking pan and dust the bottom and sides with flour, tapping out any excess flour.

Step 2

For the cake, heat the butter and milk over low heat until the butter has melted. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.

Step 3

Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed using electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the whip attachment until the eggs are doubled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Fold half of the flour mixture into the whipped eggs, then add all of the butter mixture, then fold in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Step 4

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes*, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

*See Note.

Step 5

While the cake is baking, prepare the milk mixture.  Stir the condensed milk, evaporated milk, whipping cream and vanilla together.  After the cake has come out of the oven and cooled for 10 minutes, poke holes in the cake using a bamboo skewer and slowly pour the milk mixture over the entire surface of the cake (the cake will absorb all the moisture and swell up).  Cool the cake to room temperature and then chill then cake for at least 3 hours.

Step 6

For the topping, whip the cream until the cream holds a soft peak. Stir in the icing sugar, skim milk powder and vanilla and then spread or pipe the cream over the surface of the cake. Garnish the top of the cake with toasted coconut (if using) and keep the cake chilled until ready to serve. The cake must be stored and sliced directly from the pan. The cake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

A baking dish filled with a rectangular cake topped with whipped cream on a blue plate

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