Yesterday I made a Tres Leches to send to work with Husband to sell. It was nicely soaked and looking so tasty that I couldn’t keep my fork out of it. This one stayed at home.
A grocery trip and a few hours later Cuatro Leches was born, a prototype of my creation. Picture the typical 3 milks dessert- sponge cake soaked with cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk taken up 3 levels by the addition of cinnamon to the sponge and dulce de leche hiding beneath the sweetened whip cream frosting. Now that’s my kind of dessert. Before yesterday I had declared myself a 3 Leches snob, turning up my nose at the idea of the cholesterol giant and kindly passing at any offer of the cake. Let’s just say that I’ve done a 360 and hope that my waistline doesn’t pay for it. (I’m also hoping that the giant 3leches in my fridge magically vanishes very soon! Trash day isn’t until Thursday (gulp!)
Mother-in-Law, bless her heart, emailed me her recipe, which is cemented in her brain but difficult to carry out into any form of a recipe that another human being could possibly follow. Perhaps all you seasoned bakers out there can understand the difficulty of trying the type out a recipe that’s been in your head for decades. Point taken, I’m sure.
- 1 c. sugar, divided
- 5 eggs, separated
- ½ c. milk
- ½ t. vanilla
- 1½c flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- ½ t. salt
- ½ t. cinnamon
- Milk Soak
- 1 12oz. can evaporated milk
- 1 large can sweetened condensed milk *12-14 oz
- 1 c. heavy cream
- ½ c. milk of choice or more of any of the previously listed milks
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 T. rum or ¼ t. rum extract optional
- ⅔ c. softened dulce de leche or caramel ice cream topping
- 2 c. whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar to taste
- Fruits, sprinkles, caramel drizzle…
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13x9 or slightly larger baking dish.
- Beat ¾ c. sugar with egg yolks until lightened and fluffy- 3-5 minutes. Fold in milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a separate large bowl, beat egg whites to stiff glossy peaks, adding ¼ c. sugar slowly as the whites are approaching stiffness.
- In 3 parts, fold whites into batter. Quickly pour batter into dish and bake 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
- As cake cools, insert knife around the edges, loosening the cake from the baking dish. Using a fork or skewer, poke lots of little holes all over the surface of the cake going all the way to the bottom. This will allow for even soaking. Combine all milk soak ingredients and pour over cake evenly. Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight for best results. (This allows the milks to really penetrate the cake thoroughly).
- Spread dulce de leche over cold cake and top with whipped cream and garnish of choice. Dig in!