Lets talk about mouthfeel. Last Friday I entered my first baking contest. It was a casual event at the museum (where I work) and there were lots of delicious entries. It was a good experience even though I didn’t place (not even with one of my friends as a judge!).
I learned a few things too. 1) Don’t show up late and have your dish be the last of 20 desserts tasted and judged. A sugar-sick judge in a frosting-induced coma is not on your side. 2) Oreo truffles are delicious. 3) Mouthfeel is a very important (and real) category for desserts.
The mouthfeel of this Tres Leches cake was awesome. I was surprised that a pastry soaked in milk for hours didn’t feel soggy and gross when you ate it. It was creamy and moist and I couldn’t stop going back for more. It has milk and lots of eggs in it so I figured it was fine for breakfast, and even when I took it to work, it wasn’t quite far enough away from my desk to stay out of my thoughts.
When I made this cake I went through a dozen eggs even though the recipe only calls for four. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Separate your eggs with your hands, not the shells. If you use the shells you will inevitably end up with your last yolk broken in the whites and you will have to start over. When the recipe says to beat the whites and sugar until stiff peaks form, be patient, this could take 8-10 minutes because of the large amount of sugar. Don’t give up after 5 minutes thinking your whites have deflated and throw it out to start over. Other than that (I think I was trying to bake too early in the morning with too much of a hangover) this cake was fun and easy to make. The best part is pouring all the milks over the cake and watching it magically disappear.
Pastel de Tres Leches
Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
One 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan with 2 inch high sides (I used my 9 inch springform), line bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the paper and pan.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running gradually add the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form (could take up to 10 minutes). Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, blending well after each addition.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the whole milk in two additions.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 min, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan; then invert it (or remove the sides of the springform and invert) into a platter with one inch high sides. Pierce the top of the warm cake all over with a thick skewer.
- Mix the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk, heavy cream and Grand Marnier and pour over the cake. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about three hours, or overnight.