Monday, January 2, 2012
Rum and Eggnog Tres Leches Cake
Mexico is still very much on my mind so I am still looking to make the things that I was looking forward to eating but didn't get to eat while I was there. Although I have eaten my fair share, I have never actually made a tres leches cake so I thought it would be a great choice of dessert for New Year's Day dinner. We were having our MVP friends over (Most Valuable Peruvians) and I know that they have their own version of this cake so I know it will be familiar enough but I want to christmas it up a bit. We are still all about the turkey dinner and so we are having one last turkey dinner on New Year's Day.There is a full thing of eggnog leftover (the rest of it is sitting comfortably on my ass and belly right now) and so it made sense to make an eggnog tres leche so we can mix the best of all worlds in one, damp, delicious little cake. Most importantly, it will also use up the last of the eggnog and get it out of my house until next year.
I decided to use this recipe that I found on Pati's Mexican Table as my base because her recipes seem to be pretty spot on and it looked delicious. A lot of the recipes I was finding had butter or they didn't whip the egg whites and yolks separately so although tasty enough, I wasn't sold that they would have the proper, spongey texture that I was looking for.
I couldn't stop thinking that using a springform pan would be way easier so that is what I did. What I didn't do was account for the difference in actual surface so instead of making two cakes that were a couple of inches high, I made one 10 1/2" cake that was about 4" high. I was pretty nervous that I was going to totally mess it up. In retrospect, I probably should have made two thinner layers, one at a time and either set them on top of one another or just made two cakes but it turned out really good. I will warn you that this is a huge cake and because it is really quite rich, people tend to eat a small piece so you should wait until you have a houseful of people to feed.
Bottom line is that I am pleased as punch with this recipe. The cake is perfectly moist and damp but not soggy. It soaked up all of the milk but didn't all seep out and there was no pooling around the cake at all. Even the next day when I took it out to photograph it, there was no pooling of liquid around the cake that had been cut into. Shack said he "appreciates" the cake but doesn't love it ( he doesn't like booze in his baked goods but thinks he would like it if I make it sans rum next time), The Kid ate two slices and finished his father's and the MVP's gobbled it up and took a big chunk home for breakfast.
Rum Eggnog Tres Leches Cake
9 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 tbls vanilla (i always come home from mexico with a huge bottle of pure vanilla)
2 cups of all purpose flour
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg or a 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup eggnog
1 tbls vanilla
2 tbls dark rum
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
Heat oven to 350F
butter and flour a 9x13" pan, putting some parchment on the bottom (I am using a 9" springform round pan)
Beat the egg whites for 4 to 5 minutes until they reach soft peaks and then slowly start adding in the sugar as you continue to whip until they reach the stiff peak stage. Remove the whites with a spatula to really large bowl.
If you are using a stand mixer, rinse the bowl and the beaters and add in the yolks. Beat them on med high until they are pale yellow and really creamy. Add the vanilla and continue to beat another minute.
Pour the yolk mixture on top of the whipped whites and with a spatula, gently,fold them together before you add the dry ingredients. Be very gentle as you fold the dry into the eggs until you have a smooth batter, trying not to lose any of the volume.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and and cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and if you want to get super techy the internal temperature should read 200F. It should be moist but not damp or wet and the top will just start taking on a light bit of colour. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely. (if you use the springform 10 1/2" pan cook for about 45-50 minutes )
Once it's cooled, remove it from your pan ( if you used a cake pan, invert it onto a plate and then use another plate to set it right side up again - much easier to use a round spring form in the first place)
The plate or platter you are going to serve this on has to be big enough to accommodate the sauce as it will seep out of the cake and pool a bit around the base of it. Take a fork and poke holes all over the surface of the cake.
In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and then pour that all over the surface of the cake, making sure to cover every inch so it will be evenly soaked. (again, because mine was a tall cake in a springform, I left it in the springform and just loosened the sides, poured the milk mixture over the top and then covered it, set it on a large plate and left it in the fridge overnight before removing the ring and adding the whipping cream about an hour before dinner)
Whip the cream and the icing sugar and spread that all over the top of the cake. You could garnish however you like using fresh fruit, chocolate curls or anything else that suits your fancy. I would let this cake sit in the fridge for AT LEAST one hour before you serve it to ensure maximum soakage.