- Hands-on time:
- 20 mins. to 30 mins.
- Baking time:
- 28 mins. to 30 mins.
- Total time:
- 4 hrs 38 mins. to 4 hrs 50 mins.
- about 24 servings
This golden sponge cake, a native of Latin America, is liberally soaked with tres leches (three milks: condensed, evaporated, and heavy cream), and would seem, at first read-through of the recipe, to be unbearably sweet — to say nothing of soggy. But the cake itself is only mildly sweet; and it's literally a sponge cake, soaking up and holding the liquid so that each mouthful is a just-sweet-enough, super-moist delight. Garnish the traditional way, if desired, with mango or other tropical fruits. Or simply dust with cinnamon, and enjoy this rich, creamy cake all on its own.
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk; or substitute 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half & half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; or 1 tablespoon brandy or light rum
- 1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" x 2" pan; line it with parchment and grease the parchment, if you plan on turning the cake out onto a serving platter. Note: Your pan must be at least 2" deep; this is a high-rising cake.
- 2) To make the cake: Combine the egg whites and cream of tarter in a large bowl, and beat the whites until soft peaks form. Set them aside.
- 3) In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks until well combined. Add the sugar, and beat until the mixture comes together and thickens. When you stop beating, the mixture should fall from the beater(s) in ribbons as you lift them out of the bowl.
- 4) Add the water and vanilla and almond extracts to the egg yolk mixture, beating to combine.
- 5) Stir in the baking powder, salt, and flour, beating just to combine.
- 6) Gently and thoroughly fold in the beaten egg whites, stirring until no streaks of white show.
- 7) Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, gently smoothing the top.
- 8) Bake the cake for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove it from the oven, and set it on a rack. Loosen the edges with a spatula or table knife.
- 9) After 20 minutes, gently turn the cake out onto a serving platter, turning it upright, if desired. You can also leave it face-down, if you like; you'll be topping it with cinnamon, so any imperfections on the bottom crust will be hidden. You may also choose to serve the cake right from the pan; in which case, leave it where it is.
- 10) Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.
- 11) To make the topping: Combine the cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla or liquor, stirring thoroughly.
- 12) Poke the cake all over with a fork. Pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly, stopping occasionally to allow it to soak in. This seems like a lot of liquid for the cake to absorb; but don't worry, it will.
- 13) Cover the cake and refrigerate it for several hours before serving.
- 14) Just before serving, dust the cake heavily with ground cinnamon. Serve with diced mango, pineapple, or other tropical fruits, if desired.
- Yield: one cake, about 2 dozen servings.