I was very dubious about making this cake. For years people have been telling me how delicious it is but somehow the thought of eating a cake that has been soaking in milk was just very off putting. I have never been a fan of very wet foods like that. I generally don’t like many condiments on my sandwiches and usually prefer my meats cooked dry so imagine the thought of eating this sopping wet cake. It also has the ring of those horrible Jello Poke Cakes that my mom used to make for us to snack on. I despise Jello and I totally hated those cakes with the pink and green sugary stripes in them. Totally disgusting. Well, this cake for some reason reminds me of those childhood nightmares. I decided it was time to throw in the towel and make this cake once and for all and see for myself what all the hubbub was about.
The cake is simple to put together. The eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt are combined and then heated over simmering water. I found it odd here that the recipe was so vague on temperature. On every other recipe we have made where things are heated or cooled Rose has been very specific with temperatures (to the point of distraction sometimes) and here all we get is heat the mixture until “quite hot”. Oh well, I have done this procedure many times before so I just proceeded on my own instinct. Once you have the mixture hot you beat it until almost tripled.
It becomes very thick and billowy and a beautiful light lemony yellow.
Then you simply fold in the sifted flour in two additions and scrape it into the pan and bake.
The recipe states the the cake will rise and dome in the center and form a crack. My cake didn’t dome in the center nor did it form a crack. Instead, mine was high on the edges and sunk in the center. Not a lot but it did sink in the center.
Maybe my “quite hot” wasn’t “quite hot” enough. I am really at a loss here as to why this happened as I followed the instructions to the letter and all looked good going into the oven. At any rate the cake was nice and high all around and was even (except for the sunken center) and it tested done so out of the oven it came. I unmolded it and reinverted it right side up and let it cool.
While the cake was cooling I went on to make the Tres Leches. Non-fat and whole milk plus sugar are boiled and reduced in half. Then sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream are added and the mixture cooled. When the cake is cooled it is wrapped in plastic wrap and put back into the baking pan to be soaked. The Tres Leches mixture is poured over the cake and then the cake is rewrapped in the plastic wrap and refrigerated. At this point I have to say I started to get very scared because this looked like an awful lot of liquid and I thought that this cake is really going to end up being mush and I was really thinking that this was totally gross.
After the cake has been soaked and left to refrigerate overnight it is unmolded and topped with a sweetened whipped cream mixture. I also dusted mine with some cocoa powder just for a little extra decoration.
The verdict: No one in my family was wowed by this cake. Everyone ate it but the closest thing I got to a compliment was “It’s okay”. I had some neighbors in for drinks on Saturday night and I served this cake to them and they all loved it. I guess this is one of those like or don’t like kind of things. As for me, I have to say that I really did not care for this cake. The cake itself was a bit too eggy for my taste and the Tres Leches really didn’t taste like anything but sweetened milk (I dont know why I expected something else being that all it is is sweetened milk). As I stated earlier, the wet cake concept really just put me off and I was forcing myself to chew and swallow it. The taste wasn’t all that bad but I just can’t get past the sopping wet cake concept. When I sliced it and it was sitting in all that milk my stomach did a little flip-flop. I just found it gross. All in all I doubt I will ever make this again and it is certainly not something I would order in a restaurant either.
So now I know what all the fuss is about and I know that it is certainly not for me. All in all I am glad that I finally got to make and sample this cake.
Next Up: Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake