Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cinco Leches Cake

My husband celebrated his birthday this past week and he always wants something unique for his birthday cake.  This year he decided tres leches was not enough, and that the magic number of leches was cinco.  So instead of the traditional three milks in a tres leches cake, I kicked it up a notch with two additional milks.  I also made the cake into a layer cake instead of the traditional pan size since I was trying to create a more impressive presentation.  The results were delicious and my husband has declared this to be one of his favorite cakes ever.
One happy hubby.
The inside of the cake.

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole milk
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups sugar

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 can (7 ounces) dulce de leche
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half

2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.  Line pans with parchment.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Heat the milk, butter, and vanilla together in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.  In a large bowl, whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar, about 1 minute. Continue to whip the mixture until very thick and voluminous, 4 to 8 minutes.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted butter mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in two additions, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and whip the batter until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

4. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter.  Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center coems out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

5.  While the cake is cooling, whisk all ingredients for the milk mixture in a large bowl.  Set aside.

6. Using a toothpick, poke about 50 holes in each warm cake - you do not need to poke all the way through. Slowly pour the milk mixture evenly over the three cakes. Let the cakes cool slightly at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate them until the milk mixture is completely absorbed and the cakes have cooled, about 3 hours.

7. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Beat the heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed to stiff peaks.

8. To assemble, soak each cake pan in a hot water bath for 30 seconds to help in the unmolding process.  Turn the first cake out onto a serving platter and top with a thin layer of the whipped cream frosting.  Repeat with the next two cake layers.  Then frost the sides and smooth out the top.  Decorate with maraschino cherries, if desired.