Pastel de tres leches, or tres leches cake, is a plain sponge cake traditionally soaked in a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk. With just the right amount of milk syrup, the cake doesn't become soggy: instead it's light, wonderfully moist without being sodden and not too sweet.
I last made one- albeit accidentally- while visiting my friend Vicky in Berlin, resulting in a haphazard but utterly wonderful creation we named a 'treslechesblaubeerrosemarmeladehaselnusssahnekuchen' (tres leches blueberry rose jam hazelnut cream cake). I decided to make a tres leches cake on purpose today, keeping the idea of using blueberries, and I added coconut milk instead of regular to the soaking syrup for a slightly tropical spin (since summer's finally arrived and it's over 30 degrees C outside, at the moment).
The sponge is also a true sponge, with no butter or oil: it makes for a really light, fluffy cake- but it also dries out fast. However, this characteristic happens to make it perfect for soaking up syrup to keep it moist, and it's the spongy texture of this cake that stops it from becoming mushy.
Ingredients for Sponge Cake:
-4 eggs, separated
-150g caster sugar
-150g self-raising flour, sifted
Ingredients for Tres Leches Syrup:
-150ml condensed milk
-150ml evaporated milk
-150ml coconut milk
Ingredients for Filling, Frosting and Topping:
-300ml whipping cream
-A couple of handfuls of fresh blueberries
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line and grease a deep 7" wide spring form cake tin
2) In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form a stiff white foam, and thoroughly beat in half the sugar to create a meringue.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and other half of the sugar together until pale and fluffy.
4) With a spatula, gently fold the fluffy egg yolks into the egg whites, followed by the flour (don't over mix: stop folding as soon as everything is well-combined).
5) Pour into the tin and bake for 25-35mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
6) Take the cake out of the oven and invert on a baking parchment-lined cooling rack to cool for five minutes.
7) To make the syrup, simply lightly whisk the three milks together.
8) While the cake's still hot, remove it from the tin and slice it into three equal layers, placing each on a separate plate.
9) Carefully and evenly spoon the syrup over the three slices of cake, trying to use the same amount for each slice. Cover with cling film and leave to cool, putting them in the fridge for half an hour when cool enough (this gives them a chance to absorb all of the liquid to the centre).
10) Whisk the whipping cream until spreadable and firm. Take the cakes out of the fridge and sandwich them with as much blueberry jam as you like, leaving the very top of the last layer clean. Spread the cream over the top and sides, pipe pretty patterns with the remaining cream and scatter your fresh blueberries on top.
11) Put back in the fridge to let the cream set a little, and serve!