Temptation on a Plate

By all appearances, this yellow cake with white frosting seems mundane. But she is a temptress in disguise. How I missed running into her for nearly sixty years is unfathomable. And yet, in the course of this one week, she and I would meet up not once, not twice but tres times. Yes, Tres Leche cake is a most extraordinary dessert. Many have tried to lay their claim to her. Morelia, Mexico, Nicaragua and even Nestle Company have taken credit for her success. It matters not. What is important is that this simple cake is simply an amazing slice of heaven on earth.

She is sponge cake; and yet so so much more. Many have wanted to compare Tres Leche to a rum cake or tiramisu. Others have tried to label it an ice cream cake.  Even Haagen-Dasz ice cream  is said to have gotten into the act with a variation of the cake in the ice cream form.

At first bite, this is very much a springy, dense sponge cake. But once the cake is removed from the oven magic goes into the dessert. I understand you use a fork to poke holes all over the cooled cake. Then, after mixing together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and then heavy cream you pour this mixture over the cake. You can just imagine that thick, sweet juice seeping into all the cracks and holes of the cake.

The dessert in transformed once again after it is refrigerated. Fork, mouth, cold, sweet, ahhh-mazing.

As I have mentioned my Tres Leche discovery, people have shared many variations on this theme: the pastel borracho or the drunken cake soaked with rum or brandy; coconut milk for a Carribean flair, and not to be outdone the Americans (actually credit is given toTexans and Floridians) who have created cuarto leches adding cajeta to this masterpiece.

Calling all cooks and Cubans: If you have your own recipe or more importantly a Tres Leche story, wont you please share?


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