About a year ago, I was in a miserable state (remember this or this?). Fairygodmother and I were both at our all-time lows, having been forced into the most depraved depths of human emotion. I’ve been told that things always look better in retrospect – I dare say otherwise. In retrospect, I was a lonely girl too easily preyed on by sweet words and smiles the deceptive world had to offer. Naïve, vulnerable, easy to forget, willing to overlook those faults that in the end would drive me to the brink of insanity. In retrospect, I guess – you really don’t know you’re being mistreated until someone treats you better.
And nearly a full year later, I can come to terms with all of it. All that self-doubt and self-loathe have been vanquished, and I came out better for it. A little older, a little smarter, a little bit wiser – and inadvertently, a little bit more cautious. Heading out to New York City this fall means that I have to officially close the covers to those dusty books; tuck them into the far corner of the book shelf or perhaps box them away in the attic of my mind, to be forgotten forever. I have so much more to look forward to right now – someone genuine; someone who cares about and understands my dreams and aspirations; someone who is proud of me, and someone I am proud of. And besides, he actually appreciates my cooking.
Right now, I am preparing for my departure by maximizing time with my closest friends and family. And being me, a lot of that time involves eating – like this homemade Coconut Tres Leches Cake!
Coconut Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from: Pioneer Woman
The Pioneer Woman recipe is a great place to start for a basic Tres Leches Cake. “Tres Leches” in Spanish translates to mean 3 milks – as in, there are 3 types of milk used in this cake (technically 4, but who’s counting…). Once baked, the cake is soaked in a thick milky mixture, and the product is beautifully rich, moist, and decidedly different. I made drastic modifications to the recipe, which (in my humble opinion) resulted in a much more satisfying cake. I do not like my Tres Leches too soggy, and so am stingy with the milk mixture. However, that is completely up to you. Pioneer Woman says this recipe yields 1-13″x9″ rectangle, but because there is so much leftover milk, I doubled the cake recipe and made 4- 8″ round cakes, using up all the milk. The recipe below yields 2-8″ round cakes, with extra milk leftover.
1 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 packet coconut milk powder*
1/3 c whole milk
1 (14 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 tbs granulated sugar
2 c toasted sweetened flaked coconut [for garnish]
*Available at most grocery stores in the Asian food section. May be substituted with canned coconut milk, but remember to adjust other liquids accordingly.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Liberally spray 2 8″ spring-form pans with PAM until fully coated.
In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Separate eggs into 2 large bowls.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until pale yellow. Mix in whole milk and 2-3 tbs coconut milk powder. Slowly add flour mixture to egg yolk mixture, and gently whisk until combined.
Beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff white peaks form.
Fold egg white mixture into batter gently and with minimal folding until just combined. You do not want to deflate the cake. Divide and pour batter into the 2 prepared pans. Rap the pans a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. In this case (and only this case), it is better to err on the side of overbaked, as the milk mixture will compensate for any dryness in the cake. Remove cake pans from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from springform pan and allow to cool completely. Use a fork to pierce cake surface several times, especially the edges.
Meanwhile, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. Dissolve 1/4 cup coconut milk powder in milk. Slowly drizzly 1/2 of the milk mixture onto the cake, allowing the cake to absorb all the liquid. Try to get the edges as much as you can. Allow cake to absorb milk mixture until no longer visible on surface or plate. Save the remaining milk mixture for your 2nd batch of cake 😀
Meanwhile, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tbs sugar until think and spreadable. Spread over the cake surface. Fridge for 30 minutes. Top with toasted coconut, and enjoy immediately. Depending on how much liquid you infuse into the cake, the cake should be consumed immediately. The cake can keep longer in the fridge if there is less liquid. It falls apart after a few days though…
So, I am not bragging when I say that this cake is AMAZING. It is by far the EASIEST and BEST cake I have ever made. The soft cake, the fragrant coconut, the mildly sweet and cool whipped cream, the added crunch and texture from the toasted flakes – absolutely delicious. My uncle scarfed down half a cake in one sitting. My mom couldn’t stop nibbling on the toasted coconut dipped in the whipped cream. And even Nancy – who is seriously lactose intolerant – managed to take a bite. It is really that good and you must give this recipe a try. Or better yet, make your own alterations and let’s hear about them!
Anyway, this is my final goodbye to an ugly past. Au revoir undeserving ghost, and hello new life!