Today’s recipe is one of Panama’s favorite. But if you google tres leches cake, you will see that many countries claim it as their own, so I’m not 100 % sure it can be called a Panamanian dessert. Despite that fact, it is very popular there and you can find it almost everywhere.
Looking into its origins, I found this interesting article; I think you may like.
The recipe is quite simple. All you need is a sponge cake, the three milks and either whipped cream or meringue. To make my version, I chose to use the Victoria Sponge recipe from Peggy Porschen’s Cake Chic and the Italian Meringue recipe from Martha Stewart site. The final result was wonderful. The cake was moist and soft, not too sweet and it went perfectly with the berries on top.
- One sponge cake
- Italian Meringue
- 1 small can condensed milk (14 fl oz. approx.)
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can heavy cream
- Ground cinnamon
- 200 g salted butter, softened
- 200 g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 200 g self-rising flour
- The seeds of one vanilla pod
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350 ºF)
Place butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and, using the paddle attachment, cream together until pale and fluffy.
Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly add to the mix, while paddling on medium speed. If the mixture stars curdling, add a little bit of flour.
Once the eggs and the butter mixture are combined, mix in the flour at low speed.
Line a baking tin (here I used an 8 inch round pan). Spread the dough evenly into the tin using a palette knife. As sponge cake always raises more in the center, spread it slightly higher around the edge.
Bake for 30-45 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it springs back to the touch and the sides are coming away from the tin. The tip of a thin knife inserted into the center, should come out clean.
Once the sponge is baked, let it rest for 15 minutes.
Tres Leches Sauce
Turn the cake onto a rimmed platter, prick the top of the sponge with a wooden skewer or a fork and soak it with the milk mixture while the sponge is still warm. You can use a pastry brush to help you reach everywhere. And it’s a good idea to save a cup or so of the mixture for later.
Allow the cake to sit for 12 hours or overnight in the fridge. After that time, we can make the meringue to spread on top.
Some people like to use whipped cream and that’s ok too. But I like idea of the meringue.
Basic Italian Meringue
This Italian Meringue is to die for. And you can bake it to make small meringue cookies with the leftover: 1 ½ -1 3/4 hours at 200 ºF.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of salt and cream of tartar
Bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until syrup reaches a firm ball stage (10-15 min. 245-250 ºF on a candy thermometer – 118 to 121 ºC-).
Meanwhile, whisk whites with a mixer on low speed until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium, and whisk until soft peaks form, about 8 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and pour hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high, and beat until mixture stops steaming, about 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Coat the cake with this meringue, sprinkle with a bit of ground cinnamon and add some fruit to add some acidity to it.
Serve accompanied with the reserved tres leches sauce, in case someone wants to add more.
There you go! A Peggy Porschen-Martha Stewart-Bluejellybeans version of a classic.
I hope you like it!