Monday, 29 August 2016

Pinacolada Tres Leches Cake

Pinacolada Tres Leches Cake

''Birthday!'' squealed my three year old, "Who's birthday is it Granny?'' he asked. ''Mummys's'' she said. ''Mummy's birthday!, yay yay yay! Its Mummy's happpyyy bddddaaay, I will have cake!'' and everyone started laughing... and I thought to myself, ''Wow children are so simple in their ways, all they want is cake on a birthday be it theirs or anyone else's''. But then don't all of like a slice on that special day?

As I turn a year older today and hopefully turn a little wiser too, I cant help but reminisce of all my birthdays gone by over the years, how delightfully I looked forward to each and every one of them, In school I was eager to distribute sweets to my classmates, in college I was eager to catch a movie followed by fast food with my bff's, when I was working, our department would order a chocolate cake, then we would all go down to the meeting room, cut the cake and have a laugh or two...

Now as a full time mum, I'm more than happy to see the cheer on my sons face, just to see him excited that there is a birthday in the family and even more excited to have cake, is my biggest and best present. I really don't desire anything more...

I love making cakes, but that's no secret, this blog bears testament to that. I also never miss an opportunity (read birthday be it mine or family's) to whip up a cake with fresh seasonal produce and in case of the baby with fun fondant cake toppers. This year however I've constantly been under the weather and so avoided baking my own birthday cake. This however does not deter me from posting a lovely cake recipe here on the blog (If I can't make one, I can at least post a recipe and be glad).

The recipe today is a milk lovers delight, the Tres Leches Cake meaning three milks (in Spanish), is as stated a cake made from three milks, whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk.

Supremely popular with food bloggers the world over owing to its fool proof simplicity in making along with its divine creamy taste, this cake is a perfect dessert if you want impress guests. The best part is that you can make it a day ahead and allow it to soak up all the three milks as you rest it in the refrigerator.

My first taste of this cake when when a nearby eatery included this soft, spongy and boozy ''cloud" on their dessert menu, they had tinkled with the original recipe by spiking it with some whiskey and boy was is goooood! and that's when I made a mental note to myself that the next I'm required to make a dessert, this is going to be it.'

Last month as my better halve's cousins decided to pay us a visit, I started to assemble the required ingredients. Traditionally a piece of Tres Leches cake is decorated with a maraschino cherry, but as I searched heaven, hell and high seas I found none. No maraschino, no fresh cherries, no canned cherries not even candied cherries. All the canned tin aisle presented were cans of pineapple slices, I sadly picked up a tin and thought of incorporating it into the recipe.

If you read this space regularly you would know that I love combining pineapples with coconut milk, my Pinacolada Cake and Smoothie recipes bear testament to the same.

A bit of googling (this term must be included in the dictionary, its high time... don't you think?) confirmed that what I was thinking has indeed been done before and apparently by Latin American's themselves. (what a great thing to do with your granny's recipes I say!) so I read up a couple of recipes and as always gave my own spin to what people had already done.

Want to know how I made this beauty? then read on my friend...

You will need:
For the cake:
90 gms all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
3 large eggs, separated
100 gms granulated sugar
60 ml unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp rum (optional)
Few pineapple slices

For the Leches:
120 ml unsweetened coconut milk
60 ml sweetened condensed milk
60 ml whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp rum (optional)

For the frosting:
1 small packet of powdered whipping cream mix
Just enough milk (approx 1/2 cup) to whip up a thick, spreadable paste.
Pineapple wedges to garnish.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Generously grease a 7x7-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high speed with an electric whisk until thick and pale in color and falls in ribbons when you lift the whisk, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk, vanilla and rum.

Gently fold in the flour mixture.

In another mixing bowl (you can also transfer the batter to another bowl and clean the mixing bowl), beat the egg whites on medium high speed to soft peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter in 3 additions.

Stir in half of the pineapple pieces.

Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan.

Sprinkle the remaining pineapple on top of the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and the center bounces back when touched gently, about 30 minutes.

Let cool completely.

To make the leches:

Combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk.

Add the vanilla and rum.

Use a skewer or fork to poles holes in the cake, pressing them all the way down to the bottom.

Pour the leches mixture over the cake, careful to cover it all. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight (see Notes).

To make the topping:

Whip the powdered cream with cold milk until it starts to thicken and holds soft peaks.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake.

Top with the toasted coconut and slices of pineapple with a mint leaf for a beautiful colour contrast.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.


1. If desired, you can use canned crushed pineapple.

2. You can use sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut, per your preference.

3. If you do not have time to let the cake sit for 3 hours, you can pour only some of the leches mixture on top of the cake so there is less to be soaked up. The cake won't be as moist, but it will work.

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