Tres Leches Cake with Whipped Strawberry Curd
Tres leches cake is a light, airy sponge cake soaked with, you guessed it, tres leches (or 3 milks). It's a popular Mexican treat that is sure to delight your tastebuds. I added a lightly-sweetened fresh strawberry curd with whipped cream, and blueberries and strawberries to top it off. I made mine for the 4th of July (red, white and blue!), but you can add any toppings you like, or go simple with a little sprinkle of cinnamon. I made a 2-layer cake but you can do one or as many as you like!
Here's how to make it:
For the cake:
1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP fine sea salt
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
For the syrup:
12 oz. evaporated milk
9 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
For the strawberry curd:
8 oz fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into quarters
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (you can add up to 1/4 cup more if your strawberries aren't very sweet)
1 TBS cornstarch
3 TBS lemon juice
1/8 TSP fine sea salt
For the frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream (regular heavy cream works too!)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Blueberries and strawberries (sliced) to garnish
Make the curd (do this first so it has time to cool and set):
Put the strawberries into a medium saucepan, cover and let cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes.
Using a potato masher or large fork, break up the strawberries and cook for another 2 minutes until it has a soupy consistency.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until the mixture is smooth and has lightened in color.
Add the cornstarch and lemon juice to the egg mixture and stir until combined.
Add 1 cup of the hot strawberries to the egg mixture (this tempers the eggs).
Stir constantly as you add the strawberries, being careful not to cook the eggs.
Add the egg/strawberry mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining strawberries and constantly stir with a silicon spatula for about 5 minutes over medium -low heat.
Increase the heat to medium and and stir until the mixture starts to boil.
Let it boil for 1 minute while stirring - the curd should be nice and thick.
Pour it into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to touch the top of the curd with the film so it doesn't form a film on top.
Refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 2 hours.
Make the cakes:
Preheat your oven to 350° F and use baking spray or butter and flour to grease two 9" cake pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a medium bowl and the yolks into a large bowl.
Add 3/4 cup sugar to the egg yolks.
Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed, until yolks are a pale yellow, about 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the whole milk and vanilla extract to the yolks.
Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high speed until the egg whites are stiff.
Pour the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture and gently combine the two with a spatula.
Gently fold in the egg white mixture with a spatula until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread to even out the surface. Gently drop the pans onto the counter a few times to get rid of any bubbles in the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool on a wire cooling rack.
Make the tres leches syrup:
In a large pyrex measuring cup (or a bowl with a pouring lip), stir the heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk until well combined.
Make the Whipped Cream Frosting:
Tip: Put a large glass bowl and the whisk attachments from your mixer in the freezer about 15 minutes before you make this - the frosting whips better and more consistently when cold.
Pour the heavy whipping cream and 2 TBS sugar into a large chilled mixing bowl and beat on high for 2-3 minutes or until thick and whipped.
Take about a cup of the whipped cream and put in a bowl.
Add the strawberry curd to it and mix until well combined. Set both aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Assemble the cake:
Place one of the cake layers, flat side down, on a cake platter (I like to use a spinning platter - easier to frost).
Using a fork, poke holes all through the cake, going to the edges and be sure to push the fork through to the bottom.
Use a spoon to pour half of the tres leches mixture over the cake, a small amount at a time, ensuring it's fully covered. The liquid will soak into the cake.
Let the cake sit for about 15 minutes to absorb the liquid.
Add the whipped strawberry curd to the top of the first cake layer, ensuring it's spread evenly. I use a frosting spatula.
Put the second cake flat side up and poke holes similar to the first cake.
Place it on top of the first cake layer, then pour the remaining tres leches syrup over it, letting it all soak in.
Let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb.
Frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream using a frosting spatula if you have one.
Top the cake with berries, refrigerate until you're ready to serve, and enjoy!
Did you make it? Share pics in the comments!