This classic South American cake soaked in milk makes for a wonderfully comforting, trifle-like dessert – from Edd Kimber’s new book, One Tin Bakes
IMAGE: EDD KIMBER
Tres leches (three milk), is a classic cake from South America. The sponge, or sometimes butter cake, is soaked in a mix of three milks, usually sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk or cream. The soaked sponge, topped with whipped cream, is pure comfort, and it reminds me a little of trifle in texture. The original is close to perfect, but I wanted to make something with a few favourite flavours – passion fruit, lime and coconut plus, if you’re in the mood, a splash or two of rum.
Every recipe in this book is baked in just one tin, a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) cake tin (commonly used for brownies). Depth is crucial; you will need a version of the tin that is at least 5cm (2in) deep.
Passion Fruit and Lime Tres Leches Cake
- unsalted butter or neutral-tasting oil for greasing
For the sponge cake
- 30 g 1oz/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 30 ml 1fl oz/1/8 cup whole milk
- 5 large eggs
- 185 g 6 ½ oz/ ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
- 185 g 6 ½ oz/1 ½ cups self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- finely grated zest of 2 limes
For the soak
- 120 ml 4fl oz/½ cup whole milk finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 397 g 14oz can condensed milk
- 240 ml 8½fl oz/1 cup light coconut milk
- 60 ml 2¼fl oz/¼ cup dark rum (optional)
- 160 ml 5½fl oz/⅔ cup passion fruit purée
For the topping
- 600 ml 20fl oz/2½ cups double (heavy) cream
- finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon caster superfine sugar
- pulp from 3 passion fruit
- 30 g 1oz/⅓ cup toasted coconut flakes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the baking tin, then line with a large piece of parchment paper so that the excess goes up the sides.
- To make the cake, first heat the butter and milk together, just until the butter has melted, then add the lime zest and set aside. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, whisk on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, or until tripled in volume. When the whisk is lifted from the bowl the batter should leave a slowly dissolving ribbon on the surface.
- Sift together the flour and salt, then in three additions, sift this over the egg mixture, folding together gently until the flour is incorporated, keeping the mixture as light as possible. Mix a large spoonful into the melted butter mixture, then add it to the remaining batter, gently folding together.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin and gently level out. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springs back to a gentle touch. Set aside to cool in the tin for 30 minutes while you make the soak.
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan and warm slightly (don’t bring it to a simmer), then remove from the heat, add the lime zest and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Whisk in the condensed milk, coconut milk and rum (if using).
- Use a skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake and then pour over the passion fruit purée. Once this has sat for a couple of minutes, slowly pour over the milk and lime mixture, then set aside until the milk has been fully absorbed. You don’t mix the passion fruit purée into the milk mixture because it can thicken the milk, meaning it won’t absorb into
- the cake in the same way. Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- For the topping, whip the cream, zest of 1 lime and the sugar together in a bowl until just holding soft peaks. Spread the cream over the chilled cake and then top with the passion fruit pulp, flaked coconut and remaining lime zest. Cut into portions and serve.
- Store, covered, in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
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