Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tortas de las Tres Leches

Eat your heart out ShamWow!  There is a new super-absorbent material on the block -- Biscuit de Savoie!  This cake is amazing and the next time I have a disastrous spill in the kitchen, I can pull my 1st attempt out of the freezer to the rescue.  That sort of sums up my relationship with sponge cakes. 

This cake is pretty simple, as far as Rose's cakes go.  Compared to the Lemon Luxury cake it's a breeze, but I suppose if it's compared to a box cake, there are a few more steps.  TCB has been a huge inspiration for most of my cake baking adventures and I've come to appreciate all of the detail Rose provides in her recipes -- in particular, the finished height measurements.  That is my one complaint about RHC and I will further explain. 

As mentioned, I have issues with sponge cakes and have a knack for ruining them.  This cake looked deceivingly easy to prepare -- there is the rub!  I follow directions to the letter (or so I think!).  On my first attempt at the Biscuit, I did all of the key steps -- heat eggs/sugar/salt/vanilla, beat for 5 min., sift once sifted flour over mixture, fold gently until almost all of the flour is incorporated, fold remaining twice sifted flour into the mixture until no flour remains.  I've watched the "folding" techniques videos and even own the giant Matfer whisk...nothing helps.  Now, I'm not talking a huge disaster here, the cake goes into my once used Magic Line 9 x 3" removable bottom cheesecake pan (coated with BJ and lined with a parchment round).  I use a DOT 2 oven thermometer, and baked on the appropriate rack.

The batter did not fill the pan to even half full.  I suspect that's not a good thing.  But I had no option but to see what happens and perhaps learn from this somehow.  According to the directions, the cake sides should rise up to the top of the pan and the centre should be slightly domed during baking.  As I fear, the cake never reaches more than 2.5" in height during baking and as the timer loses seconds, I am as deflated as my cake.  Also, the cake bottom is as pale as my Canadian butt, inspite of being fully baked (it pulled away from the sides of the pan and did not dip upon cooling).  Where do I go wrong?

I take a sacrificial slice to inspect the cake.  It's slightly denser at the bottom -- perhaps inadequate folding -- or too low of a temperature?

Trial #2 -- I opted for using my not so balloony whisk, but really sparse whisk that sails through most batters because it only has 6 or 8 tines.  I noticed very little reduction in the egg volume until I added the second addition of flour.  It went from about 2/3 of the bowl to 1/2 half of the bowl.  Should this be happening?  I also opted to use the next lowest rack to perhaps brown the cake more on the bottom. 

In the end, the 2nd attempt was slightly better, but still nowhere near the 2.65" in height I deduced from the photo in RHC.  I decided to carry on with the cake as I had invited my running friends over for cake and running, so I needed to serve something! 

I prepared the milk reduction using my microwave as I couldn't be watching the stove and it took around 45 minutes or so to reduce to 2 1/2 cups.  The skins that formed were fascinating and I could only think of how they could be used for paper or something like that!  I added the cream and s.c. milk and poured it onto my specially wrapped cake (note:  it is in a 2.5" pan -- I didn't want to use the loose bottomed pan for this).  I could not believe that 4+ cups of liquid were soaked up by this cake.

Here's the final product with some of the caramel sauce left over (in the worries) from the Pumpkin Cheesecake. 

See how short it is...

This is one of the most refreshing cakes I have tasted.  The cool wetness of the cake demands that it be served on a hot summer's evening -- but I too enjoyed it in my balmy winter temperatures of 0C -- really it was so nice to go running in temperatures above    -20C!  However, the texture was less airy than it could have been with the added height.  The carmel milkiness is divine and definitely cake I must learn to master. 


  1. Wow! Im impressed! You measured your cake! Did i miss reading something ..are we suppose to measure our cakes? Now you got me curious! I've never thought of measuring before. Maybe next time i should try. :)

    You cake looks great to me..i didn't see any density at any part of the slice of cake on the photo!

    Such great idea to reduce the milk in microwave!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the cake; your descriptions are so funny; I wish we could bake together! (I guess we are in a virtual way!) Great idea adding the caramel sauce.

  3. Pale Canadian butt - hahahahahahaha!

    I can't wait to try this cake - the way you described enjoying a cold wet slice on a hot summer evening... HEAVEN!


  4. Sherrie - beautiful cake. Love the swirly decorations. I can't believe you baked this cake twice! I never measured cake's height before. Also, I love what you said about the skin on the milk. It was thick and papery indeed!

  5. It looks so lovely with the caramel and I can imagine it sets off the milk flavors perfectly.

  6. I think both cakes looked fantastic. Mine never went about 2.5 inches either, but I thought that was okay.

    Fab idea about pairing it with caramel.

  7. I'm also working on my sponge cake technique--that's one of the things I like best about the weekly "cake assignment", as I would never have selected this many sponge cakes in a short period. I'm beginning to feel like I have a handle on them....sometimes. Keep on beating those eggs, and surely your sponges keep getting better!


For Heavenly Cakes Sake