Tres leches cake, one of the all-time Mexican favorite desserts, is so named because it is made with three kinds of milk. Sweetened condensed milk has been around since the 1800s, when it was developed as a way of preserving milk, so this is not necessarily a modern recipe. This cake is usually made as a sheet cake in Mexican bakeries, and sold by weight.
The cake is said to have originated in Sonora, which makes sense given its importance as a cattle-raising region. Rompope gives this recipe a holiday twist and provides yet another reason to diet once the festivities are over.
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the rompope syrup:
- 1 ½ cups rompope, either homemade or purchased
- 1cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
For the frosting:
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease and flour a 9″x13″ baking pan.
Sift the flour and baking powder together. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Place the cake pan on a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a large, deep platter. (See NOTE, below.) Using a wooden skewer, make evenly spaced holes in the cake, about ½ ” apart, piercing down to the bottom of the cake.
For the rompope syrup, combine the rompope, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Pour this over the cake so that it runs into the holes and soaks the cake. This is best done by pouring about 1/3 of the rompope mixture on the cake, pressing lightly with a spatula to push the liquid down, and repeating with the next 1/3, then the last 1/3 of the mixture.
Refrigerate the cake until serving time; this cake is served chilled. When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form, then spread over the cake. Decorate with berries, sliced peaches or mangos, chopped nuts or shaved chocolate.
NOTE: If you do not have a large enough platter, you can cover a heavy piece of cardboard with foil and use it for the base. Any run-off from the rompope mixture can then be easily wiped off.
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Rompope: Mexico’s holiday season beverage