There's nothing fit about this dessert, I know, but I decided to enter a competition by Bravo for a chance to win a kitchen makeover. Wish me luck!
To see the full recipe, click the "Read More" link under the picture.
makes 16 cakes
For the cake:
1 c unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
3 c all-purpose flour
2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ c whole milk
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
For the cuatro leches:
1 - 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 12oz can evaporated milk
12 oz whole milk, plus extra for dulce de leche topping
1 - 14oz can dulce de leche
For the strawberries:
1 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp fresh orange zest
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
¾ c granulated sugar
To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one by one, until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in thirds, alternating with splashes of milk. Do not over mix. Stop the mixer to scrape the edges of the bowl, digging all the way down to the bottom. Mix another 10 seconds.
5. Evenly pour the batter into two greased 8-mini loaf pans, filling each one until there is a ¾-inch space at the top.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into a cake comes out clean. The cake should be more on the overdone side, therefore a bit more dry than usual and a little browned around the edges, so that it stands up to the leches.
7. Remove the pans from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before transferring the cakes to a cooling rack.
8. When the cakes are cooled, carefully cut off the tops with a pairing knife. Do this on a slight angle so you create a small dent in the bottom half. Carefully remove some of the excess cake from the top.
9. Line each mold in the loaf pans with cling wrap and place the cakes back into the pan.
10.Pour the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk in a blender, and blend until well combined.
11.One by one, remove the tops of the cakes and gently poke holes with a fork in the cakes. This will help the milk seep into the cakes faster.
12.Transfer some of the milk mixture into a liquid measuring cup so it’s easier to control. Pour 1-2 tbsp of milk in the first cake. When the milk is absorbed, pour another tablespoon and immediately place the top back on the cake so it absorbs some of the milk as well. Repeat with the rest of the cakes. You’ll have milk left over – start with the first cake again, pouring another tablespoon or so over each one.
13.Cover the pans with cling wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
1. Rinse and dry the strawberries, then cut them into ¼-inch slices.
2. Add the granulated sugar and orange zest. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.
To make the meringue:
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature. Add them to the mixing bowl and start beating them on high until the whites become frothy.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer 1/3 cup of the meringue to the parchment paper and spread evenly into a thin layer, using the back of a small spoon, until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Bake the meringue until crispy, but still light in color and chewy inside, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
5. Break the meringue into small pieces and set aside.
1. Remove the pans from the refrigerator. Gently remove one cake from the pan, helping yourself with the cling wrap, and place the cake on the serving dish.
2. Remove the top of the cake and set aside. Spread a thick layer of the unbaked meringue, about 2-3 tbsp on top of the cake. Top with an even layer of strawberries, using a slotted spoon to drain the berries. Then top with baked meringue crumbles. Gently place the top of the cake over the layers.
3. Add the dulce de leche to a microwavable bowl. Heat for 15-20 seconds, until smoother. If the dulce de leche isn’t runny, mix in some milk, little by little, until it reaches a smooth consistency. Drizzle the top of the cake with the warm dulce de leche and serve immediately.
Note: to make this a tres leches cake, simply omit the dulce de leche topping.