Tres Leches Cake – Holy Trinity of Milk

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Tres Leches Cake ! 

Hello my non-existing readers.

Ever since I watched Buzzfeed’s WORTH IT series on the episode where they compare three cakes from three different places at extremely different price points, I got seriously attracted to this cake called “Milk & Berries” from Porto Bakery.

They say that the cake is basically a Tres Leches Cake served as a layered cake with whipped cream and generous piles of berries. So an intense research on that particular subject was on for a good two weeks.

Tres Leches, which translates to ‘three milk’ is a well-loved cake in South America and its surroundings. The holy trinity of milk – which includes your everyday full cream milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk – are mixed and then poured over a spongecake, creating an out-of-this world moist and tender cake. Personally, I have never tried this cake anywhere before but the idea of having a cake so fluffy, moist and so-very deliciously vanilla is just up my alley.

There are plenty of Tres Leches cake recipes ’round the world wide web, it was overwhelming. So I decided to combine recipes from my favourite Mexican cuisine connoisseur, Chef Rick Bayless, and the lovely Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond (whom I aspire to be). It was a gamble – but heck yea it was worth it!


Tres Leches Cake
adapted from Rick Bayless’ “Coffee Infused Tres Leches Cake” & The Pioneer Woman’s “Tres Leches Cake”
yields 9×13 inch cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs (room temp, separated)
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tbsp icing sugar
Maraschino cherries for garnish

Tres Leches mixture
1 cup milk
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup condensed milk

1 . Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C . Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (optional) until it reaches a stiff consistency (but not dry!). Transfer beaten egg whites into a smaller bowl, set aside.
4. Back to the standing mixer bowl, add in the yolks and sugar, beat until pale and thick. Add in vanilla extract & water – mix well.
5. Sieve all the dry ingredients into the yolk mixture and mix well.
6. With a spatula, fold in the egg whites in small amounts – folding well after each addition until just combined (do not overmix).
7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (poke the middle of the cake with a toothpick at 25 minutes mark, if it comes out clean, it’s done). Let the cake cool down to room temperature.

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Use a fork to poke holes onto your cake (or if you have time to kill like me, use a skewer to make individual holes for no apparent reason! – hey, it’s therapeutic! )

8. When the cake is slightly cool, using a fork, poke holes onto the cake – make sure that the cake is thoroughly poked to make it easier for the milk to sink in later. Set aside and let it cool for 10-20 more minutes.
9. While waiting for the cake to cool down, mix the milk, evaporated milk & condensed milk together. Set aside.


10. When the cake has cooled to the touch, pour the tres leches mixture over the cake. Distribute the mixture to all parts of the cake to make sure they are equally soaked. Let it sit for min. 3 hours to overnight (best).

11. To serve, whip the cream and icing sugar until thick and spread on top of the cake. Garnish with maraschino cherries on top.

 


I decided to half the amount of condensed milk to make it less sweet than the original recipes because American recipes can get waaay too sweet for my taste but you can still taste the yummy condensed milk throughout the cake!

You will find other recipes that don’t require you to separate the eggs and even use butter; however, I think this kind of cake need a more airy spongecake – not a dense one,so using the separated egg method and little fat is the way to go.

All and all, this.cake.was. BOMB.
I personally LOVE this cake. It has a lovely milky taste, bouncy, tender texture and perfectly moist. No soggy business around here, because the amount of liquid used to soak the cake is spot on – not too little and not too much.
My parents and co-workers also gave great review for this cake / My cake received positive reviews from my parents and co-workers. I guess I’ll be making more in the future!

 

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No Bake Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit Topping

I was going to cook something on Sunday but something very unfortunate happened and I lost all my desire to cook that day. Someone broke into our house early in the morning and stole the TV in our living room, while my mom, dad and I were upstairs – we’re all up at that time but we were still in our room. Thank God nothing else was stolen and we’re still safe. To all my friends out there, please be safe. Always lock your gate, doors and windows when you go out. Heck, lock them all when you’re at home too. Just for safety measure.

Despite not having the desire to cook on Sunday, I did pull myself up from bed and made a cake for a friend at work for his birthday. I was going to make a baked cheesecake, but was too lazy to use the oven. It was hot on Sunday, very hot. I just want to make something that doesn’t require me to go near a hot oven.

I dug up my old blog and found an old recipe of a no-bake cheesecake that I made back in Melbourne. After trying to remember how it tasted back then, I remember that the old recipe was delicious, but was (in my opinion) still a bit too dense for a no-bake cheesecake. Another problem is that it uses agar-agar and I didn’t have any at home and I didn’t know where the hell is my gelatin powder. So I tweaked the recipe and came up with something new. I was so nervous that it wont hold its shape but it does ! It cuts beautifully and tastes really nice and light. Really refreshing with some fresh fruit on top too. Oh, make sure that you make it one day in advance because it needs some time to firm up in the fridge and I suggest overnight refrigeration for best result!

No Bake Cheese Cake with Fresh Fruit Topping

Yields 22 cm round springform pan

Ingredients:

  • 260 gr graham crackers
  • 120 gr butter, melted
  • 1/2 (around 2-3 gr) tsp salt
  • 20 gr granulated sugar
  • 625 gr full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 400 ml whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110 gr icing sugar
  • 2 pcs green kiwis, peeled and cut into half rounds
  • 1 pack of fresh strawberries, stem removed and cut thinly
  1. To make the crust :
    • Butter the bottom of a 22 cm round spring form pan and line the inside rim with acetate cake wrap
    • In a food processor, process the graham crackers, salt and granulated sugar until fine.
    • Pour in the melted butter and process once more until the graham cracker crumbs has a wet sand consistency.
    • Pour all the cookie crumbs into the pan. Press and flatten it down firmly to form the base. Chill for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.
  2. To make the filling :
    • In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese, lemon, vanilla extract and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides to ensure all the cream cheese is well incorporated. Set aside
    • In a different bowl, whip up the whipping cream until it reaches stiff peak.
    • Fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula. Fold in some at the beginning to lighten the mixture and then add the rest and fold gently until well mixed.
  3. Pour in the filling on top of the chilled cookie base. Flatten the top with an offset spatula smooth. Chill overnight for maximum setting time (or at least 5 hours)
  4. Arrange some fresh fruits on top on the day it’s served.

This cake was a huge hit at work. Everyone seems to like it, some even go for seconds! My friends (and bosses) said the cake was smooth, refreshing, light and has a good amount of sweetness, not too sweet and not too tart. You can go and have fun with the topping. I seriously want to try to top this cake with some cubed mangoes, orange segments, yum !

I guess I’l be making more of these in the future !
**Sorry for the ghastly photos. I forgot to bring a good camera with me -_-‘

 

Yoyo’s Salmon and Spinach Farfalle

On my last trip to Melbourne in late 2015, my mom and I stayed at my brother’s house where he lives with his wife and their 3 year old son. They live around the area where I lived back during my uni days. My brother work full time and my sister in law work 3 days a week and on her free time, she usually stays home to take care of my cheeky nephew.

Let’s talk about my sister in law. We went to the exact same all girls Catholic high school so despite the big age gap between us, we kind of share the same mindset and opinion toward certain things. But I’m the goofier one of course – by far. I’m not sure if she has always been into cooking or not but she does all the cooking at home. It’s fun to see her always looking for dishes that taste good yet stupidly simple to put together, because like the rest of us, she can’t be bothered with the dirty dishes and long cooking time.

One of my mom’s favourite dishes that my sister in law made was her creamy salmon and spinach pasta. This dish contains everything that my mom loves; pasta, cream and salmon. She would definitely eat this for DAYS – if calorie intake is a myth – which is sadly not. So here’s Yoyo’s (my sister in law) Salmon and Spinach Farfalle !

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Yoyo’s Smoked Salmon & Spinach Farfalle
Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups farfalle / bowtie pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small brown onion / 1/2 large brown onion
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups (around 250 gr) smoked salmon
  • 1 cup cooking cream
  • 1 large lemon wedge
  • 5 pcs cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • cooking oil
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water and set the cooking time according to the instruction on its packaging.
  2. While the pasta is cooking away, we are going to prep these things:
    • Garlic : peel & chop finely
    • Brown onion : peel and dice
    • Smoked salmon : shred with hands
  3. When the pasta’s cooked, reserve one cup of the pasta water then drain the pasta through a colander. Set aside.
  4. In the same large pot used to cook the pasta before, add a drizzle of oil and saute the garlic, onion until they turn translucent and fragrant.
  5. Add in the smoked salmon and spinach. Cook until the spinach are all wilted.
  6. Pour in the cream and stir.
  7. Add in the cooked farfalle pasta and stir well to coat all the pasta with the sauce. Add a dash of the pasta water to loosen up the sauce.
  8. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
  9. When everything is well combined ,turn on the stove. Squeeze a large wedge of lemon on top and stir well.
  10. Garnish with cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters), serve immediately.

** I think baby spinach can be replaced with broccoli. Just cut them into small florets, boil them separately and toss it in at the end. 

This recipe is super simple and tasted delicious. Creamy, but with the addition of the lemon at the end, it gives the dish a lighter taste. My mom ate two portions in one go (I told you she loves this thing). And do you realise that I only use one pot for this recipe? I got to give myself a pat on my back for being efficient.

Back in Melbourne, my sister in law cook a big batch of this recipe and then just leave it in the pot covered and this pasta still taste good hours later and even the next morning. If you live in a more humid area such as Jakarta, I think it’s best to keep the leftover in a container inside the fridge. Oh, and the reason why I didn’t incorporate the tomatoes from the start and use it as a garnish instead is because ; dishes that use fresh tomatoes goes bad faster, so if you’re planning to keep your food for more than one day, you might want to skip the tomatoes (mom’s kitchen tips #1)

This recipe is perfect for busy moms like my sister in law (who needs a quick and easy pasta dish in their repertoire that they can whip up for the whole family), lazybum like myself / younger college kid version of me (who need a simple recipe that can be made for breakfast, lunch and dinner but with minimum numbers of dirty dishes + effort) and of course creamy pasta loving individuals (yes mom. I’m talking to you.)

 

Hope you guys give this recipe a go and tell me how it goes !

 

‘Kanpai’ Chicken Teppanyaki with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Hello everyone!

As you guys know, I’m switching my blogging platform to WordPress now.
It is quiet a daunting for me because I am totally new with all the dashboard layout, settings and configurations. However, I am planning to officially start my blog fresh from the beginning and I am highly motivated to post more regularly. Since I am now working full time, I’m going to make a more reasonable expectation out of myself when it comes to my blogging schedule. I say once a week would be good place to start, isn’t it?

Since I am still attached to my old blog, I might transfer some of my recipes to this new platform so that the they can be put on the alphabetical recipe list I have made for this blog. So it’s going to be much more easier and organized). So here’s my version of homemade Kanpai Chicken Teppanyaki with Creamy Garlic Sauce (oh, I’ve tweaked it a little bit from the last one)

Chicken Teppanyaki with Creamy Garlic Sauce (Kanpai Inspired)
Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 pcs chicken breast, cut into small strips
  • 2 cups white mushroom, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 cup thickened / cooking cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp butter (for the mushrooms)
  • cooking oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

`1. With a non-stick pan on a lowest heat, add a drizzle of oil, butter and the smashed garlic cloves. Cook the garlic for 5-6 minutes to let the garlic infuse its flavour into the oil. Constantly move the garlic around to prevent them from burning

2. When the garlic turns a bit brown (not burnt), add the cream and garlic powder (optional). Stir well & simmer for 5 minutes. Occasionally scrape the sides of the pan to prevent the cream from burning.

3. When the cream reaches light simmer, take it off the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl through a fine sieve. With a spoon, gently press the garlic pieces against the sieve to release every little drop of leftover garlicky goodness out of the garlic and into the sauce.

4. Add in some salt and pepper to taste and mix well. If you want more garlic punch, add a few teaspoons of garlic powder. Set aside.

5. For the mushrooms, melt one tbsp of butter in a pan and cook the sliced mushroom until they turn brown and shrink a little bit. Season with a dash of pepper, set aside.

6. For the chicken, arrange the strips on a flat surface and pat them dry with paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Sprinkle each peace with some salt (just a little bit, remember that the sauce adds overall saltiness to the whole dish) and pepper. Set aside.

7. To serve, place the chicken and mushrooms onto one plate and drizzle the creamy garlic sauce on top. Serve with a bowl of warm rice.

*Sauce can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days and works beautifully as pasta sauce or on a pizza.

Many of my friends actually used my old recipe for the creamy garlic sauce and loved it. I love it when I receive a message from them with a picture of their Teppanyaki creation, such a lovely surprise every time. Hopefully this simplified version received as much love as the old one.

Cheers!