When dining out for Mexican food in the South, you almost always find a tres leches, or “three milks,” cake on the dessert menu for one reason: It is absolutely scrumptious. Nothing can compare with its three layers of cream, unfolding in your mouth in successive soft waves. The gorgeous thing about this cake is that the colder it gets, the better it tastes, so you can make it well in advance to really let the flavors marry while saving time for other preparations. For my take on this Mexican classic, I added coconut, making a classic even classier.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an
In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk to blend. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar is evenly moistened, about 45 seconds. Add the egg yolks and beat on high until smooth. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and beat until blended. Increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes more, or until thick and smooth. Add the coconut milk and coconut extract and beat until smooth. Add the egg whites and beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and cover with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Just before the cake is ready to come out of the oven, make the syrup: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk until smooth.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Using a long wooden skewer, poke a couple dozen holes in the cake. Immediately pour the tres leches syrup over the cake. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and ice the cake. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut into squares to serve.
Store, lightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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