Mango-Coconut Tres Leches Cake

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I thought this one was going to be my nemesis. 3 tries and as much heartbreak. Could this actually be a mirage. All those people on the internet claiming that this was the best cake in the world. Was it all a conspiracy? Not yet ready to give up on the inherent honesty of all things sweet, milky and cakey, I kept on. … and 3 cakes later, oh I am so so glad I did.

It all started with this post of Pioneer Womans.. I had never heard of this cake before. A sponge soaked in 3 kinds of milk.. sounded intriguing. More research revealed that this cake has an almost cult like following for its ultra soft and moist nature. Popular in several Latin American countries, there were several variations online.. and I was determined to find one that worked for me.

The first time I baked this cake, it was with much anticipation.. resulting in as much disappointment. The sponge turned out bitter. My heart bled. Ok, perhaps the baking powder I used had seen some better days. I was yet intrigued. Despite the bitter disgusting metallic twang of the baking powder, the lovely moist character of the sponge did manage to peek out . It definitely had potential. The internet world hadn’t lied. Supercareful with the baking powder next time, yet unable to leave well alone, I decided to add some of the much spoken about dulce de leche in the middle layer. This one was better but then not much can screw up a good batch of Dulce de leche. It just wasn’t good enough. Encouraged to try again, this time round, the cake got a layer of walnut and my very favourite frosting.

Definitely better. But not perfect. The problem for me was that I found this to be (and I apologize to the tres leches purists before I even say this) …too milky. Don’t get me wrong. The cake and the concept are absolutely worth falling in love with. Maybe I was doing something wrong.  But for all that lovely oozing moistness it felt like a bit too much milk and something was missing. Some contrast…a foil for its beauty…. Coconut and mango!!

It’s only my rigid ironlike self control that stops me from now baking this everyday. (last count, I only baked it thrice a week.) Everyone who has eaten this cake has liked it. Most have fallen in love with it. A great balance of milky, nutty, fruity … the conconction is ethereal, my weapon of choice. It melts on the tongue. Can thaw the coldest heart. Brings a smile to the saddest lips. And turn around even the worst day..Make this at your own peril and try not to eat it all up yourself… hopefully you will fare batter than I did.

Note: Cake and Frosting Recipe Adapted from Pioneer Woman

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Mango-Coconut Tres Leches Cake
Coconut keeps the milky character intact and cuts the cloying sweetness of the condensed milk. This is the first time I have ever used coconut in something sweet, and for the life of me I can't figure why. Mild, nutty, creamy...the coconut is exactly what this cake was craving. And Mango ....who would have thought coconut and mango would marry so well. And it's not just the fruity sweetness of a hapus that this cake asks for,... it's the slight tang from a variety like langda. And the frosting...Sweet and yet not too much, light as air, oh so creamy, velvety and buttery..this one can go head on with the best whipped cream around.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar, Divided
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • FOR THE SYRUP
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
  • 2 Langda mangoes peeled, sliced
  • Fresh Cherries and flaked almonds
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease a 9" cake pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
  3. Beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar on high-speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
  4. Beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  5. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
  7. Slice the cake down the middle to get two layers.
  8. Add condensed milk to the coconut milk, till the syrup is sweet to your liking . Pierce the layers with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
  9. Allow the cake layers to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.
  10. To prepare the frosting, in a small saucepan, whisk the 5 tablespoons of flour into one cup of milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick. Thicker than cake batter and closer to the thick consistency of a brownie mix. Remove the slurry from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.
  11. While the milk mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don't want any of the graininess of sugar left and the texture should be smooth. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the frosting well. If it looks separated, you haven't beaten it enough! Continue to beat it until the frosting is well combined and resembles whipped cream.
  12. Now assemble your cake. Spread the bottom layer with a generous layer of the frosting and top with fresh mango slices. Repeat with the next layer and use the leftover frosting to cover the sides of the cake. Decorate cake with fresh cherries and flaked almonds.

 

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