There are some desserts that just stand out from the rest when it comes to both visual appeal and taste, and this tres leches cake is one of them. The best part is that it’s a very basic recipe, and one that you probably already have the ingredients for in your kitchen. Another great thing about this cake, is that the cake portion can be made the day before it’s served – and that’s always convenient, especially if the cake is for a party or special occasion.
Since the cake is covered in whipped cream and fresh strawberries, it only takes about thirty minutes the day-of to make the frosting, slice the strawberries, and decorate before serving.
Tres Leches Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream
Serves: one cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
11/2 cups granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature, cut in pieces
¾ cup milk (divided)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whipped Cream Topping
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
With butter, grease 8-inch, square cake pan and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper too, and lightly dust pan with flour.
Sift flour, baking soda, sugar and salt in bowl of stand mixer. With paddle attachment, blend on slow for 10 seconds.
In small bowl, lightly whisk eggs with ¼ cup of the milk and vanilla extract; set aside.
To the dry mixture, add the butter and beat on low for about a minute until combined. Slowly add the remaining ½ cup milk until incorporated into dry ingredients.
Increase speed to medium and blend for about 1½ minutes until you have a thick, smooth batter.
Add egg/milk mixture in three parts on medium speed, scraping down sides and bottom at least once. Beat for another 30 seconds until batter looks airy and smooth.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until light golden brown and toothpicks come out dry when inserted in the top center. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then on wire rack until room temperature.
For whipped cream, beat heavy cream and granulated sugar until stiff peaks. Add vanilla extract and beat 30 seconds until combined.
Generously cover cake with whipped cream and smooth to desired look. Top with sliced strawberries.
Tiramisu is one of those classic desserts that almost everyone is familiar with and loves. So for a summer riff on the classic tiramisu, I flipped the espresso base to a lighter and fresher bite with some strawberries.
The strawberries add a nice fruity bite to the rich mascarpone custard base that’s become the standard for this timeless classic.
There are of course many versions of a strawberry tiramisu, but for the one you see here, I created a custard that can stand-up when sliced rather than a tiramisu that’s scooped. Trust me when I tell you, this version is well worth the effort. Not only is it richer in flavor, but this dessert is always a crowd pleaser and a show stopper.
Don’t let the length of the recipe prevent you from making this. You can break out each component and make them several days in advance then assemble it the night before you need it. The ladyfingers can be baked up to three days in advance. The custard can also be fully prepared 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated. Lastly the strawberry sauce allows for a 7 day advance preparation. See what I mean about planning ahead and breaking up easy component for easy baking and making?
To shortcut this recipe: you can of course use store bought ladyfingers and swap out the homemade custard and just use whipped cream instead.
However you decide to make and assemble this classic treat, just do it! And you just might find yourself preferring this summer version of a tiramisu over it’s classic espresso form.
Now for some more fun . . . don’t forget to join us and celebrate National Strawberry Month with your chance to win a KitchenAid stand mixer. To enter, leave a comment on this post, or click here.
To make Ladyfingers: Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Set oven rack to upper and lower third of oven. Line two bake sheets with parchment paper.
Place egg yolks in standmixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the yolk, ½ cup of sugar on high speed until mixture is pale yellow and the mixture falls in ribbons with the whisk is raised (mixture will also triple in size), about 4-5 minutes. Lower the speed and add in vanilla and water. Beat for another 60-90 seconds, or until mixture thickens once more.
In a separate clean bowl, add the egg whites to a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy (mixture will look like well lathered shampoo). Turn off mixer and add cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks from when whisk is raised, about 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating until stiff glossy peaks form when the beater is raised.
Add in on half the meringue (egg white mixture) to the yolk mixture with a large sturdy spatula. Fold in flour until incorporated. Gently fold in remaining meringue and orange zest.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round ½ inch pastry tip. Pipe 4 inch cookies onto prepared bake sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Bake until cookies become light golden brown and springy to the touch, about 8-10 minutes; rotate pans at 4 minutes. Transfer bake sheets to a wire to cool slightly. Remove cookies while still warm to a second wire rack to cool completely. Ladyfinger cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days and frozen for a month.
To make strawberry syrup: Place sliced quartered strawberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and puree in a blender or food processor with orange juice. Set aside to cool completely.
To make custard: Place egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar in a heatproof bowl set over (not on) simmering water. Continuously whisk mixture until sugar dissolves. Add in marsala and continuously whisk until mixture reaches 165 degrees F, about ten minutes. Remove bowl from heat and place bowl in ice water; whisk until custard is slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Place mascarpone in a standmixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat on low until creamy, about 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium low and gradually beat in cooled custard until completely incorporated.
In a separate bowl, place heavy cream in a chilled bowl and beat with 2 tablespoons of sugar on low, gradually increase the speed to medium high and gradually add in remaining sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Assembly: Quickly dip one side of each ladyfinger in the strawberry syrup. Once dipped set ladyfinger in 9-inch square pan, forming three rows. If needed, press press the ladyfingers slightly to fit in pan. Spread one-third of mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. Repeat for remaining two layers. Finish with sliced strawberries on top. *Optional: Brush with boiled down orange jam. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.