Tres Leches Cake
Lightly adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
Ingredients for the cake:
1½ c. (6 ¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
6 large eggs, separated
½ t. cream of tartar or ¼ t. lemon juice
1 ½ c. (10 ½ ounces) sugar
1/3 c. (2 5/8 ounces) cold water
3 t. vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Tres Leches:
1 c. (8 ounces) heavy cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
1 T. brandy or golden rum or 2. vanilla extract
Ingredients for the toppings:
2 ½ c. heavy whipping cream
3 T. confectioner's sugar
To make the cake:
Grease and flour a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar (or lemon juice) in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl (or scrupulously cleaned mixer bowl) beat the egg yolks until pale in color and airy. Add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is thickened a great deal and falls like ribbons from the beaters when the beaters are lifted.
Add the cold water and vanilla to the egg yolk mixture then stir in the dry ingredients. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the mixture and whisk vigorously until the mixture is even in color and texture. Add the remaining egg whites and gently whisk in to the mixture.
Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan and level it. Bake the cake for 28-30 minutes or until it tests done. This is when a straw, toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
You can either turn the cake onto a rimmed platter or keep it in the pan. If moving to a rimmed platter, loosen the edges with a knife and turn out directly onto the platter. Either way, use a fork to poke the cake all over and allow the cake to cool an additional 30 minutes.
To make the Tres Leches:
Whisk together the heavy cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla or brandy in a bowl with a spout or large liquid measuring cup while the cake is cooling. When the 30 minutes are up, slowly pour the mixture over the cake taking occasional breaks to let the liquids soak in thoroughly. When all the tres leches have been poured over the cake, cover lightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving.
To top the cake:
Beat together the whipping cream and confectioner's sugar until thick and fluffy and firm peaks form. Use a spatula to spread over the cake. Scatter generous amounts of fresh berries over the cake, slice and serve.