Sunday, January 4, 2015

Easy Tres Leches Cake Recipe and other New Year Projects

This year is surprising me in terms of my productivity, and only 3 days has passed! If it's a sign for the rest of the year, I am really excited.

While the rest of the world makes New Years Resolutions at the start of the year- I didn't even bother, but I made a mental note to do only one thing... Clean my room also known as my Walk In Closet! Talk about under-promise and over-deliver, I remember even telling my sister, that I had no definite timeline to get it done, best if I do it before the holidays are over but anytime this year would be good.

Spring Cleaning Virtually & Literally

My first surprise productiveness, or should I say scare was when I thought my laptop was going to crash on me. Blue Screen of death and all that, plus it crashed three times when I attempted to revive it afterwards. Surprisingly, it seemed that all it needed was a good rest, because the following day, the first thing I did when I got it to work for longer than two minutes is I cleaned up my desktop (If you have never seen it before, let me just say that it was so messy, icons were on top of each other, and I could only find files by using the folder directory!), and I backed up my files, it took one day, but I backed up everything I wanted successfully I think!
This is the first time I've backed up files just because. My files normally
get backed-up only when I'm transferring to another country.
Perhaps this backing up exercise is a sign of things to come. *fingers crossed*

Welcome to my Walk in Closet...
WAY BEFORE Photo: Taken just right after the flood in September
My Room cum Walk in closet is the one in the lower right
After the flood, it was just a bit less messy than that.
But I'm happy to say that the only thing on my mental resolution list has already been achieved!
Coffee Nook  back in order.
Sofia and I even put the Hello Kitty Rements back together again.
Shoes are well organized
Even what little ArtWork I have (all with sentimental meaning) is on display.
Asian Art is from Auntie Stell and used to be displayed in my Paris home.
Cupcake Pop Art was made by me and Fi and used to hang in our SG home.
While the bath houses is a sign of things to come for my future beach house.
This is what my room looks like when it's in order.
There's just enough space for my things.
I even flood-proofed my remaining gift stash
inventory. I shop so much, it never gets zeroed out even
after the holidays.

So back to my productive New Year. I rarely bake, ever since Unilever happened, but I trying to bake the things I want to eat, especially if it's hard to buy good ones in the market. 
When I lived in Singapore, I taught myself how to make Red Velvet Cupcakes
from scratch with limited equipment. This was before this blog was born.

This New Year, I saw a friend's post on IG with Tres Leches Cupcakes that looked so good, but when I asked where he got them, he said Alabang, which is so far away. I used to love the Tres Leches Cake served at Hot Rocks, the cheap steak place in Libis near Shopwise, but that place has been closed for a long time now and I wasn't able to find their Tres Leches Cake supplier. Every time I see Tres Leches Cake on the menu, I get excited, and I've tried Karen's Kitchen, Brasas as well as BNT, but they don't make it with the cake soaked in milk enough, so it really wasn't worth the calories.

Project Tres Leches
Since I desperately wanted to eat Tres Leches, I looked for recipes online. There are some that are more complicated than the others, so I just went for the simplest one with a lot of good reviews. It seemed easy enough to do and most of the required ingredients, we already had in our house. I just needed to buy the the milks or the leches. Tres Leches cake is so yummy because it's literally just that - Three Milk Cake.

Before I started my Tres Leches Cake, Sofia asked me to make her
some Pao de Quiejo or Brazilian Cheese Bread for breakfast.
I still had a last pack of the mix I asked a friend to buy for us from Brazil. It's so easy to make, you can read about it here
While it's good enough as it is, it's also good with SPAM,
because cheese and spam go so well. You can read about that here.

Since my oven was already hot, I had to rush the preparation and mixing the cake batter while the Pao de Quiejo was in the oven, so my Tres Leches could go in right after.

The recipe I used was adapted from here.
But I made some minor adjustments.
I just creamed half cup unsalted butter, with less than 1 cup sugar (adjusted), added 5 eggs and half a teaspoon vanilla till fluffy. Then I mixed in the sifted 1 and a half cups flour with the 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons at a time. Then I baked it for 25 minutes in 175 degrees C.

Voila! Parang cooking show lang. This is how it came out. Smelled good too.
Tip: Make sure your pan is greased and floured well so it won't stick.
Then you start forking it! *hahaha, sounds like a curse!
Once it cools, you're ready to make the Tres Leches Mixture.
Just mix together 2 cups fresh milk, 1 big can evaporated
milk, and 1 smaller can condensed milk.
This is where it gets confusing, because the recipe calls for 12 fluid oz of Evaporated  Milk (in the Philippines that's the Big Can), then it calls for 14 oz of Condensed Milk, which turns out to be a can smaller than the Evaporated Milk because 14oz is the NET Weight. Anyway, I tried the recipe with the smaller can and it works so don't worry about it.

Tip: You may want to use a bigger bowl, because mixing can be tricky
if it's this full.
Then you just start soaking the cake.
At first, I was doing it so orderly but this isn't really required.
It might be a good idea to put the holes closer together (top part of pic),
so the milk gets absorbed faster. Don't add holes once you start soaking
because the top part of the cake will stick to your fork.
This is why you don't need to be organized. Everything will be covered by
the milk mixture anyway.
Sofia loved the taste of the milk mixture she had to keep on getting
a new spoon to "taste test" because she wasn't allowed to double dip.
Sofia helping out.
The cake will be totally submerged in milk once
you're done pouring over the milk mixture.
Sofia was a bit frustrated because she thought we could already eat the cake once we poured all the milk, but I told her we needed to refrigerate it so the cake has time to absorb the milk.
I even went to the supermarket to get strawberries to top the cake.
This is what the cake looks like after 8 hours of
Sofia was so excited to try it, she didn't even wait for me to top it.
It was gone in no time!

Another adjustment I did to the recipe was that I opted to use the Ready-To-Use Whipped Cream in the aerosol can for the icing, instead of making my own. I even bought the light one!
I was so happy with the finished product!
It tastes so much better than what they have in the market!
After Sofia finished her first slice, she wanted to try her
hand at decorating and plating the cake.
She made a swirl on her first try.
Then she told all our helpers (yes, we have 4) to cut a slice of cake,
and line up while she decorated and plated them. Great job, Sofia!
I even set aside part of the cake to bring to a party
tomorrow. Even I'm impressed at how pretty it came out.
Normally, it's much cheaper to buy baked products that you want to eat rather than make it, because you can buy half a dozen and your craving will be satisfied, while if you bake, you'll need to buy more ingredients than the recipe calls for, and you probably don't need the full recipe to satisfy your craving. But in the case of Tres Leches Cake, making it is so easy, and the only thing expensive for the ingredients is the Whipped Cream and the Strawberries that all the ingredients combined would probably not be as expensive as the toll to Alabang, and it was super easy to make too. This recipe is a keeper, I'm saving this one for future reference. 

Now on to the next project. Learning how to do Calligraphy (watch out for that!). just saying.

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