Making this Tres Leches Cake was the most selfless thing I've ever done. Ok, probably not the most selfless but it's up there. I suppose it sounds pretty terrible if my most selfless act involves baking a cake. When it boils down to it, baking, for me, is actually quite selfish. So ignore what I just said.
But listen, I don't really like Tres Leches Cake. Texturally, it just always seemed odd. It's taking a perfectly good cake and then drowning it in milk. And I don't have a problem with "soggy" things (hello, the last parts of a bowl of cereal are the best) but the Tres Leches I've tried growing up (which was admittedly limited) weren't soggy, per se, they were just....wet and spongey? I don't know man.
However, my darling
boyfriend fiance (!) loves Tres Leches. And after 8 years of dating, I've never once made it for him because I'm terrible. But when I saw this How Sweet It Is recipe, it was quite possibly the perfect birthday cake for him. I pinned the recipe weeks in advance and couldn't wait to give it a try.
Eric likes few sweets aside from the occasional Kit Kat or Snickers but when it comes to banana bread or muffins, he's in love. So that Banana Bread Tres Leches cake was calling my name when I was looking for a birthday recipe. And since my focus last year was mostly on looks, I wanted this year to be about taste. This cake did not disappoint. It doesn't hurt that it's also easy on the eyes (just like Eric!).
And against all my beliefs and convictions, I loved it too! It didn't have the spongey texture I remembered and I attribute that to the banana. It makes for a denser cake that can stand up against a river of sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and evaporated milk. With a few healthy dollops of freshly whipped cream, this cake was flavorful and hearty and satisfying. Dare I say it's made me interested in exploring more Tres Leches recipes?! Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner.....
Here's the recipe!
Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 bananas mashed (or 1 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup milk (whole, 2%, almond, soy)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Caramelized Bananas (optional)
3 firm bananas, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish (I used 9x13 but the original recipe uses 8x11) with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in another small bowl, beat eggs whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, combine yolks and sugar on medium speed until combined and creamy. Add vanilla and bananas and mix to combine. With mixer on low, add cooled butter and mix. With mixer still on low, add half the dry ingredients, the 2/3 cups milk, and then the other haf of dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Remove bowl and stand and, using a spatula, combine egg whites into batter, folding carefully untill fully incorporated. Pour batter into pan and bake about 18-20 mins (if using a smaller dish, you may need to bake a bit longer. I recommend checking the progress around 18 mins). Allow to cool slightly before turning cake onto a platter. Cool completely before poking a lot of holes in the top of the cake.
5. In a large measuring cup, combine coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Whisk to combine. Pour mixture onto cake, letting it seep into the fork holes and let sit about 45 mins.
6. Whip your cream by adding cream to an electric mixer and beating on high until stiff peaks form. Then, add powdered sugar and beat on medium until combined. Slather whipped cream on top of the cake.
7. **To make bananas: Add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once sizzling, toss in bananas, salt, cinnamon, and sugar, tossing to coat. Cook 4-5 minutes, storring occasionally until bananas are golden brown. Garnish cake with bananas or serve on the side.
**Note: Don't make the bananas until you're ready to serve the cake. They don't retain their texture upon sitting so prepare these when you're ready to eat
Store the cake in the fridge until serving.
Recipe from How Sweet It Is.