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Topic: How to frost a tres leches cake
winechic 04/19/2009 2:35 PM
I am new to decorating (although not new to baking). I have a fabolous tres leches cake recipe. For those who don't know tres leches is a cake soaking in a combo of half & half, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Since the cake is so moist I normally don't frost it.

Some of my friends would love a decorated tres leches cake. I am not sure what frosting to use or how to frost it without it falling apart (as I said it is very moist.)

Has anyone done this? Any ideas are welcome. Thank you in advance.
vthorse 04/19/2009 2:53 PM
I've read that whipped cream toppings are used. This sounds good!
GTNx2 04/19/2009 3:24 PM

Would you be willing to share that fabulous recipe? Thanks! GTNx2
Jeanne G 04/19/2009 3:36 PM
Winechic, I struggled with this kind of question a lot the first few years I decorated. The conclusion I've come to is that not all really good cakes are really good candidates for decorating -- at least not with traditional buttercream or fondant.

We love a homemade poundcake recipe. I've tried tons of ways to decorate it but the plain fact is, none of the people I bake for (including me) thinks buttercream tastes good on this cake recipe. Now if I really want to make it in a shaped Bundt or Dimension pan I pour ganache over it. But truly, it is best unadorned, and served with a fruit sauce on the side.

One spring I spent a lot of effort trying to convert a rhubarb cake recipe into something I could decorate. I went through several iterations and sent sample cakes to offices with relatives for feedback. Bottom line? Most people loved the cake but didn't like it with frosting. Now I bake that cake as intended -- with a bit of glaze drizzled over it.

Tiramisu comes to mind as a very good cake that would not be a very good candidate for decorating.

I suspect that the wonderful tres leches cake you make would be another specialty cake not particularly compatible with traditional decorating. Vthorse's suggestion of sticking to whipped cream is probably the route I'd take.

Heidi's kitchen 04/05/2010 10:33 PM
Hi Winechic!!! I love a tres Leches Cake, it's a really big hit in our family, always has been. It's just so moist and delicous!!! Mmm... yummy!!!!!! Now I wouldn't ice it with anything but Whipped cream it just wouldn't taste the same. I use a home-made whipped cream and in my opinion it's perfect and best of all everyone loves it!!! It's a little challenging to decorate cause it's so soft, but I decorate it just like any other buttercream cake ,you just have to do it pretty fast and put the cake in the freezer immediately after. The first cake was much easier cause I just used the whipped cream topping and the flowers the 2nd cake was kind of a pain cause I was feeling brave and decided to add fondant polka-dots (that was just crazy) but in the end it worked and my 16 year old niece loved it!!!!!!! I am pretty proud of how my Tres Leches cake came out. I hope you like it too!!
I use 2 Pints Heavy Whipping Cream Ultra-Pasteurized (you probably already know this don't mean to offend but make sure to chill the pint of whipping cream as well as the beaters and metal bowl in the freezer for at least 4-7 minutes in the freezer. Be careful not to let the whipping cream freeze, or it will not whip correctly about one 1/2-1 cup of Powdered sugar 11/2 tsp of vanilla and 1/2 tsp of rum to decorate each of these cakes. Hope you this helps!!!!!
YOFJAB 10/18/2010 10:08 PM
winechic -- did you ever post your recipe? I've been looking for a tres Leches cake and was surprised on how many variations I found on the web ---
Frosted Flake 10/20/2010 8:39 AM
Here's my recipe for Tres Leches Cake.
I don't remember where I found it, but my MIL used to do it this way. She was born and raised in Mexico. It is VERY good stuff!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
5 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Soak Ingredients
2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

Substitute 2 cups eggnog for whole milk
Substitute 2 cups coconut milk for whole milk
Reduce 2 cups whole milk by 2 ounces and add 1 ounce of Kahlua and 1 ounce of Rum, or 2 ounces or either.

Topping Ingredients
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Pinch of salt
Ground Cinnamon – optional
Maraschino Cherries – optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.

For a lighter – more porous texture – separate eggs and whip whites to soft peaks. Fold whipped egg whites into the beaten wet mixture AFTER the flour mixture has been incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown, and toothpick test is clean.

When cake has cooled, pierce cake all over with a fork. Combine the three milk products; whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Pour over the top of the cooled cake. Refrigerate soaked cake for one hour ( to overnight ) to allow all the liquid to be completely absorbed.

Prepare whip cream topping with 1 cup of the sugar, and the 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon. Refrigerate cake and leftovers.

This cake can be topped with caramelized milk.
Pour 14-ounces of sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Beat with hand mixer until smooth. Cool mixture. Pour over cooled cake just before serving.

Traditionally . . . the edges of the cake are cut off and not served.