Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cuatro Leches Cake from La Duni

The first time I tried this at La Duni Latin Cafe, I was in heaven. This has become one of my favourite cakes and I was thrilled when I came across their recipe online.

I have made this cake a few times, but always a smaller version using half the ingredients listed. This time I tried whole wheat pastry flour and loved it. I add slightly less sugar and  don't make my own dulche de leche. I'm not fond of the idea of simmering an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk on my stove top for several hours. The ready made stuff is easy enough to find in Dallas. :)

Cuatro leches cake (from Chef Dunia Borga from La Duni Latin Café in Dallas)
Serves 10

Vanilla Mantecada Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for buttering pan
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk

Arequipe (dulce de leche sauce)
1 (14 oz) unopened can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup whole milk, warmed

Tres leches sauce:
¾ cup evaporated milk
¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream

Stir these three ingredients together and set aside for the assembly.

2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 cup egg whites (from 7 large eggs)
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for decorating

1. To make cake, preheat oven to 350˚F and arrange an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Butter an **8-inch cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very fluffy. Add the sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition, until blended. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Finally, beat in the dry ingredients, alternating one with the milk: first, about one third of the dry ingredients, then ½ cup of the milk, another third of the dry ingredients, the remaining ½ cup milk, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Beat until fully mixed, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not over beat.

**I make half the recipe in an 8-inch pan and would probably use a 9-inch pan if making the full recipe.

Pour patter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched an a tester inserted comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn it out on the rack to cool completely.

2. To make the arequipe sauce, place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a perforated insert such as a pasta pot) inside a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, and simmer for 2 hours, turning the can twice during cooking, once after 45 minutes, then again at 1 ½ hours. (Make sure the can is always covered by water, or it may explode.) Remove can from water and let cool before opening. Be careful when opening it, as the contents will squirt out; pour into a bowl, whisk in the milk, cover and refrigerate.

3. To make the meringue, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, undisturbed, until the syrup reaches 240˚F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. When the thermometer registers 200˚F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed in an electric mixer fitted with the wire whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and with motor running, gradually pour syrup into the egg whites. Once all of the syrup has been incorporated, continue to beat at medium speed until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy (15-20 minutes).

4. To assemble the cake, turn the cake out onto a cardboard round and remove the parchment. With a long serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers. Remove the top 2 layers. Use a fork, to pierce the bottom layer all over; brush with about ¾ cup of the tres leches sauce, giving the sauce time to soak into the cake. Place the second layer on top, pierce with the fork, and brush with another ¾ cup of the sauce. Spread top and sides of the cake with about 1 inch of meringue, finishing the top with peaks. Use a blow torch (or run under a broiler, if possible) to caramelize the meringue. To serve, cut the cake into wedges, drizzle with the arequipe sauce, and sift confectioners’ sugar over it.


Laura said...

Sounds like a delicious cake and must say that it looks simple yet elegant.

Marina@Picnic at Marina said...

What a sweet way to start a week!

smbp said...

This sounds and looks so amazing - I have never had this type of cake before, now you have me thinking how I could veganize this!

Unknown said...

Wow! I am so excited to have found this recipe, but are there some steps missing? For example in making the tres leches sauce and in making the merengue? I would love to make this, but want to make sure I have the recipe right. Thanks!

Gerlinde in Washington said...

I had copied this recipe from one posted by La Duni and it appears that page no longer exists.

In any case, I have updated the recipe above by adding the missing information. Thanks for pointing this out!

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