Quatro Leches Cake with Blackberry Sauce

 

Berries

I’m notorious for rarely making a recipe more than once.  I have been known, however, to make a dish again and again with a new recipe each time.  I know this isn’t a novel concept, and I guess some may consider it crazy.  For example:  You’ve been invited to a dinner party and you’ve volunteered to make dessert.  Because the menu is featuring Mexican cuisine, for a split second, you’re tempted to try Budin de Cajeta con Moras you tried last time the dinner group got together for Mexican, but no, because you saw a recipe for flan with hazelnuts in a recent issue of Food & Wine.  Of course time got away from you (better known as procrastination) so you relied yet again upon Google and a search for Tres Leches knowing something new would come up.

Of course it did.  I’ve made Tres Leches cake, and Quatro Leches cake but this one seemingly had a different spin, so how could I resist?

I couldn’t.  This cake wasn’t destined to stay in the pan while the milk was poured over it.  No, it needed to be turned out of its pan, cooled, flipped, and then subjected to the milk bath.  Yes, I had to find out what could happen.

Murphy’s Law.


Got Milk?

This recipe actually contains five kinds of milk, but the whole milk goes into the cake batter instead of in the mix that is poured onto the cake after it’s finished baking.  That’s where the quatro comes from instead of the more traditional tres.  The fourth milk here is Crema Mexicana.  It’s a thick cream that has a slight tang to it — slightly similar to that of yogurt, but nothing like sour cream.  Although there is no butter in the cake, there are eight eggs used to create the large layer of sponge.  The egg whites are whipped until nearly marshmallow-like in consistency.

8 Eggs

Sponge Ready

Although the recipe calls for a 9″ x 13″ glass or metal pan, I prefer the look of a square cake so pulled one of my 10-1/2″ silicone pans from the cupboard.  A simple mental comparison of the area of each pan told me it would be close, but fine.  Plus, I knew that a sponge doesn’t rise all that much so I wouldn’t have to worry about cake oozing over the sides of the pan.

I nearly always choose convection settings when I bake and am supposed to reduce the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees, but never have followed that rule.  Usually, I decrease it by 5 degrees, and expect to bake my goods anywhere from 5-10 minutes less.

Cool Sponge

This cake baked for 25 minutes and I had to return it to the oven, checking it in 5-minute segments until the center was firm, and had a spring to it when gently pressed — about 40 minutes.  Ten minutes of resting time in the pan preceded a direction I questioned:  “Place rack on top of dish and turn over to release.  Allow cake to cool upside down for another 20-30 minutes.” In my experience, a warm cake resting against a flat surface builds up moisture and tends to stick to the plate, but I followed the directions.

Stuck

Of course it stuck, so I flipped it back over and continued on as if nothing had happened after I singed my husband’s ears with a few choice vocabulary words.  Using a wooden skewer, I poked holes across the entire surface.

Poke Holes

While the cake was conspiring to stick to the plate cooling, I prepared the quatro leches mixture.  Slowly, I poured it over the cooled layer waiting until it soaked in until pouring more over.

Pour Milk

Occasionally, I used an off-set spatula to gently coerce the liquid to the edge of the cake, allowing it to dribble over the edges and soften the sponge.

Saturated

This cake was supposed to have chilled over night or at least four hours, but I only had a few before I was supposed to take it to a dinner party. So I cranked up the chill setting in the fridge, popped it in well-wrapped and hoped for the best.

While the cake was chilling, I prepared the berry puree and the whipped topping, deciding when it was time to ice the cake I’d only swirl it on the top.  Since the milk hadn’t quite been absorbed in the time I had, I decided to line the berries up against the sides to hide the pool of milk.

Quatro Leches Cake

There wasn’t enough room in the fridge to keep the cake chilled before we were ready to eat it, but it held up perfectly.  Rave reviews all ’round on this one.  No question about it — truly a lovely, lovely dessert:   moist but not remotely soggy, and a perfect balance of tart and sweet between the cake and the raspberry puree.

Quatro Leches Cake

Thankfully, I had a few pieces left to take photos.  Of course we had them for breakfast the next morning.  Completely sinful.  The recipe for this fabulous version of the traditional Tres Leches Cake is available at SFGate.

If I had it to do all over again, I’d…

  • probably use the rectangular pan as called for in the recipe.  The square is beautiful, but it’s no big deal.
  • turn the cake out of the pan after the short cooling, then continue to cool it right side up to avoid the sticking.
  • use 1 cup of Crema Mexicana instead of splitting it with heavy cream.  I like tang.  Of course if you can’t get Crema Mexicana, then you could experiment with Creme Fraiche or just use heavy cream.  Mascarpone?  Oh!
  • make sure enough time is allowed to chill it over night.  Although it was truly great, the next morning, all the milk was completely absorbed and the texture of the cake was incredible.  Plus, it’s just nice chilled.
  • try a different fruit puree.  Blackberries were wonderful, but I’m wondering about other flavors now, of course.  Like peaches.

And then there are the dulce de leche possibilities….with apples. *swoon*

Quatro Leches Cake

32 thoughts on “Quatro Leches Cake with Blackberry Sauce

  1. Sinful & awesome. Gorgeous pics KP. I love all the variety of milk/dairy that went into it. What a breathtakingly beautiful cake! It’s like a symphony opera with so much happening! BEE-YOO-TI-FUL!!

  2. Thanks for the comment. When I travelled over to your blog and saw that you made not dos, not tres but quattro leches cake? yeah, I’m subscribing to your feed now too 🙂

  3. Oh this sounds and looks out of this world! Crema is abundant here so guess what I am making for a gathering with the neighbors? Yep. THIS CAKE!

  4. gorgeous. what i want to know is this–why don’t mexican restaurants serve this (or the traditional tres) for dessert? all i ever see on the dessert list is fried ice cream, churros, and flan.

  5. Nice to see that you’ve used silicone bakeware here! I’ve been a bit skeptical about them. And as far as instructions go, I think you’ve mentioned the word ‘rack’ in the instructions. But you’ve talked about a flat surface or a plate when you actually made/cooled the cake. I guess a plate wouldn’t allow for air circulation like a cooling rack. Just my two cents 🙂 The cake looks fantastic anyway 😀

    A.

    1. Exactly — that’s what I mentioned about the plate. Go figure on why it was in the directions, but shame on me for not following my own head on that!

  6. Good heavens, you’ve done it again! This looks incredible. What are the chances of you moving to Tucson? I’d go west, but I think the big guy would kick up a fuss.

  7. Amazing. Simply amazing that this looks so good. I had no idea what the steps were that were involved in creating a tres (or quatros) leches cake. And now I want one – desperately. What if there were a layer cake, filled with dulce de leche, the whole iced with a whipped icing, and then topped with caramel apple carpaccio???? Must. Make. Cake.

  8. you speak to me in this post. everything about it.. the cake, the murphy’s law, the flan with nuts (i would love for you to see the lemon almond flan i made on TV 2 weeks ago). i love tres or quatro or even cinco leches cake! we make it for ALL occasions at home! you did a great job!

  9. You’re on a roll! I’d have loved to been at your house the past few weeks everything you’ve made has been wonderful! Thanks for sharing. A month or so ago I made a tres leches but used cake mix as a jumping off point……BIG mistake.
    ~ingrid

  10. Oh wow Kelly, I just fell in love! I love the fourth leche here. Crema Mexicana is a very well hidden secret of the Mexican cuisine and you used it perfectly here. Yummy!

  11. This is beautiful. I had something similar as my birthday cake last year. Good thing you were able to enjoy it the next day too…of course to see how it was really supposed to be 😉

  12. OMG does that sound good! Low in calories too, I bet! 😉 Totally worth it though.. and the way you decorated it was beautiful. 😀

    xoxoxoxxo

  13. Marscapone – oH! – indeed.
    That combination would be heavenly, I’m sure.

    All said, though, this cake looks fantastic. Love Tres Leches… so how can I argue with Quatro Leches??

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