Friday, April 5, 2013

Tres Leches Cake with Spicy Raspberry Sauce

This cake is seriously, in my opinion, the most perfect cake on the planet; Yes, planet! It's that good. Tres leches cake is traditional to Latin America, and there are many variations. The cake is usually a sponge cake, that is soaked in a combination of milks so it's moist and decadent. It's like eating a cake made of the milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl. The actual pastel, or cake that you use is very important to the final product. If you use a cake that is not dry and dense enough then it will fall apart when you soak it. But if you use a cake that is too dry, or too dense then you end up with a very heavy unappetizing texture.

I have experimented with many different cake recipes for my tres leches, and all of them had one thing in common; they were all way too dense and ended up feeling like eating a wet brick, that is not at all the experience I want.  I then started experimenting with box cakes and found that the most perfect cake for this recipe was Dr. Oetker's vanilla box cake. It's organic, all natural and yes you can read and recognize all ingredients in the box. I normally do not make "boxed" items, but this cake is absolutely perfect for the soaking process. It has a perfect "crummy" texture that ended up being dry enough to hold during the soaking. The cake is also one of the best traditional vanilla cakes I have ever eaten. It had a pleasant cornmeal, slightly salty taste along with the traditional sweet vanilla, it was a perfect combination!

 My spicy raspberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this cake. It's tangy but sweetly floral, as only raspberries can be, and this pairs perfectly with the tiny bit of heat that creeps up from the addition of cayenne pepper. Yes, cayenne pepper. I just love how the heat opens up and "blooms" on your taste buds, allowing the milk soaked cake to taste even more sweet and perfect. Raspberries are one of my favorite fruits. They are incredibly complex in flavor, having both sweet and tart qualities. They also have a floral, herbaceous quality that makes them so very interesting in sauces. I encouraged the raspberry flavor even further with the addition of Chambord, a raspberry flavored liquor (that is naturally flavored). It adds an intense depth of flavor to the sauce, that's just amazing. I then took the sauce even further by adding in a bit of heat. I felt the tiny bit of bite was the perfect thing to accompany such a rich, milky cake and the sweet floral raspberries. I could have eaten this sauce over dirty shoes and I still would have mopped up every last bit. This recipe uses frozen organic raspberries but please, by all means use fresh ones if they are in season. You can also change up the fruit all together; a blackberry or strawberry sauce would also be amazing with this cake.



1 Box Dr. Oetker's organic vanilla cake, follow the directions on the box.

1/2 ( 14oz) Can organic, sweetened condensed milk, the rest can be frozen for later use.

1/2 (12oz) Can organic, evaporated milk, the rest can be frozen for later use.

1 Cup 2% organic or pasture raised milk


1 (10oz) Bag frozen, organic raspberries

1/2 Cup fair trade, organic, raw cane sugar, this amount may vary depending on the tartness of your fruit.

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp Chambord liquor

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, this creates a warm, tingly heat. Feel free to use more or less depending on spice tolerance and preference.

Your favorite whip cream for topping* optional, I use Cabot, all profits go back to the farmers.


Bake your cake according to the directions on the box and invert onto a serving platter. The platter must be able to hold liquid. Cool cake completely.

In a pour-able measuring cup or pitcher, mix together the milks till combined. Poke the cooled cake with a toothpick all over. Pour the milks slowly over the cake allowing it to soak in. Place the cake in the fridge to set.

In a small sauce pan combine raspberries, water and sugar and cook over medium heat till bubbling. Add in Chambord and cook for a few minutes, cooking off the alcohol. Add in cayenne pepper and remove from heat. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the sauce. With a rubber spatula, push the sauce through the sieve till all the moisture and some of the pulp has been push through and you are left with mostly seeds.

Keep cake and sauce cold until ready to serve.

*When I don't make homemade whipped cream I use Cabot Creamery canned whipped cream only, it's made with all natural ingredients, pasture raised milk and 100% of the profits go back to the farmer's who supply the milk, it's a socially responsible company.

The world's most perfect cake!