May 09 2021. Dear Daughters– Please don’t think of this recipe for Quattro Leches Cake as being late for Cinco de Mayo, just think of it as being right on time for Mother’s Day today because it’s one of your Mom’s favorite desserts. You may also be confused by the recipe’s name, wondering what “Apres Ski” has to do with a dessert that is rooted in areas far away from most ski mountains, but that’s because we first “discovered” this wonderful dessert when you used to ski most winters and as part of the weekly Saturday Night After Ski Family Feast, thanks to the head chef and mom of the family who shared most of those memorable meals with us. I certainly miss those days, but am happy to have this cake and a few other Apres Ski recipes to remind me off such happy times.
Even though no one in our family grew up eating Quattro Leches, I think we now find it so delicious and comforting because we all did grow up enjoying another classic milk soaked sweet- Oreos y Una Leche! Each of you kids had your own technique. One of you would let the Oreo float in the milk for several minutes, scooping out and eating what you could and repeating until you had your fill, leaving your unwanted milk and cookie sludge for me to enjoy. The other of you was more of a precision dunker- holding your Oreo down in the milk and counting off a certain time in your head (I could often see your lips move as you counted down) until you deemed that it would not be too hard or not too soft, but just right. Like Tiramisu and English Trifles, this Quattro Leches Cake is really just a sophisticated, adult version of cookies dunked in milk!
While there may be more than one type of cake base for a Leches Cake, I give you a sponge cake base in this recipe, for the obvious reason that the name suggests- it’s the perfect vehicle for soaking up all that deliciousness. It’s so good at soaking up, in fact, it tastes like you’re getting a mouthful of custard in every bite. As good as all this may be, it’s important to balance the richness of this dessert, so be sure to finish it off with as much fresh fruit as you can. Mom’s favorite topping is strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, but feel free to throw on whatever’s in season or whatever you like!
Prep Time: 35 minutes, but most importantly, at least 24-48 hours of refrigerated leches soaking time. PS. Make something else if you don’t have time for the soaking- it’s just that important!
Cook Time: 20 minutes
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
The Sponge Cake
- 7 large eggs, separated
- 7 ounces or 219 grams granulated sugar
- 6 ounces or 174 grams all purpose flour
The Sweet Soak
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 6 ounces evaporated milk
- 7 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons bourbon, rum, other hooch or espresso-optional
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powder sugar or 1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional- there is a lot of sweet going on in the sweet soaked cake
- 4-6 cups, fresh fruit array, sliced and/or diced
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted, optional
COOK AND PLAY
For Mother’s Day, why don’t you listen to some of Mom’s “alternative” music, like “Gardening At Night” by REM? Click here for the Official Dad’s Dinner Diary Cook and Playlist!
- Preheat. Set up a middle oven rack- preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Keep It Separated! Separate eggs, placing yolks in one mixing bowl and clean whites into another mixing bowl. Remember, if you get any yolks into your whites, the whites will not mix up fluffy and airy which is what you want.
- Whip It Part 1- Yolks and Sugar. Add sugar to yolk bowl and use hand or standing mixer to mix or paddle, scraping down bowl as needed, until mixture is very “airy”, smooth and a nice pale yellow, about 5 minutes.
- Whip It Part 2- Clean Whites. Whisk up clean whites and salt with hand or standing mixer until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Delicately Fold Your Whites. Delicately fold ⅓ of whipped whites into yolk and sugar mixture with spatula and then gently fold in rest of whites with spatula until you no longer see white streaks. Keep in mind, you want to keep us much air in the mixture with delicate mixing as possible.
- Delicately Fold Your Flour. Delicately fold flour into mixture with spatula until you no longer see patches of flour. Not to be a pest, but don’t forget- you want to keep us much air in the mixture with delicate mixing as possible.
- Golden Brown and Puffy. Spread batter into buttered 13 x 9 dish and bake until golden brown and puffy- about 20 minutes. Poke holes all over cake once out of oven and let cake cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes.
- Soaking Time. Mix sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and coconut milk in medium bowl and pour evenly over holey cake. Refrigerate cake overnight or even another night before serving.
- One Last Leches. Before serving, whip heavy cream and sugar in a bowl with hand or standing mixer and spread evenly over cake. Artistically top cake with fruit. Leftovers will keep a day or two more in refrigerator.
The Safe Bowl. Now that you’re off to school and doing your laundry on a regular basis (although I will admit you both were good about doing laundry when you were at home- thanks BTW!), you know how important it is to keep your colors and whites separate. The same goes for whipping egg whites- any yellow yolks in your whites and the white will go flat from the fat and never whip up into airy peaks. The easiest way to make sure you keep your yellow yolks out of your white whites when separating eggs is to use a “safe bowl”- a smaller bowl into which you separate a white from an egg yolk, making sure it’s yolk free, before you add the white into the larger mixing bowl with the other clean whites. Then, if you do get a white with some yellow yolk, you can just set that aside for something else without contaminating the rest of the whites in the mixing bowl. As for separating the white and yolk, I like to carefully crack the egg into the small bowl and then gently scoop up the yolk as I let the whites “sift” through me fingers and back into the bowl. PS. In case you were wondering, it’s OK if you get some whites in with the yolks.
Get Into The Fold. There seems to be a laundry analogy theme going here because as important as it is to keep the colors out of your whites when you make a sponge, it’s just as important to make sure you properly fold your whites. Take your time and focus on your folding technique as you add your egg whites and white flour into the batter here because the better your fold, the spongier your sponge. I find large spatulas work best and you should think more of a “scooping from the bottom and around the sides of the bowl and “folding” what you scrap up over the top” motion rather than any kind of “stir and deflate” motion.
Leftover Leches. You will have leftover leches- that’s not to say you couldn’t use the full 12 ounce can of evaporated milk and 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk for the Sweet Soak because I have and thought it was great- at least for a Dad, but maybe not so much for a Daughter:). If you don’t want to go Full Dad, and I often don’t, the leftover milks make a great add in for curries over the next few days or longer if frozen for storage.
In a Rush? When you just don’t have the time or patience to read an entire Dad post, follow dadsdinnerdiary.com on Instagram for quick InstaRecipes- all the flavor with none of the Lectures or Dad Advice!
Keywords: dessert, Mexican, party dish, comfort food, baking,
© 2021 All rights reserved. Dad’s Dinner Diary