Friday, February 6, 2009

Petite Tres Leches Cakes w/Mexican Chocolate Sauce

It's been a busy month:

*Recipe development and photo shoot for a national organic dairy company
* Tour and conference with a local school district executive: Long term goal of improving school lunches and community perception of the lunch program (try, just TRY to feed your family on $1.00 per person, and 26 cents of it should cover milk!)
*Guest Chef for the current Graduating class at CSR for the Professional Chef Trac Program . This is my 6th or 7th "Guest" appearance.
* We (another chef/mom) are in the early stages of Developing an "Edible Learning" program for our schools and community. The emphasis is on using local sustainable products, but also teaching school kids solid cooking techniques instead of recipes.
*Looking for an affordable mobile kitchen or converted bus to use in "Edible Learning" program. (If you happen to have an extra one collecting dust, please call me!)
* Lastly, I am trying to find commercial space to hold Advanced Teen Cooking classes over the summer. This coarse is a grueling 5 day culinary boot camp for 13-17 year olds. We do 5 courses (with sauces) in 3.5 hours each day. In addition to the meals, these kids setup the kitchen, do the dishes and break down the kitchen every day. Just like we do in culinary school. This is NOT a cookie/cupcake class. Once again, if you have a space collecting dust... call me!

So, on to the recipe.


We made these little gems for about 100 guests at the culinary school graduation. They were a huge hit. Unfortunately the photo does not show the small drizzle of Mexican Chocolate Sauce we had added right before serving. I will include the recipe, but you will have more chocolate sauce then you will actually use to finish the cakes. Leftovers taste great over ice cream, crepes, waffles, or straight on a spoon.
Also note, this is an overnight recipe.

Petite Tres Leches Cakes

Yield: about 30 muffin sized or 48 mini Muffin sized


1 1/2 cup CAKE flour (it comes in a box)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup whole milk

Los Tres Leches:
12 oz. evaporated milk
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup rum (optional: for an nice adult version)

1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
pinch, cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Butter muffin tins, or line with muffin liners

Combine cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. If flour is lumpy, run a whisk through mixture until all the lumps are gone.

Put egg whites in a medium bowl and beat them to a soft peak stage. With the mixer still running , slowly add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, mix milk, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice.

Now, pour 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/3 off milk mixture over the egg white and gently stir or mix on low speed until all the flour and milk are incorporated. Repeat this step until all the flour and milk are incorporated. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pans, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Tres Leches:
While cakes are baking combine tres leches mixture in a bowl or a pitcher.
When the cakes are done, use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over cakes. Pour tres leches mixture over hot cakes. Once the mixture has absorbed, repeat a second time. Chill the cakes overnight. They will be sticky and fragile**, so gently remove them from the pan with an off set cake spatula 
** If you are worried about being able to remove the cakes from the pan, you may take them out when they are hot, and put them in a glass baking dish before soaking them with milk.
***If you have any milk left over, it can be served the next day to guests who want more on their cakes; or you can use it for your french toast later in the week.

Meringue: Whisk eggs, sugar and cream of tarter in a heat proof bowl that fits easily over a pan of boiling water (make sure the bowl is not bigger then the pan, as the eggs will cook along side of the pan). Continue whisking the egg mixture until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture heats to 160 degree F. Remove bowl from the heat. Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites until light, fluffy and cool. About 8 minutes. Once cool, add vanilla. Use at once.

Mexican Chocolate Sauce:
1-2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 (3.3 oz.) disk of Mexican Chocolate (it comes in a yellow octagonal box), Chopped
1/4 cup strong coffee (coffee boost the flavor of chocolate)
2 TBL corn syrup or Agave nectar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1  strip of orange peel
1/4 cup heavy cream

Combine coffee, corn syrup, cinnamon, orange peel and heavy cream in a small sauce pan and bring mixture to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolates.  Let rest for 5 minutes. Stir mixture to completely combine. Taste. Add more corn syrup/agave nectar if needed.  The chocolate sauce should not be too sweet, as it adds balance to the cake and the meringue. Sauce should be very thin.

Assemble: After soaking overnight, place cakes onto serving plates. Pipe or spoon meringue decoratively over each cake. Get your blow torch out of the garage and lightly toast the tops of each cake. Drizzle each cake with 1 teaspoon of Mexican Chocolate Sauce, and add few berries to the plate.


Chef Deb T.

P.S. Here is a photo of miniature fruit tartlets w/passion fruit curd. If you look closely you can see we did not use those fussy tartlet pans (oh I despise them as much as turkey). We simply cut our shapes out and bake them flat, with parchment and another sheet pan on top. The results are more modern and you do not have to waste money on pans you will most likely loose in your junk drawer! I took this photo in the middle of production, so they have not been glazed or finished, but you get the general idea.