May 28, 2008

Bossy Has This Trick Up Her Sleeve. Except It’s Not Really Up Her Sleeve. Because Ew.


When preparing for her recent graduation bash, Bossy took many of your excellent party food suggestions—like chicken satay and meatballs and pesto tortellini and pigs in blankets—and Bossy has this to say: with a little wood glue, the sheer number of toothpicks employed at her party could be repurposed into a second-story addition.

But when it came to the graduation party dessert, Bossy knew what she was going to make because she has a trick up her sleeve—and that trick is called Pastel Tres Leches, which is Spanish and means Three-Milk Cake. Apparently the name Luscious Diabetic Coma was taken. Shall we begin?

Oh, before we begin, here’s a little fact you should know: this cake is best if prepared the day ahead of its consumption. Or you could be like Bossy the first time she made the cake and not read the recipe ahead of time, and only when she was up to her elbows in leches did she see the last sentence, “Prepare the cake the day before and keep refrigerated,” which made her shed salty tears into the mixed ingredients, transforming the dessert into Pastel Tres Leches con Lágrimas Saladas.

Shall we? First turn on your favorite tunes. Bossy is fairly certain some people can cook without the benefit of music, just like they can probably clean without music, but that’s pure conjecture because for Bossy music and housework go hand-in-hand. Kind of like tres and leches.


The first thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Actually this is not the first thing Bossy does, because we all know Bossy turns on her music first. And preheating the oven isn’t even the second thing Bossy does, because Bossy knows that it takes approximately forever to prepare this cake, and she doesn’t want to waste gas on an oven that’s sitting there all hot with nothing inside of it. So maybe the real first thing you need to do is line the bottom of a 9 x 14 x 2” pan with parchment paper:


Next sift together 2 cups of flour with 6 teaspoons of baking powder and set aside.


Next you want to separate the whites from the yolks of 9 eggs.



Now it’s time for your Kitchen Aid Mixer. Bossy is sorry, did she fail to mention you need a mixer for this cake? Buying a Kitchen Aid should really be step one, ahead of the music and even the parchment paper. Actually Bossy made this cake a dozen times with only a hand mixer and a case of carpal tunnel syndrome, but she figured the cost of the eventual orthopedic surgery would far outweigh that of a little old standing mixer, so she bought one.

Here’s what you want to do: add a pinch of salt to your 9 egg whites and beat them until blurry stiff:


Then carefully pour that mixture into another vessel so you can dump your 9 egg yolks into the mixing bowl, adding a pinch of salt, and beat until lighter in color. At this point add 2 cups of sugar to the egg yolks, a little at a time:


Beat the egg yolk and sugar mixture on high for 7 minutes. Seven. Minutes. Note: this does not mean six minutes. Or even five.

Then using a rubber. Spatula. Gently fold your stiff egg whites into the creamy yolks and Bossy is sorry but are we still talking about dessert?


Next using a wooden spoon, gently fold in the sifted flour mixture one tablespoon at a time. Note: this does not mean two tablespoons at a time, or even three at a time:


When this mixture is fully incorporated, pour it into your cake pan lined with parchment paper. Did Bossy forget to remind you when it was a good idea to preheat your oven to 350 degrees? Right, preheat the oven when you are incorporating the flour into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Sometimes the cake will be very liquid toward the middle, the trick is not taking it out too soon but you also don’t want it to be completely solidified in the center or the cake will be overdone. Good luck with all of that.

While you are waiting for the cake to bake, you must busy yourself with the preparation of the milks, which serve to moisten and saturate the finished cake:


In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of heavy cream, and Bossy knows: that’s already like four milks. Next add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

As soon as the cake is out of the oven, turn it upside down onto a serving platter. Remove your parchment paper and prick tons of holes into the cake using a knife:


Next slowly pour your quatro tres leches mixture over the cake, allowing the cream to settle around each prick, and Bossy is sorry but are we still talking about baked goods?


It’s at this point that you must refrigerate the cake overnight, allowing the cake to absorb all of the surrounding calories liquid.

The next day you will need to prepare the topping. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of sugar.


Once you have beaten that mixture stiff, you will need one of these:


Spoon the topping into the piping bag:


You can decorate the cake however you like. Bossy begins by piping lines along the length of the cake:


And then she pipes a few lines down the sides and along the bottom edges:


Then Bossy fills in every available space with more lines because wasted topping? And then Bossy begins the application of her fresh raspberries:


And then Bossy applies a few more raspberries and then a few more and a few more, all the while contemplating who put the “p” in Raspberries.

Your finished Pastel Tres Leches should be stored in the fridge until serving. And by the way, while at Home Depot purchasing kitchen skylights and the cattle ranch, you may want to pick up a padlock for your refrigerator door.


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