This is my cousin Nancy. She just graduated from St. Mary’s College in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I lived in San Francisco we would get together and sip tea, build furniture, eat crepes and watch horrible movies on my Murphy bed.
One gloomy afternoon we made Fleur de Sel caramels, which were so silky and sweet that once you ate one you couldn’t possibly be NOT eating one and we ate at least two each. And when I say two, I mean eight, and when I say eight… I mean twenty. And when I say twenty I mean the we ate the whole tray. Just Clarifying.
Nancy, besides being an astute kitchen helper – bares strange resemblance to the star/director of a fabulous Lebanese movie, like twilight zone resemblance. The movie is called Caramel – I can’t handle all these coincidences. The stars aligned and Nancy and I made caramels.
She also looks exactly like her mom – but that’s another story.
For Nancy’s birthday I make her favorite cake, Tres Leches, but of course I made it with 5 kinds of milk instead of just 3, why settle?
Writing that sentence just made me realize something about myself. I do this thing… I make up a certain recipe and then I will only make it for that occasion. For example, Nancy’s birthday cake, can only be made on Nancy’s birthday. Superbowl Nachos - only for the superbowl. You get it. I understand that it is devious, because I give people a little taste and then I make them crave it all year. I like to give them something to look forward to, you know? Besides… I am the only one who can make it so they have to come to me. You can call it a power trip if you want, whatever, I’m still not making the nachos.
Ok, ok. I sometimes brake down and make exceptions, so here it is ladies – Nancy’s birthday cake, no where near September 13th. Enjoy!
Your first step is to make dulce de leche. Put about half a cup of condensed milk into a ramekin and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Place that ramekin in a water bath and then cook in a 425° oven for about an hour, checking every once and awhile to mix. It is done when it is brown and caramely. Whisk until smooth. I am getting a little flutter in my stomach that says this should be a post of its own. You can substitute caramel sauce in a pinch.
Next you bake the cake, pretty much a standard cake recipe, except it is a little heavy on the eggs. Do your thing – You know – preheat at 350°, grease the pan, beat the eggs until fluffy, and gradually add in the sugar. Cream the butter then alternate wet and dry ingredients. Bake for 25 minutes, toothpick, cooling rack. You got this.
Now the fun part. Cut the cake into pieces, you won’t be able to slice it once it soaks. I like to cut them with a round cookie cutter, making discs about three inches across. Good for layering with sliced bananas, strawberries, peaches and fresh whipped cream. Set the cake pieces into a baking dish and pour all of the milks in so that they cover the piece of cake halfway.
Let soak for at least four hours or overnight.
To plate this cake I recommend staking one layer of cake, then some fresh whipped cream, sliced fruit and then a little dulce de leche drizzle. Repeat at least twice.
I’m so proud of you Nanoosa!! Congratulations!