Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mango Tres Leches Cake

Almost Friday!  It has been a long week around here….Friday can’t come soon enough.  Paisley, Chris and I have had coughs….but only at night.  I don’t understand that.  Why can’t the coughing only be done during the day, so that it doesn’t keep everyone up?   And Paisley’s is especially barky.  I love the sound of baby seals at night.  I’m kidding, I don’t.  It is awful.  But enough about poor me, or poor Paisley I guess…..
I decided to finish up my Mexican themed couple of weeks by making a Mexican dessert, a Mango Tres Leches Cake.  This is a dessert that I have made in the past, quite a few times.  In fact, I went through a phase where I only made this cake.  Your birthday?  Here is a Tres Leches Cake.  You got a new job?  Here is your Tres Leches Cake.  Having a baby?  You get the point.  But I hadn’t made one in a long time so I decided to kick it old school and bring back the Tres Leche.
Tres Leche means “three milks”.  And I know this because I took 3 whole years of Spanish in high school.  In fact, those might be the only two words that I learned.  I struggled with Spanish, and there is a strong chance that I only passed because I always knew the TA (teacher’s assistant).  My apologies to Senor Evans for not paying better attention.  Or rather, mis disculpas;)
Essentially, a tres leches cake is a sponge cake that is soaked in a syrup of three milks.  I will show you how to make the cake first.  For the cake, I used cake flour, sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, baking powder, salt, vanilla, mango nectar and diced mango.
Cake flour is softer than regular all-purpose flour.  It more finely milled and has less gluten so it produces a more tender cake….so say the geniuses on the internet.  I tend to use cake flour whenever I am making a white cake.  You can get it anywhere.
I couldn’t find fresh mango here in Reno.  I am sure that some stores have it, I just didn’t feel like searching so I used frozen mango.  I defrosted it and dried it on paper towels.
I mixed the dry ingredients together first, which is just the flour, salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, I beat together the oil, sugar and vanilla extract just until blended.

Then, I beat in the eggs one at a time.  Ok, actually I started to do that but by the 3rd egg….I just poured in the rest.  Do as I say, not as I do.
Once that was all blended, I slowly added the dry into the wet, beating it the whole time.  I also stirred in the mango nectar and mango chunks.  Before I added the mango chunks, I stirred a little bit of flour into them to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
Making a cake from scratch really isn’t that much different than making one from a mix.  With a mix, they combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt for you…and some flavorings.  You still have to add your own eggs and oil. I mean really, not that big of a difference.  So please don’t ever think you can’t make a cake from scratch.  Rant done.
I poured my batter into a 13x9 that I greased and floured.  You could always just use cooking spray.  I don’t invert this cake onto a different platter.  I leave it in the baking pan.  I like to keep all the syrup in the cake. I don’t want any of it leaking out.  You will see the syrup soon…..
I baked the cake for about 30 minutes on 325 degrees.
When the cake comes out of the oven, I let it cool for about 30 minutes.  Then, I poke it all over with a skewer.  This will give the syrup somewhere to go.  It would soak into the cake anyway, this just helps it out.
Here come the three milks!  I used evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and a bit more of my mango nectar.
FYI-you might have to look in your “Latin Foods” aisle for mango nectar…..
I stirred the milks (and mango nectar) together.  You have to really make sure the condensed milk blends in as it is quite viscous.  Don’t ever say I don’t use big words.
I slowly pour the syrup over the cake, letting it soak in a bit as I pour.  Then, I pop the cake in the fridge for a few hours to let the syrup do its thang;)
Frosting this cake is super easy.  I use the rest of the heavy cream to make basic whipped cream.  I sweetened it with a smidge of powdered sugar and some rum extract.  You could always use more vanilla extract here instead of rum.  No sense in buying two different extracts.  I just happen to have every extract ever created in my pantry.  I heart extracts.
Once the cake has been in the fridge for a few hours, I frost it with the whipped cream and serve!  I top the individual pieces with the remaining mango.  Do that as you serve it.  If you top the whole cake with the mango, it will “bleed” into the whipped cream.  It is just too wet of a fruit.
This cake is seriously amazing.  You definitely never have to worry about having a dry cake with this recipe;) 
I might start only making this cake again.  If I owe you a cake…prepare to be eating a mango tres leche cake.  You will love it.  If I don’t owe you a cake, which I am pretty positive I don’t have any outstanding cakes right now, make it yourself.  It is easy and delicious.  You will love it!
Mango Tres Leches Cake
1 and ½ cups cake flour divided
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
½ cup mango nectar
8 ounces diced frozen mango, defrosted and chopped
6 ounces evaporated milk
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup mango nectar
1 and ½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons rum extract
Remaining chopped mango for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 13xp baking pan.
Stir together 1 and ½ cups flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together sugar, oil and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. 
Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet.  Once blended, stir in mango nectar.  Add remaining flour to mango chunks and stir mango mixture into cake batter.
Pour cake batter into greased pan and bake at 325 for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cake cool for 30 minutes.
After cake has cooled slightly, poke all over with a skewer.  Mix together ingredients for syrup and pour over cake.  Place cake in the refrigerator for 3 hours to let syrup soak in.
For topping:
With a hand mixer, beat together cream, powdered sugar, and rum extract until soft peaks form.  Spread over cake.  Top cake slices with remaining mango.


  1. Can you please clarify the flour amounts? It calls for 1 and 1/2 cups flour, divided. It then calls for that amount to be mixed with the other dry ingredients and the remaining flour (which there was none) to be added to the mango mixture. Can you please help? Thanks!

    1. Oops! Thanks for catching the mistake! And reminding me about this cake....now I want to make it!! I would just mix the mango chunks with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flour (the 1 1/2 cups). Just enough to coat them. Hope this helps!