You can read all about how this blog came to be on my inspiration page here. Today, however, I want to celebrate what this blog has come to be over this past first year: a virtual space to make real connections, and a truly wonderful (not to mention delicious) creative outlet. To celebrate - creatively and calorically, I made a Tres Leches birthday cake: a threesome of milks mingling atop a bed of almond-flour sponge cake, filled out with billowy whipped cream, plump, juicy blackberries and fragrant toasted coconut.
I was intrigued to learn that the Tres Leches cake is of uncertain origin. Hypotheses abound for how it might have started out: Nestle's Mexican branch printed the recipe on the side of their condensed milk cans in the late 1800s; Nicaraguan grandmothers reconstituted dry cake with a triple milk bath and everyone ate it up; Latin America borrowed from the European tradition of 'soaking cakes' like British rum cake, tiramisu, or trifle. Tres Leches cake has been a longtime favourite in Latin-American kitchens, and eaten con mucho gusto (with pleasure) by anyone who tries a bite.
For the sponge, egg whites are whipped with sugar until stiff. The yolks are tossed in, one at a time, along with vanilla and coconut extracts to perfume, followed by the almond flour and some baking powder and whole milk. The cake puffs up and hollows out invitingly when baked, creating the ideal location for the three milks to get intimately acquainted.
The smell of the baking cake will deliciously cling to your body and you may notice people standing a little closer than usual. When I went to bed, my sheets smelled of it too - sweet dreams, indeed!
The sponge cake lustily drinks in the triple-milk sauce to moisten every crumb. Watching this happen borders on culinary voyeurism.
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This year of blogging boudoir-style has seen me practicing safe synonyms, exploring erotic metaphor and contemplating the carnal implications of many an ingredient or kitchen implement.
I have my dear friend S. to thank for getting me started with this blog, and have had much help along the way:
I have turned to Marvin Gaye to set the mood.
I have visited the sites of the bloggers I have met online for 'visual stimulation,' and have even been known to turn down the lights and blog in my peignoir when faced with a case of writer's block. True story.
I especially would like to thank my friend T., who has generously given his time and expertise this past year to design, edit, taste-test and encourage a certain standard for the blog.
To all who have visited my Kitchen Boudoir either physically or virtually - I am so very grateful (especially to those of you with the 'difficult' task of eating what I made. My pant size thanks you.).
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When it came to eating this post's birthday Tres Leches cake, the volunteers voiced such 'complaints' as:
"That slice clearly isn't big enough. Keep... Moving... The... Knife... Over."
"I'm eating a threesome!"
"This bite brings to mind some things that happened in Mexico that are staying in Mexico."
and, my personal favourite:
"For the sake of this cake, I will momentarily ignore the fact that I am gay and ask for your hand in marriage."
This cake, with its ménage-à-tres-leches, successfully celebrates what I have come to recognize as the mandate of The Kitchen Boudoir: to inspire appetites of every kind. Enjoy!
TRES LECHES CAKE WITH BLACKBERRIES & COCONUT (NATURALLY GLUTEN-FREE) - recipe inspired by Ideya NYC
OVEN: 350 F
For the Cake:
3 eggs, separated
3/4 CUP sugar
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/2 TSP coconut extract
1 CUP almond flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 CUP whole milk
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar. When stiff peaks form, add egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the extracts. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour and baking powder. Add to whipped egg mixture, alternating with milk, mixing until just combined. Pour into greased and floured 10" springform pan. Bake at 350 F for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden and no longer jiggly in the centre.
1 CAN sweetened condensed milk
1 CAN evaporated milk
1 CUP whole milk or heavy cream
For the Toppings:
1 CUP whipping cream
2 TBSP confectioner's sugar
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 1/2 CUPS blackberries
1/4 CUP toasted coconut flakes
In a stand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form, slowly adding the sugar and vanilla extract. Spread on top of the refrigerated cake and decorate with blackberries and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until ready to serve.