Cuatro Leches Vanilla Mantecado Cake

  • Serves: Makes two 9- x 2-inch cake layers
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 27376
  • Comments: 155

Variation: Panque de Limon Cake




Layered Mantecada Vanilla Sponge Cake, soaked in Cuatro Leches Sauce. Topped with Swiss Meringue and dotted with Arequipe Caramel Reduction. Served with extra Tres Leches Sauce and Arequipe Caramel.

Ever heard of stand out dessert, the Cuatro Leches Cake? It is a made from the basic Tres leches cake or Pastel Tres leches cake (Spanish, "Three milk cake"), or a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream, with the addition of the fourth milk being caramelized, also known as dulce de leche. Every Central and South American country claims it as its own.
SARAH SAYS: The original recipe comes from Chef Dunia Berga, La Duni Latin Cafe, Dallas, Texas There are errors in her cake recipe and any published versions, which was fixed here with the help of theCraftyBaking.com members. I also wrote much improved flour measuring technique and instructions, and the cake bakes much lighter and more successfully! Kelly's Dulce De Leche recipe completes the recipe's success! Plus, we cut down some of the recipe's original proportions to make it right and we added in a filling recipe!
CAKE RECIPE HELP

Fearless Baker, Premium Member, Says: "isn't this one of the best cakes ever! I have made it so many times that I dream about it. There are just so many great recipes here. I luv the idea of using the crockpot. It's always a good idea to have a can already done to keep in the refrigerator for ice cream and brownies and...."

Sarah's
Secrets

My latest blog post for the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/info/cake/
June 15, 2010 9:54 AM ET Ever heard of a stand-out dessert called the Cuatro Leches Cake? It is a made from the basic Tres leches cake or Pastel Tres leches cake (Spanish for "Three milk" cake), or a sponge cake; all are soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. The caramelized fourth milk, also known as dulce de leche, is then added. Every Central and South American country claims it as its own. Sarah Phillips, founder, CraftyBaking.com, a baking advice and recipe site

STEP I: MAKE THE VANILLA MANTECADA CAKE
VANILLA MANTECADA CAKE 
Makes two, 9- x 2-inch sponge cake layers. Can also use 8 x 2-inch pans.

INGREDIENTS
unbleached all purpose flour: 3 cups; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim / 13.23 ounces / 375 grams
baking powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons / 7.35 grams
salt: 1/4 teaspoon / 1.5 grams

milk: 1 liquid cup / 8.5 ounces / 242 grams; cold - does not have to be at room temperature
vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon / 4 grams

unsalted butter: 1 cup (2 sticks) / 1/2 pound (8 ounces) / 226 grams; cold - does not have to be at room temperature
sugar: 2 cups / 14 ounces / 400 grams
eggs, cracked: 4 large / 7 ounces / 200 grams; cold - does not have to be at room temperature

two, 9-inch parchment paper liners

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 9-inch, preferably light colored, heavy NOT nonstick pans. Place greased parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.
(If you use dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F).



2. After measuring, sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl and set aside.




Add the vanilla extract to the milk, stir and set aside.


3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on low until softened.
SARAH SAYS: If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters - taking about 60 seconds.


4. Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until light yellow and fluffy.


Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.


5. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition.
After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes.
If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters.
Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.


6. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour.
Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter.
SARAH SAYS: If the milk is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together when you add the flour.


7. After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.
Then, let the mixer run for 30 seconds on LOW. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix.


8. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.


9. Bake for about 40 minutes until the center of the cakes feels firm when lightly touched in the center. The cakes will also smell done. Remove cakes to cool on wire rack to cool in their pans.
NOTE: The 8 x 2-inch pans take 45 minutes to bake.


STORAGE
If you want to keep your unfrosted cake layers, freeze them wrapped first in plastic wrap, then in foil, and finally in an airtight container. It will keep for 2 to 3 months.

II. MAKE THE DULCE DE LECHE (DDL)
CROCKPOT DULCE DE LECHE (DDL) - THICK VERSION / Recipe alone
Makes about 1 cup

I am now IN LOVE with this method. It is absolutely painless, easy and fool-proof. The resulting ddl is absolutely DELICIOUS. I couldn't stop licking the spoon!

INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1 crockpot
Hot tap water to cover
 
KELLY SAYS: Yup, that's all you need to make your own perfect dulce de leche at home!

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Remove paper label from a can of sweetened condensed milk.
 

2. Place can in center of crock pot.
 

3. Cover can with hot tap water, making sure to have AT LEAST an inch or two of water over the top of the can.
 

3. Place cover on the crockpot and turn it on the LOW setting. Set timer for 8 hours and let the crockpot work its magic.
KELLY SAYS: I let mine cook while I was sleeping. When I woke up, it was done.
 

4. After 8 hours, turn the crockpot OFF and let can cool in the hot water for about two hours, and then remove the can from the crockpot with a pair of tongs.

5. Open can with a can opener and prepare to be amazed.
 

KELLY SAYS: TA DAH!!!
 

6. The resulting dulce de leche is very thick and creamy. I found that the dulce de leche on the top and bottom of the can was thicker than the middle, so, I think it is best to remove it all from the can, and force it through a sieve so it is evenly creamy and smooth.
KELLY SAYS: WARNING: There will be a very thick layer on the bottom of the can. This layer has a bit of a sugary crystalline texture. It is best to leave this layer in the can, so the final product has a silky smooth mouth-feel.


STORAGE
Keep refrigerated, well covered for about 5 days.

III. MAKE THE AREQUIPE SAUCE
AREQUIPE SAUCE 
INGREDIENTS
1 recipe Dulce de leche (see STEP II, above): 1 cup
warmed whole or 2% milk: 1/2 liquid cup / 4.25 ounces / 121 grams

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Scrap the Dulce de leche into a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk all ingredients and refrigerate until well chilled.


2. Add the warmed milk.


3. Whisk all of the ingredients together.


4. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

STORAGE
Keeps for a few days, refrigerated. Stir before using.

IV. MAKE THE TRES LECHES SAUCE
TRES LECHES SAUCE 
INGREDIENTS
evaporated milk: 1 liquid cup / 8.5 ounces / 242 grams
condensed milk: 1 liquid cup / 8.5 ounces / 242 grams
heavy whipping cream: 1 liquid cup / 8.12 ounces / 232 grams

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a medium size bowl, pour all of the milk ingredients.


2. Whisk all ingredients together and cover and refrigerate until well chilled.


STORAGE
Keeps for a few days, refrigerated. Stir before using.

V. MAKE THE CARAMELIZED MERINGUE TOPPING
CARAMELIZED MERINGUE TOPPING / Recipe alone
INGREDIENTS
sugar: 2 cups / 14 ounces / 400 grams
lemon juice: 1 tablespoon / 15 grams
about 8 large egg whites: 1 liquid cup / 8.5 ounces / 240 grams
vanilla extract: 1/2 teaspoon / 2 grams
water: 1/2 liquid cup / 4.17 ounces / 118 grams

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, fitted with a candy thermometer, bring water and sugar under medium-high heat, to a softball temperature, 240 degrees F.
NOTE: Stir to dissolve the sugar after adding the water, and then do not stir again.


Clamp on or insert the Candy Thermometer once the mixture begins to boil. Adjust the heat as necessary, but the mixture must continue to boil rapidly.
Do not move the pot or stir the sugar mixture afterwards:


Brush down the sides of the pan with water a couple of times, to keep crystals from forming.
Dip the brush in fresh water everytime before using.


2. In a mixer bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.


3. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the sugar syrup at the side of the bowl.


4. Once all is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high, add lemon juice and vanilla and beat until hard peaks form.


STORAGE
Use right away in the recipe; does not store well.

STEP VI: ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT
1, 8-inch baked and cooled STEP I. VANILLA MANTECADA CAKE
3/4 cup, STEP III: AREQUIPE SAUCE
1 cup, STEP IV: THREE LECHES SAUCE
1 recipe, V. CARAMELIZED MERINGUE
1/2 cup powdered sugar, or more, for dusting; sifted
Blow torch assembly* to brown the meringue, pastry brush, knife, sifter, spatula, three 8-inch cardboard cake round, cake platter
NOTE: A blow torch assembly is not essential. You can oven-brown the meringue. See directions below.

INSTRUCTIONS
Unmold the cake layers:
1. Turn cakes from their pans, each onto a cardboard cake round.

2. Carefully peel the parchment paper from the bottom of each.

Start with one layer. Set the second, untorted layer aside:
1. Tort (slice) the first cake into two even layers.


2. Place each cut layer on a cardboard cake round, cut cake side up.
Pierce the cake side of cut layers all over with the tines of a fork.


Use the Tres Leches Sauce as a soaking syrup in between the torted layers:
1. With a pastry brush, apply TRES LECHES SAUCE to the cake side of each cut layer.
Use about 6-ounces, total.


2. Carefully, place its matching top layer on top.


Fill the cake in between the torted layers with Caramelized Meringue:
1. Fill a large pastry bag with a large open star tip and fill with the Caramelized Meringue.


2. Pipe a dam around the edge of the first stacked layer, and then spoon on some of the meringue, and spread in an even layer.
NOTE: I used strips of waxed paper on my cake stand to help keep it clean during the icing process.



Tort the second layer and stack:
1. Tort (slice) the second cake into two even layers.

2. Place each cut layer on a cardboard cake round, cut cake side up.
Pierce the cake side of cut layers all over with the tines of a fork.

Use the Tres Leches Sauce as a soaking syrup in between the torted layers:
1. With a pastry brush, apply TRES LECHES SAUCE to the cake side of each cut layer.
Use about 6-ounces, total.

2. Stack the bottom layer of the second set of the torted layer on top.

3. Place its matching top layer on top.

Ice and decorate the cake:
1. Ice the cake with the CARAMELIZED MERINGUE, about 1/2-inch thick. Make sure it's smooth.


NOTE: Remove the waxed paper strips.

2. Pipe a decorative border around the bottom edge of the cake.

3. NOTE: I added some decorative S-curves, shells and puffs. I left the center of the cake open, because I knew I was going to garnish the center with fresh fruit.

NOTE: If the meringue is starting to get soft, refrigerate the cake, uncovered for about 15 minutes, and no longer.

Brown the meringue and finish the cake:
Torch the meringue, with the blow torch, until light golden brown, taking care not to burn it.
NOTE: When you are torching the cake, move quickly, because the meringue can burn, if you leave it in one spot for too long.
Also, be careful of any little tips on your decorations, they can burn in an instant.

NOTE: If you do not have a blow torch, you can oven-brown the meringue:
Place the baking rack on the middle level. 15 minutes before you plan to brown the cake, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the cake on a baking pan and place in the oven. Bake till meringue is nicely browned. This may take anywhere from 4-6 minutes, depending on your oven.
WATCH YOUR CAKE THE ENTIRE TIME.

2. Drizzle the browned cake with AREQUIPE SAUCE and dust with powdered sugar.


3. Optionally decorate with fresh fruit. Chill for about an hour and serve immediately with extra Tres Leches Sauce and Arequipe Caramel.

STORAGE
The cake must be kept refrigerated because it is soaked with fresh milk. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.

VARIATION
Panque de Limon
Chef Dunia serves a version of this cake called Panque de Limon:
It's a Mantecado Vanilla Sponge Cake, recipe above; Layered with Fresh Lemon CurdTopped with Caramelized Meringue Topping, recipe above; embellished with Candied Lemon Peel: Served with Raspberry Puree.




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