It is quite obvious that I love to bake. From cakes to cookies, from bread to pies, I love it all. Last year I got a lot more serious about my hobby, as I went through the process of screening for the Great American Baking Show (you can read about it here, in case you missed it). When that did not materialize I kept searching for an outlet for my baking, something that would keep me focused on it and help me improve. It took a bit long, but I’ve finally found it: Common Table, a meal for homeless people organized by volunteers and churches from our town. They serve meals a few times each week, I’ve been taking my bakes on Fridays. It is the most rewarding and satisfying thing I’ve done in a while. I enjoy everything about it, planning what to take, baking, and finally delivering my bakes in the meal room, at 17:45hs, when folks are starting to arrive. I had no idea so many people rely on this type of charity to get by. Probably the only chance they have for a decent meal. I feel lucky to be able to help.
I share today the recipe I took on my first participation (April 26th) and after that a list of what I’ve made so far. It would be pointless to blog on each of them, unless I wanted my blog to turn into a baking site at the expense of general cooking, which is not my intention.
COCONUT TRES LECHES CAKE
(adapted from this recipe)
for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour (130 g)
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided (215 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk (82 g)
for soaking after baking:
6 oz coconut milk (1/2 can, well-shaken)
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
for the icing:
1 pint heavy cream
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high-speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
Combine condensed milk, coconut milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1/3 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. I actually allowed it to sit in the fridge overnight, lightly covered with aluminum foil. To ice the cake, whip the heavy cream with the sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake, you might not need all the amount made, but a thick layer of icing should be your goal. Decorate cake if you like, with toppings of your choice. Cut into squares and serve.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I chose this cake for my first contribution to Common Table because it was by far the most popular cake I’ve ever made to our department. I was curious about adding a hint of coconut to it, and when I tried a bit of the cake trimmings, I knew it was going to be another winner. It was very well-received in that meal. If you like Tres Leches, try this version, you won’t be disappointed.
And now, let me share the bakes I’ve made since then…
Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars
Raspberry-Rose Petit Fours
Chocolate Cake Pops
Chocolate Raspberry Celebration Cake
(a smaller version of this one)
Chocolate Blood Orange Curd Cake
Come to think of it, it’s clear I’ve been playing the chocolate tune quite strongly…
Must add a bit more variety from now on.
ONE YEAR AGO: The Daisy, a Bread with Brioche Alter-Ego
TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin, Braciole Style
THREE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Buckle
FOUR YEARS AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner
FIVE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin
SIX YEARS AGO: Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen
SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.
NINE YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin