The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 13 Challenges.
Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).
So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!
I’ve made it to the showstopper of week 4! It feels like a long time coming! And the showstopper is… drumroll please… Tres Leches cake! This showstopper challenge gained a lot of heat when the show aired. Everyone on the show made a tiered Tres Leches cake but traditional Tres Leches is not a cake to be tiered.
Normally, Tres Leches cake is only one tier. I decided to stick more traditional and make a sheet cake Tres Leches. That does not mean that I did not decorate it thought! A showstopper has still got to look stunning!
Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from the series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
So, I know that Tres Leches has something to do with three types of milks (and no I did not think to look it up). But my brain did not realize that it would mean evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. The rest of the cake did not have any really interesting non-typically cake ingredients. Although it did use a lot of eggs.
For the decorations, I thought that fresh fruit would be a good idea because I wanted to keep a fresh vibe going for the cake. I didn’t add any special flavors to the cake or frosting because I really wanted to go traditional on this one.
The Tres Leches Batter
The first thing I had to do is make the cake batter. For some reason, I decided to do a lot of this by hand. And this first thing was to combine the dry ingredients of the Tres Leches Cake. Since I was not planning on using a stand mixer to combine everything, I took extra care in sifting the flour. I did not want to find any flour clumps in the final cake!
Then I whipped together some of the sugar and the egg yolks. And this is when I started questioning why I decided to do this by hand. Whipping anything by hand can be very difficult. And a major workout for my arms. But once I start something, I become determined to finish it… For some weird reason. I added a few more wet ingredients and combined them all together.
After that it was time to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. I wanted them to be just combined into each other. Doing this by hand does prevent overmixing which is a good thing.
There was only one step that I used the stand mixer for. And that was whipping the egg whites. I needed to achieve stiff peaks using a combination of egg whites and sugar. And I was not about to do that by hand.
The last step in making the Tres Leches batter was to fold the egg whites into the main mixture. I wanted to make sure the egg whites were no longer visible in the batter before pouring it into the pan.
Baking and Adding the “Tres Leches”
Once the batter was in the pan, it was time to go into the oven. One interesting thing of note that I should point out is that this recipe specifically called out not to grease the pan. Which I found odd. But I wondered if there was enough fat in the cake to prevent it from sticking.
While the cake was baking, I decided to mix together the Tres Leches of the Tres Leches cake. It was extremely simple. I poured evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk into a bowl and mixed it together. That was it.
After the cake was done baking, I let the whole thing cool before stabbing it with a fork several times. I wanted to make a ton of tiny holes in the cake. I was trying to make sure that these holes were deep into the cake but did not go all the way through. Too deep of holes would allow Tres Leches to travel through the sponge and right out of the bottom.
Then I poured the Tres Leches mixture onto the cake, I did this in batches because I did not want to create a piddled mess on top of the cake. I wanted to give the Tres Leches a moment to really sink in and soak into al of the sponge. And soak it did. Although some of the Tres Leches Mixture did sink straight to the bottom (around the edges). To really let the mixture soak, I let the cake sit for several hours.
From what I could tell, whipped cream is a classic topping for a Tres Leches cake. So, I put whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into a bowl and let the stand mixer do it’s thing. I was not about to do this by hand. I might be crazy, but I do not think that I’m that crazy.
The fresh fruit that I wanted to use for decoration was also prepared. I only had pineapple and strawberries to work with. I had wanted to get mango as well but I could not find any in my local grocery store. For the pineapple. I tried to cut it into triangle like chunks. They ended up being more rhombus in shape. I probably should have trimmed them up a bit, but I was just going on autopilot as I cut up the fruit.
The strawberries were kept whole. I thought about cutting them into slices for a moment, but I decided that the whole strawberries provided a better look than they would have sliced. Then I turned out the cake onto a tray, layered the whipped cream and placed the fruit into a decorative sun-like pattern. I think it turned out pretty!
While I like the way the Tres Leches cake turned out, I still think I could have done better in hindsight. But I always say that… Maybe I overestimated my abilities. But if I don’t push myself, then I won’t be able to grow! Or, at least, that is the positive spin that I am going to try to put on this one.
A part of me does wish that I got a little more adventurous with the flavor of the cake, Tres Leches, or whipped creamed because I am not the biggest Tres Leches fan. I’m not sure why but one of the milks just does not suit my tastes when in its natural form (I know I like all of them when cooked into other things though!).
Let it Soak
When soaking a liquid into a sponge or a cake, the more time you give it to soak, the more the liquid will weave through the sponge. Giving the cake a lot of wholes will also allow for the liquid to find more surface area. This is a process where patience will bring great rewards!
Classic Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon salt
- 5 Eggs separated
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ⅓ cup Whole Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 12- ounce evaporated milk
- 14- ounce sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ Cup Whole Milk
- 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3 Tablespoon Powdered sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups pineapple chopped into triangles
- 1 cup strawberries
Tres Leches Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, add ¾ cup sugar and egg yolks and mix until pale and fluffy. Add whole milk and vanilla extract. Pour wet mix into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- In another large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks are achieved. Mix in ¼ cup sugar. Fold egg whites into the main mixture until fully combined.
- Pour batter into an ungreased pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake that go deep into the cake but do not go completely through it.
- In a medium bowl, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk. Pour milk onto the cake and let soak for as long as possible (overnight).
- Whip together heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks are achieved.
- Turn cake out of pan. Place a layer of whipped cream on top of the cake. Decorate with pineapples and strawberries (or other fresh fruits)