Apparently, I can bake.
Not really - basically, I can follow a recipe and not burn the pastry. During my senior year of high school, I was obsessed with baking cakes - not from scratch, but from a box, then making the icing from scratch.
I love icing.
The most disgusting part, though, was that the basis of the icing recipe was Crisco. CRISCO. Basically, artificial lard...and I wonder why I gained so much weight that year...
I found a recipe once for mini cheesecakes that used swirled semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. I wanted to bake them but I knew that I could not eat them all myself, so I shared some with my family and then took the rest to Kennywood to share with my bosses there (now former bosses, since I now work in a different department).
They were a total hit. I made them several more times and took them to Kennywood. One of my former bosses STILL asks me, 4 years later, "When are you going to make more of those cheesecakes?" as it has been about 2 years since I brought them in last.
I just made something that tops those. They even top the Vegan Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting that I made over the summer.
My brother visits Disney World at least twice a year, and usually Disneyland at least once a year. I haven't been there myself in 6 years, and that was on a trip with him over my school's spring break (when I worked at Penn Hills, and we got a full week off for Easter - oh, those were the days...) After one of his recent trips, he made me aware of a book entitled Delicious Disney Desserts, which features dessert recipes from the many restaurants in the Disney Parks. He saw the book in the store, browsed through it, and discovered a recipe for Tres Leches Cake from the recipe used at the Rancho de Zocalo restaurant in Disneyland. He said I had to make it.
But he didn't buy me the book. He said it was too expensive for one recipe. Um, like I can't bake more than one thing?!
Luckily, I was able to Google the book and find the recipe on one of the Disney Parks Blogs. Click here for the recipe.
The recipe is intended to be a cake, but with my recent cupcake obsession (see posts on Dozen Bake Shop, Kribel's Bakery, and Sugar Cafe), I decided to experiment a bit. I followed the recipe, but made them into cupcakes instead. This was a bit messier than I thought, but the taste...oh my...
|Messy, but delicious. Pouring the 3 milk mixture into the cupcakes.|
I'm not a big fan of meringue, so I opted for the whipped icing in lieu of the meringue icing. What a fabulous choice! I have found that the better the vanilla, the better the taste of any recipe that calls for vanilla, so I went with my Mexican Vanilla Extract from Penzey's Spices (also because of the word "Mexican" in the name - this is a popular Hispanic dessert, after all). The icing tasted like a vanilla milkshake from Dairy Queen - yes, a chain, but I miss having one close to me, as the one in Duquesne closed over a year ago.
The only problem was that I could not ice them beautifully as I wanted because my fancy decorator tool broke. Sad. So, pardon their messy appearance (I have purchased a new, electric icing tool at Sur La Table - on clearance! - since this tragic incident.)
|Tres Leches Cupcakes with Whipped Icing|
|Sweet. Moist. Rich.|
James decided to host a Taco Party recently - where he provided the tortillas and a filling, and others could bring their own fillings as well. Genius party concept, if I've ever heard one. I knew that there would be a lot of taco options, so James suggested that I make the dessert - and of course, he suggested a Tres Leches Cake.
The first time that I had ever tried Tres Leches Cake was on my visit to Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen, when I was able to steal a few bites off of a fellow diner's plate. It automatically became one of my top 3 desserts - ever. I hoped that I could live up to the reputation in my own baking experiment.
I had no problem with the idea of making this for the party, as I loved those cupcakes (and so did my brother - I had to take him some, since he suggested the recipe). I decided to make it as a cake - not cupcakes - this time, so that people could cut pieces as large or small as they wanted:
|Final mix of the batter|
|I baked this in a stoneware pan from Pampered Chef (it's pretty well-seasoned, can you tell?)|
|Poking holes to allow the 3 milks to soak in|
|Pouring the 3-milk mixture over the cake|
|3 milks, soaking in|
Maybe sometime, I'll have to try the meringue icing, but that whipped icing was so stinkin' good that I had to stick with it:
|End result - Tres Leches Cake with Whipped Icing|
The overwhelming majority of attendees raved about the cake - I don't know if it was because it was that rich and delicious, or if everyone was on a taco high (I know I was!) at the time. Certainly, I will welcome any constructive criticism from anyone who attended the Taco Party, so if you attended and tried the cake, feel free to comment!
Also, for those of you who wanted the recipe - now you have it :-)