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I know my frosting skills are pretty much non-existent, but I believe the inclusion of Frangelico and Bailey’s in this cake absolves my sins. I was much too impatient to let the cake cool fully and I should have let the frosting set in the fridge too, but alas. It is at least a good cake. The cake itself is pretty stellar, very moist and tender-crumbed. I had some half-and-half around, and I searched around for a good recipe that includes it, but after several scone and pie recipes (scones are no fun without fresh berries, and pies are just not my area of expertise), I finally found a winner: a chocolate cake recipe. I really like how it’s a one-bowl recipe that doesn’t require the use of a mixer. I’m all about minimizing the amount of dishes I have to wash, and if can prepare a cake using just a bowl and a spatula, that is the recipe for me. Oh, owning a digital scale really helps in reducing the dirty dishes too. I’m so glad I bought it.

I tweaked the recipe some. I don’t have coffee, so I substituted the coffee with Frangelico and water instead. The cake is probably a tad sweeter than it should be because of that, so maybe you should reduce the sugar by a couple of tablespoons if you intend on adding Frangelico, or better yet, Kahlua. The frosting recipe was originally just a chocolate buttercream, but I just eliminated the cocoa powder and replaced it with a couple tablespoons of Bailey’s. The Bailey’s that I happen to have around is the one with a hint of hazelnut, and I thought it’d complement the Frangelico in the cake. Anyway, chocolate and hazelnut, boozed up: it really doesn’t get better.

Chocolate Frangelico Cake with Bailey’s Hazelnut Frosting
Adapted from Cookie Madness
Makes two 9-inch rounds

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour, lightly spooned and swept
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 cup half & half
2 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Frangelico
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9 inch round baking pans with flour-added cooking spray or grease and flour using your favorite method.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, baking soda & baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Stir them well so that they are very thoroughly combined.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Batter will be wet and soupy looking. Mine had little flecks in it, but they baked away.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cakes test done. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then flip from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Bailey’s Frosting
Adapted from Baking Bites

3/4 cups butter, room temperature
1/4 cup half and half or milk
2 tbsps Bailey’s with a hint of hazelnut (or just the regular version is fine)
2 1/2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine all ingredients except the sugar in a large bowl and beat until very smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar until the frosting is smooth, thick and fluffy. Spread on cooled cake.

Tres leches translates into “three milks”, and that’s what makes this nondescript cake so delicious. The three milks are heavy cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk, and this mixture is poured over the light, airy cake that then soaks up the milks overnight. Conceptually, this cake is similar to a tiramisu, where a cake is left to soak up a liquid. The reason why this cake doesn’t get soggy is because it uses a recipe very similar to a sponge cake, which makes use of whipped egg whites.
Sad to say, my own version didn’t turn out quite so airy. I don’t have an electric mixer, and beating egg whites to a soft peak by hand is not easy. (Which reminds me of this mise en place relay race in Top Chef Just Desserts…) Despite the slightly gummy texture, it still tasted good. And I’m going to have to attribute that to the liberal amounts of rum I used. The recipe I used didn’t actually include rum in it, but the tres leches cake that inspired me to make it was from a restaurant called Amor Cubano and I had detected rum in it.

Also, my cake is frosting-less. I figured all that moisture from the milks would be enough to give it good moisture. I did NOT want to whip cream after having to whip egg whites.

Tres Leches Cake
Makes one 9-inch round cake
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup clear rum

Cream topping:

  • 1/2 14-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 14-ounce can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half (feel free to use full fat heavy cream for this and non-fat free for everything else)

Directions

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 inch round pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.

To make the cream topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.