Sometimes I think about my imaginary restaurant. You know, the one I own in my dreams. Of course this is something that will probably never happen in reality – but a girl can always fantasise. The dining room is filled with great light and pretty patterns and plants. The tables all have great surfaces for photography. If you liked the homemade pickles or special tea blend you had, you can pick some up to take home. There’s a garden where you can sip Pimms. The menu is a collection of my favourite things – think classic comfort food dishes with a twist. And there is definitely, definitely Tres Leches cake on the dessert menu.
I’ve made a lot of cakes over 8 years of blogging, but one that surprised me the most was Tres Leches, and I’ve kept coming back to the concept in different incarnations ever since. It’s an enormous call, but I’m going to say right now that Tres Leches is my favourite cake. I could eat it any day. A simple sponge or butter cake is soaked in three kinds of milk which becomes deliciously flavoured and moist, but never sad and soggy. The three I turn to the most are coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and regular milk, but I have seen many other creative adaptations too. Hello Baileys and yes please Strawberry Milk! This recipe is a great blank canvas.
I wanted to make a Lamington Tres Leches Cake in celebration of Australia Day. Three layers of tres leches soaked cake were layered together with raspberry jam and red summer berries. On top I drizzled a delicious chocolate coconut ganache sauce and topped with yet more berries and toasted coconut flakes. I think it had all the elements of a great lamington but the coconut milk soak mixture gave it a lovely extra hit of coconut. It looks super pretty and it tasted even better. Happy Australia Day!
Related: Lamington Doughnuts
Lamington Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from Donna Hay
Note: This makes a small 3 layer cake. If making this for a larger crowd, double the recipe below and cook in 20cm cake tins.
- 90g butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3/4 cup (112g) self-raising flour
- 1/4 cup (125ml) milk
- 1/2 cup (125ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup (125ml) coconut milk
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 150ml coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- Raspberry jam
- Fresh raspberries and/or strawberries
- Mini meringues, optional
- Coconut Flakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add 1 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extracts and beat to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add the flour and beat until just combined. Spoon the mixture into 3 lightly greased mini cake tins (I used a 12cm diameter tin). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Using a skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, place the milk, condensed milk, coconut milk and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and coconut extracts in a jug and mix to combine. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and return to the fridge for a further 2 hours or until mixture is absorbed. If using a cake tin with a removable bottom, place a tray underneath in case it leaks.
In the meantime, make the ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat coconut cream and extract in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate, allow to sit for 1 minute and then whisk to combine. Refrigerate until it has thickened and is a good drizzling consistency.
To assemble, place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread with 2 teaspoons raspberry jam and decorate with sliced strawberries and raspberries. Repeat with layer two. Add your top layer, drizzle with chocolate sauce, using an offset spatula to smooth and help it down the sides. Decorate the top with mini meringues, extra raspberries and strawberries and coconut. Keep the leftover cake refrigerated, I think it tastes even better a day or two later.