Friday, September 15, 2023

Eggless Tres Leches Cake, and Backyard Wonders

Tres Leches cake is a favorite in our home. The sponge soaked in sweet milk, tinged with cinnamon, and with a cream topping and fresh fruit makes it pretty much irresistible as a dessert option. I've posted before when I made the typical recipe that features lots of eggs. Last weekend, friends invited us over for supper, and said they would serve Mexican-inspired bowls. A tres leches cake seemed to fit the theme, and I decided to try a new recipe for an eggless variation

I used this recipe. The day before, I mixed up the cake batter and baked it, simple as can be. While the cake was baking, I mixed up the three milks- sweetened condensed milk (a dairy version), coconut milk, and almond milk. I soaked the warm cake and refrigerated it overnight. A few hours before serving, I made some whipped cream in the stand mixer, and my daughter and her friends helped to frost the cake and decorate it with strawberries and mango puree. For a cake that looks and tastes quite special, it is dead easy to put together.

The cake was a hit! With a large 9 x 13 cake, I was sure we would have leftovers for days. Gentle reader, we did not. I came home with an empty dish. The cake was not too sweet, not too rich, with a pudding texture, and not eggy at all, obviously. It was gratifying to see everyone enjoy the cake, and I'll definitely make this version again- but with some modifications. 

You see, no matter how well-received the cake was, there were flaws. The biggest problem was that even after an overnight sit in the fridge, the milk did not fully soak into the cake. The cake sat pooled in sauce. The cake was quite dense and not as spongy as expected. Things I will watch out for next time: (a) Don't over-mix the batter, (b) Put the batter in the oven right after mixing, (c) Cut the top crust off the cake after baking to allow milk to soak in, (d) Be more aggressive about poking holes in the cake before adding milk. 

Still, this was a great cake for a family dinner on a late summer evening. 

Here is another dessert that we- especially my daughter- enjoyed over the last month. Falooda, the refreshing Persian-Indian rose sundae. Our 2 minute version is made simply with soaked basil seeds, milk, rose syrup, and vanilla ice cream. 

*** Backyard Wonders ***

This summer, we got some renovations done on our screened porch and replaced the deck at the back of the house. The deck was falling apart and we barely even used it in the decade we've lived here. In this remodel, we had a staircase built from the porch to the deck and that has changed everything- the easy access means that we use it every day now. The porch, deck, and backyard is bringing me much joy as I enjoy the outdoors on a daily basis. There is nothing better than sitting on the deck in the dappled sunshine and watching squirrels scampering about. You hear owls. You see birds, the middle of a busy town, it is a haven.

Our Dunkie boy loves the deck even more than I do. This sweet and beloved dog is living on borrowed time. He has outlived- by several months- what the oncology vet predicted. His mast cell tumor (you can see it in his armpit in the pic below) is growing fast. We are taking it one day at a time. So far, he is a fighter and enjoying life as much as ever- taking long walks every day, sitting on the deck in the sun, and in the porch, enjoying his food and treats, taking his daily pills (steroid and anti-histamine) in a gob of peanut butter. We are watching his quality of life closely. 

Can you spot the deer visitor?

I've been reading a lot lately. Two interesting reads were both eerily atmospheric. The first was a novella The Langoliers in the collection Four Past Midnight by Stephen King, set in a airplane on a cross-country red-eye flight. The second was an Agatha Christie book that I had not read before, Endless Night

What are you reading, cooking, eating, and doing these days?