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? 


  1. Hi Nupur! Im in the midst of a health crisis right now and your post brought me so much joy and comfort. There’s so much beauty in the day to day that we take for granted and I never will see things the same way again. I am a longtime reader and I’ve always been inspired by your blog. As much as I am in pain right now I was able to access a beautiful vision for my life.

    1. Nisha! Your comment made me tear up. I'm sorry you are going through a health crisis, sorry that you are in pain, and I hope all will be well. Sending long distance hugs and positive thoughts to you. Please take care and email me if you'd just like to chat.

      Yes, there is much beauty in everyday things all around us. When I remember to take a minute to look up from the hustle, it takes my breath away.

  2. Nupur, do you ever see snakes? I love leafy backyards but freak out about critters, especially snakes, in the South. Good to hear that Duncan is going as strong as can be.

    I've loved baking vegan cakes in the past and silken tofu makes eggless cakes moist and spongy, good for soaking syrups. I'm reading and enjoying cooking through Yotam O's Flavor.


    1. Hi Purni- I've seen a snake in this backyard only once in 11 years- it was a big rat snake (non-poisonous) coiled up in my compost bin! I yelped loudly, ha ha. I am sure there are snakes around, but they stay out of my way and vice versa. The local wildlife astonishes me. Last week a big snapping turtle plodded down the street. There's a blue heron that also strolls down the street every now and then. It is the funniest thing.

      The critters don't freak me out. What does is the fact that they are losing their habitat the way woods are being cut down for new developments. Backyard dug up for pools.

      I've never used silken tofu! I must try this. Yotam O's recipes are sooo enticing, if quite involved. In fact I just tried a variation of one of his recipes. I'll post about it next week.

  3. Finished Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" recently. Such a richly imaginative book, and so beautifully written, too... Years ago I read a couple of Chabon's books (Wonder Boys, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces) and enjoyed them so much. Then I forgot about him, haha... and spent years reading so many utterly forgettable, dull, and vapid books, desperately seeking an author I enjoyed. A couple of weeks ago, I remembered Chabon and got a couple of books from the library. A happy camper I am, again! The second book I borrowed and am yet to read is "Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son." Also reading "The Last Animal" by Ramona Ausubel at the same time.

    We were on vacation in Italy last week, and cooking was somewhat nil. Happy to be back home, and eating simple, home cooked food after a spate of pizza, pastries, pasta et al.

    Re: doing, my topmost concern is clearing the backyard garden (so embarrassingly weedy!), so we can put in fresh soil, bring in some seeds and seedlings, get prepped for Fall/Winter gardening.

    Lots of love to Dunkie and all of you... Wishing him much fun in our warm Georgia autumn sun. :)

    1. How wonderful to re(discover) an author you love! I can relate to the ebbs and flows of reading life, and sometimes there are periods when you simply can't find something you can really sink your teeth into.

      The trip to Italy sounds wonderful! And good luck with the winter garden. Aren't we lucky in GA to have gardening weather almost all year round? Thank you for the warm wishes for Dunkie- they are much appreciated.

  4. Your backyard looks lovely, nupur. I remember you posting about installing a playground set- does it still exist? Btw I've been making your tahini-nutritional yeast salad dressing and eating it with so many salads. It's delish.

    1. Yes, the backyard play set is still very much there, hidden behind the trees in this pic. My kids don't use it as much as I thought they would. (Last time they did, my son's friend got stung by a wasp so they are wary now.) One of my goals this month is to clean it a bit and get my son and his friends to use it on nice days.

    2. You reminded me that I need to restock on tahini to make that dressing again! :) I'm glad the recipe worked for you.

  5. From Johanna @ (comments still bugging me):
    That tres leches cake looks so interesting and I have some condensed milk I would like to use. It is bookmarked.

    It sounds so lovely to have a deck where you can get sunshine and animal life. Such a nice place for Duncan to spend some of his days - must be a little anticipatory grief watching him outlive his diagnosis and glad he is so loved and in such a nice place while he does.

    1. Johanna- so sorry about the comments issue. I wish I knew how to fix that :( I hope the tres leches cake works for you if you try it!

      The deck is really a spot of sunshine (quite literally) in our lives, although starting today it is getting much cold here.

      You are so spot-on about the anticipatory grief. It is a good lesson in taking life as it comes and just doing your best for the dog each day. I have to trust that we will be able to tell when the time comes. He is so loved indeed!


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.