Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sweet Indulgences

I made the mistake of making a Tres Leches Cake for a belated Cinco de Mayo celebration dinner with some hot mama friends. It was really only a mistake because the cake was so incredibly delicious that everyone wanted to take pieces home to their husbands, and there wasn't enough for me to eat for breakfast the next day. I should have made two. 

Tres Leches Cake is one of the simplest and most delicious little sweet things on Earth. If you haven't ever made it, I highly recommend you do so immediately. I really like the recipe from Pioneer Woman, which you can find here. The problem with any recipe for Tres Leches Cake is that you always end up with extra sweet cream. Sometimes a lot of extra sweet cream. And what would any sane person do with extra sweet cream? Why, make ice cream of course. Luckily, I not only had plenty of extra sweet cream, I also had extra cake. 

Some would argue there is no such thing as extra cake. I just happened to have baked a ton of vanilla layer cake for a cake pop order, and a full layer was wrapped and waiting for its destiny to unfold. Its destiny was to be crumbled by my adept little fingers into a bowl of frosty sweet cream, along with a swirl of dulce de leche, and a cherry on top. Good Heavens.

Tres Leches Cake Ice Cream
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Enough heavy cream to equal 2 2/3 cups liquid
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla cake, crumbled
1 can sweetened condensed milk for cooking or 1 can dulce de leche

In a large liquid measuring cup (at least 3 cups), whisk evaporated milk and one can sweetened condensed milk until well combined. Add vanilla and enough heavy cream to make 2 2/3 cup liquid. Stir to combine and set aside in the refrigerator.

Skip this step if using prepared dulce de leche! To make your own dulce de leche, peel the label from the second can of sweetened condensed milk. Using a can opener, pop two small holes at opposite sides of the top of the can (as if you were going to pour it out). Place the can holes up in a small pot and fill with water so that about one inch of the can is above the water line. Heat over medium high heat until simmering. Keep the water at a low simmer for three hours, checking to be sure the water is at or about one inch from the top of the can the entire time. You may need to add water occasionally. After about three hours, your dulce de leche will be soft set, perfect for this ice cream. Remove the can with a pair of tongs at set it aside to cool. Once cool, open the can, pour it into a bowl and whisk to combine.

When you are all set up to make the ice cream, remove the cream mixture from the refrigerator. Process according to your ice cream makers instructions. For the Kitchen Aid mixer attachment, that means turning the speed to the lowest setting, pouring in the cream, and mixing for 20-25 minutes. Once your ice cream is soft set, Remove the bowl and gently fold in both cake crumbles and dulce de leche. You want to see swirls in the ice cream, you do not want it fully incorporated. Alternately, you can spoon 1/3 of the ice cream into a freezer safe container, top with a sprinkle of cake crumbs and 1/3 dulce de leche, repeating layers. That's just up to you! Store in the freezer for at least an hour before serving to allow the ice cream to set up completely. You'll want to eat this up within a week, as homemade ice cream tends to crystallize a touch if left too long, but I don't think that will be a problem for you. It certainly wasn't for me!