Dulce de Leche Cake with Fresh Strawberries

Adapted via Saveur and David Lebovitz
Serves: 10 to 12

For Tres Leches Cake:
♦ 2 tsp. butter
♦ 1 tbsp. plus 2 cups flour
♦ 2 tsp. baking powder
♦ 1 1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
♦ 6 eggs, at room temperature, separated
♦ 1 1⁄4 cups sugar
♦ 1⁄2 cup whole milk
♦ 1 1⁄2 tbsp. dark rum
♦ 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
♦ 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
♦ 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
♦ 1 cup heavy cream
♦ 1 pound fresh strawberries, stems/leaves removed and halved

For Dulce de Leche:
♦ 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

For dulce de leche: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour one 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.

Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary – sometimes it takes less than an hour).

Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth (don’t let this cool TOO long, or else it will harden and become difficult to manage). Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For cake: Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ × 13″ baking pan with the butter and dust with 1 tbsp. of the flour. Invert the dish, tap out the excess flour, and set aside.

Sift the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. Put the egg whites into a large bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar in a gradual stream and continue beating again to soft peaks. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the reserved flour mixture and the whole milk in 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the rum and vanilla and beat again briefly until smooth.

Pour batter into reserved baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set the cake aside and let cool slightly for 30 minutes.

Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a bowl. Using a knife, poke the cake with holes all over, penetrating to the bottom of the pan. Pour the milk mixture over the warm cake and set aside to let cool completely.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and liquid is absorbed, at least 4 hours (I let mine sit for nearly 7 hours). Spread the dulce de leche across the top of the cake, arrange halved strawberries in a decorative style, and serve.

Read more about this cake and my musical pairing by clicking HERE.

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