Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches Cake- my own recipe featured in The Clandestine Cake Club A Year Of Cake Book.

As mentioned in my previous blog post I’ve got two recipes published in the latest Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook “A Year of Cake”. Along with my Welsh Honey and Camomile Bara Brith I also had my Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches Cake featured in the May chapter of the book.

I am a regular member of the Pudsey and West Leeds branch of the CCC.  Each event along with other cake club branches has really great themes which inspires you to get your baking thinking caps on.  Last year back in June 2014 Pudsey cake club had an event with an Around The World Theme.  I’m a huge Mojito cocktail fan (though I’m trying to steer clear due to going to Weightwatchers at the moment) and also love the way it works well with coconut and cream. So this is where the inspiration for my Tres Leches cake came from.  It was one of those cakes I’d tried baking before and although hugely calorific, it was one I enjoyed tasting the most.  So I tried baking my own version of a tres leches cake and hoped it would go down well at cake club.

I originally baked my cake as a triple layer cake but the recipe testers felt it worked better as a two layer one.  I’ve since baked it with 2 layers and I’m happy to agree with them. It holds up better, from looking at my original picture it looks like it could topple over at any time!

My original triple layered Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches cake.  I added a sugarpaste cactus to the top of it as a tres leches cake is traditionally from Mexico.
My original triple layered Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches cake. I added a sugarpaste cactus to the top of it as a tres leches cake is traditionally from Mexico. 

The recipe introduction says: “Cocktail and Mocktail themed events are very popular with Cake Club members who shake and stir all manner of ingredients to turn their favourite tipple into a cake.”  (well Mojito is one of my favourites apart from gin!) “Sam has created a South American-inspired tres leches cake- sponge soaked in three milks: condensed milk, evaporated milk and double cream- which is infused with the punchy flavours of the traditional Cuban rum cocktail, the mojito.  It’s perfect for sharing on World Cocktail Day which celebrates the day in 1806 when the word “cocktail” was first put into print, thereby officially recognising the alchemy of mixing spirits”.  

Here is the top part of my recipe as featured in the new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook A Year Of Cake. It's on page 82.
Here is the top part of my recipe as featured in the new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook A Year Of Cake. It’s on page 82. There isn’t a picture to accompany this recipe due to cost.

The Tres Leches cake is ideally best to be made and soaked the night before you need to bake it as you need to give time for the flavours to develop in the cake.

To bake the cake itself you need to first sift plain flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  In another bowl you need to beat softened butter and sugar together until it gets light and fluffy.  Then one by one you add in eggs and a little bit of the flour mixture to stop any curdling.  When the remaining flour is added in, you then add in some natural coconut extract and some lime zest.  The natural coconut extract I swear by is one that comes from a range in Lakeland Ltd.  It comes in a small bottle and a few drops transform the flavours of your bakes.

Once all the mixture is combined well, it is divided into two loose bottomed sandwich tins and then baked in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

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These are the original photos I took last year before I submitted the recipe, hence there being 3 cake layers instead of two. Here they are just out of the oven and cooling.
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This is the tres leches glaze all mixed up and ready for soaking. Evaporated milk, condensed milk, double cream and some ready made up Mojito cocktail are mixed together. I use the Bacardi one found in most big supermarkets.
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Now this is a bit of a messy job and I learned the hard way that it’s best to keep the cakes in the tin when you are pouring the tres leches glaze on top of the cake. Then put the tins in the fridge overnight and remove them the next day. I didn’t and ended up with baking parchment catching the drips.

Don’t be alarmed when soaking a tres leches cake.  It looks like you have loads of soaking syrup and you do wonder how all of that will go into a cake and not fall to pieces in a big soggy mess.  I felt like that the very first time I baked one and I panicked. But I was reassured not to worry and it was fine. I took my time carefully with it, spooning the glaze carefully onto the cakes, letting it do the soaking then adding more.

Then, leave your cake overnight in the fridge to let the flavours develop.  The next morning or whenever you need to assemble it, make up the topping and filling.  This is made with double cream and icing sugar whipped up together. Sometimes I choose to decorate the sides of the cake with the topping as well, depends on what I feel like doing at the time!

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Here is the version of the Tres Leches cake I baked for the A Year Of Cake Launch party in Leeds last weekend. I tried to decorate the side of the cake with it but I am such a messy decorator.

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The first slice ready to be cut at the launch party.

 Since first creating the recipe I have discovered Sugar and Crumbs Natural flavoured icing sugars  and I am a huge fan of their products.  I’m always thinking of good excuses to use them. I used some of their Key Lime flavoured icing sugar in the topping instead of plain icing sugar to give it an extra kick.  I think it worked extremely well and will be doing that again when I bake the cake in the future.

I’m sorry that I can’t give you the whole recipe here but I am not allowed to by the publishers of the book.

Cooking The Books February 2014- Flora’s Famous Courgette Cake from How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

Last Sunday I needed a pudding for our lunch and thought about baking something from the Cake chapter of How To Be A Domestic Goddess.  My favourite bake so far from that chapter has been the Boston Cream Pie but my eye has also been on the Courgette Cake in the same chapter.  The picture of it in the book looked so pretty with the pastel green pistachios sprinkled on top and a pale green layer of lime curd gently seeping out of the middle of the cake.  I definitely wanted to give it a try but I knew my family would not be keen on anything with courgettes in it.  They hate them with a passion. If I use any courgettes in my cooking they usually get fished out and put on the side of the plate.  I hoped, though that in a cake they wouldn’t notice them mixed in with other ingredients.  After all they troughed down the  Honey and Courgette Loaf baked from The Great British Bake Off Everyday cookbook when I baked it last summer!

Nigella mentions in her recipe introduction that the recipe was actually given to her by Flora Woods who worked in Harrod’s Waterstones when How To Eat was published.  She also mentions that “if courgette cake sounds dodgy to you, think about carrot cake for a moment, this is just an adaptation of that (though if you feel it’s safer, don’t tell people it’s made out of courgettes until after they’ve eaten it)!” I reckoned that would work with my family if they were well disguised!

So, last Sunday afternoon in between ironing and cleaning I attempted to wow my family with the pretty cake.  Read on to see how I got on with baking it:

Nigella mentions that you can add raisins to the mixture if you want.  I didn’t have any, only mixed fruit so I left them out of the cake.

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I grated two courgettes and tried to drain excess water out of them.
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In a bowl I combined eggs, oil and caster sugar.
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The eggs, sunflower oil and sugar were beaten together until creamy.
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Then the dry ingredients were added to the wet ones. These were self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.
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Once this was mixed I then added in the grated courgette.

The two cakes were baked in greased and lined 8″ diameter sandwich tins at 180oC for roughly half an hour.  This wasn;t a problem and they didn’t look too bad when they came out of the oven.  I had my cooled lemon curd ready which wasn’t what I wanted to put in the cake at all after my disastrous attempt at making it earlier!

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Out of the tins and cooling on a wire rack in my kitchen.
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The lumpy lemon curd made earlier on that day to use as the filling in the cake.

I’d read somewhere that using low fat cream cheese is a no-no for making frosting with.  It just doesn’t work properly but sadly I hadn’t got any full fat cheese so I had to use the low fat stuff. As I mixed up the icing it just wouldn’t thicken and I became so frustrated. The icing was sloppy, gloopy and ran all down the sides of the cake instead of being spread all over the top of it.  I was really disappointed in it.

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Making up the cream cheese frosting to top the cake with. Unfortunately I used Morrison’s own brand low fat cheese which was far too runny as I didn’t have full fat Philadelphia. Big mistake, it just wouldn’t thicken up!
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The finished cake. The thick and creamy icing turned out to be thin and runny.
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The runny icing totally messed up the cake and dripped down the side of it. What a cake wreck!

To finish, I grated plain chocolate on top of the cake as I knew my children don’t like pistachios.  In the end I think the grated chocolate was the best part of the cake for them!

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We had a small slice for our pudding. As you can see not much was eaten!

I brought the cake out at pudding time and my son said “What the hell is that?”  I said it was a cake, which it was!  When I cut into it, he said “Ugh, it’s got bogies in it!” Both my son and daughter refused to try some and said they would go without.  My husband thought it was bits of lime zest in the cake and didn’t think it was courgette in it until after when he said he couldn’t taste any lime!  He didn’t like it and neither did I.  The lemon curd was very sweet and cloying and I ended up eating two mouthfuls of my cake.  I was very disappointed in it.

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A slice of courgette cake, the courgette is clearly visible which put the kids off straightaway and the lemon curd didn’t look very appetising.

Sadly the rest of the cake did not get eaten as none of us liked it in the end. In hindsight I should have chosen another cake from the chapter, there was also a heavenly sounding Butterscotch Cake which I should have gone for instead. Oh well, you live and learn!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx