Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
- 1 devil’s food cake mix
- ½ cup water
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces sour cream
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons chocolate liqueur
- 4 ounces good unsweetened chocolate
- 1 14 ounce can condensed milk
- 1 5 ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the cake mix into the bowl of a standing mixture, or in a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup water and 2 eggs, and mix briefly.
- Add the softened cream cheese, melted butter, and sour cream. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed, until well-mixed.
- Pour cake batter into 9 x 13 pan, and place in preheated oven.
- While the cake is baking, make the three milk (tres leches) soaking mixture. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water).
- When the chocolate is completely melted, and while the bowl is still over the simmering water, whisk the condensed milk into the melted chocolate until well mixed.
- Whisk in the evaporated milk, cream, vanilla, 2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Continue to stir over the simmering water until mixture is warmed. Turn off the heat, but keep the mixture in the bowl over the hot water.
- Bake the cake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick placed in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes. Prick lots of holes in the cake with a serving fork or skewer. Pour milk mixture over the chocolate cake slowly, letting it drizzle into the holes. Tilt the pan around to help the mixture soak in, and spoon any mixture that pools on the sides over the top.
- Let the milk mixture soak into the cake for an hour at room temperature. After an hour, place the cake in the refrigerador to chill.
- To make the chocolate meringue icing, heat sugar and water (with a pinch of salt) to a boil in a small saucepan. Place the egg whites in the clean bowl of a standing mixer.
- When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches about 238 degrees Fahrenheit (after about 3 minutes), turn on the mixer and start beating the egg whites. When the temperature reaches 242 degrees Fahrenheit (117 degrees Celsius), remove the syrup from the heat. (The total cooking time is about 4 minutes, and the sugar syrup should make thin threads if you drizzle it off of a fork, and will have thickened.)
- The egg whites should be forming stiff peaks. Slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl, into the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat the meringue until it cools, about 5 minutes.
- Gently fold 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder into the meringue. Be careful not to overmix, which will deflate the meringue.
- Spread the meringue over the cake. Use a spoon to make decorative peaks in the icing. Sprinkle cake with cinnamon.
A note about baking pans: Tres Leches is often served out right of the pan, but there are certain occasions like birthdays where you might want a more attractive presentation. You can bake the cake in 2 round cake layer pans, but once they are out of the oven, give them at least 12 hours to soak up the milk while the cakes are still in the pans, in the refrigerator. Once they have soaked up all the milk and are very well chilled, you can unmold them, and ice them with the italian meringue or whipped cream. It helps to line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Another possibility is to bake the cake in a 10 inch springform pan, and then remove the band around the cake once it is well chilled and has absorbed the milk.