Pastel de Tres Leches

Wow, it's been awhile. The holidays have kept me busy and I haven't done much in the way of cooking. It has been a baking frenzy here though! Now that I have time to catch my breath, I can post my favorite of my holiday baking recipes, pastel de tres leches. This cake was amazing! Not too hard to make, thanks to my mom letting me borrow her kitchen-aid. I really have to get one someday! This is a rich, moist spongecake, covered in sweet whipped cream and tart cranberry compote. On their own, the whipped cream is way to sweet to just eat, and the cranberry mixture is face puckering tart. But put them together and you've got heaven in your mouth! The original recipe called for a meringue topping, but I thought the kids would like whipped cream even more.

Pastel de Tres Leches
(adapted from Epicurious.com)

Sponge Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk

Rum Milk Syrup
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark spiced rum (optional)

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar

Cranberry Compote
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup walnut halves or pieces
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornstarch (diluted in just enough water to make a slurry)

For sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 350 and line a 10-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour sides of pan. Sift flour with baking powder and cinnamon. Using a standing mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy, then slowly add sugar until whites form semi stiff peaks. Add egg yolks one at a time. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk.

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until middle springs back when touched and edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

For rum milk syrup:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk thoroughly and reserve (if making in advance, refrigerate and stir before using).

For whipped cream:
Beat heavy cream and sugar together until thickened and fluffy.

For cranberry compote:
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until fruits are tender, stirring frequently to avoid burning. While stirring, add the cornstarch slurry. Allow to boil rapidly for one minute. Cool completely and reserve.

To assemble:
Unmold the cake while slightly warm and slice off the hard top with a serrated knife. Place cake on serving platter and spoon milk mixture over it a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, repeat until all syrup is used. Ice with whipped cream and top with compote. Refrigerate and enjoy!

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