I never really understood the concept of evaporated milk. To me it doesn’t really taste like milk at all, and in this modern era of refrigeration, what’s the point? When a recipe calls for it I tend to sub half and half or heavy cream, because they taste better to me. But this recipe called for both light cream and evaporated milk so I decided to just go with it.
I was a little dubious pouring the three-milk mixture all over a perfectly good cake, but in the end it was totally worth it. After bathing in cream (spiked with a little rum and vanilla) in the refrigerator for a few days, this turns into a rich, creamy concoction somewhere between pudding and cake. I don’t normally like things like bread pudding or custard, but I absolutely loved this! It tastes a lot like horchata (creamy and cinnamon-y), and the fluffy meringue topping is sublime.
(adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
1 2/3 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup half and half
one 12-ounce can evaporated milk
one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
pinch cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ square baking pan.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together onto a sheet of wax paper.
Beat the butter int the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy, then add the brown sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Mix the milk and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
Add half the flour mixture to the butter, mixing on low until just combined. Add the milk and mix on low. Add the remaining flour and stir until homogeneous.
With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until light and foamy. Add the cream of tarter and beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until the egg whites hold stiff, shiny peaks.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then poke holes with a toothpick at 1″ intervals.
After the cake has cooled, make the soaking mixture. Stir together the half and half, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, dark rum, and vanilla. Pour all over the cake (in the pan) so it is completely covered.
Wrap the cake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate between 4 hours and 4 days.
Within a few hours of serving the cake, make the meringue topping. Stir together the egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar and beat for about a minute with a handheld mixer.
Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and beat with the mixer until the egg white temperature reaches 140 F (about 7 minutes). Remove from the heat, pour in the vanilla, and beat until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large start tip.
Invert the cake onto a plate, then pipe swirls of meringue over the top. Cut into squares to serve.