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Tom’s Cookbook Library: A fine new twist on Tres Leches cake

“There’s Always Room for Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room" includes a recipe for Chocolate Cuatro Leches Cake.
“There’s Always Room for Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room" includes a recipe for Chocolate Cuatro Leches Cake.

“There’s Always Room for Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room,” (Rizzoli), a new book by Naomi Josepher, Jon Payson and Georgia Freedman, is full of exciting, delectable-sounding recipes, one more tempting than the next.

Take a gander at recipes and photos of the Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Frozen White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse and Chocolate Almond Flan – each one a winner.

But probably the most enticing of all is one that goes the extra mile with Tres Leches or “three milks,” a popular Latin American dessert. This updated version is dubbed Chocolate Cuatro Leches Cake; that’s right: four kinds of milk go into this memorable treat.

Its base is a chocolate sponge cake that is soaked with a mix of condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream. Then it’s topped with a 16-ounce can of sweet, creamy dulce de leche for added flavor.

The cookbook also allocates space for primers on techniques, such as tempering chocolate, whipping cream and eggs and assembling a cake.

In January 2005, Josepher and Payson opened their dessert shop, The Chocolate, in Brooklyn.


(Makes one 9x13-inch cake)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

10 extra-large eggs.

1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Vegetable oil spray

Three milk “Soak”

14 ounces condensed milk

12 ounces evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

To assemble

16 ounces dulce de leche, homemade or store-bought

Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar together for two minutes on medium, then add the vanilla and whip on high until the mixture has tripled in volume, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the dry ingredients, and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix everything together until the mixture no longer has streaks, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with vegetable oil spray and pour the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a paring knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature; the cake will deflate a bit as it cools. When the cake has cooled, use a paring knife to poke it all over, 30 to 40 times.

Soak the cake

In a medium bowl, mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream and vanilla, then pour the mixture over the cake, distributing the liquid as evenly as possible over the cake’s surface. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake for at least four hours, preferably overnight, so that the liquid can soak into the cake.

Assemble the cake

Heat the dolce de leche on the stove or in the microwave until it is fluid. Uncover the cake and poor the dolce day leche over the top as evenly as possible; use a small offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread it around and even it out. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to let the dolce de leche firm up before serving.

Make ahead

The finished cake can be wrapped in the casserole dish and kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, though it may become soggy and hard to cut into clean pieces after two days.

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