Malted Tres Leches Cake, Two Ways

Remember Ovaltine? As a kid, my grandmother used to keep a big glass jar of it in her cupboard for those icy winter evenings when the grandkids would come in, rosy-cheeked and famished from sledding and skating in the backyard, ready for a snack. We would scoop the malty, sweet powder into big mugs of steaming milk (with tons of marshmallows, obviously).

This cake is reminiscent of those flavours; the Ovaltine is added right into the dry ingredients and then steeped with the hot milk to add a creamy, slightly-yeasty flavour to both the cake and the “leche”.

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I decided to try two different ways of serving the cake. One version is more traditional, with fluffy whipped cream and berries on top. The other was inspired by an amazing bruleed, condensed-milk french toast that I discovered at NYC’s Uncle Boon’s. Simply add sugar to the top of the cake, torch it up, and enjoy the crunchy-top-creamy-bottom combo.

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Makes 1 large cake

Adapted from Food & Wine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp Ovaltine
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cinnamon stick
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass/ceramic baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, 2 tablespoons of the Ovaltine, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs with the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla at medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Gradually add the whole milk, then mix in the remaining flour mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until the centre of the cake springs back to the touch. Let the cake cool for at least 40 minutes.

    6. In a medium saucepan, whisk the cream with the evaporated milk, cinnamon stick, remaining 2 tablespoons of Ovaltine, and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

    7. In a heatproof bowl, combine the condensed milk with the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the ground cinnamon. Strain the steeped cream mixture into the condensed milk and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes.

    8. Using a toothpick or fork, poke holes all over the cooled cake. Pour the warm milk mixture SLOWLY over the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours, or overnight for a more developed flavour.

    9. When ready to serve, either whip up some heavy cream with about 1 tablespoon of sugar and a bit of vanilla extract and spread on top (add raspberries if you like). If you want to go to torch route, sprinkle a generous layer of granulated sugar over the top of the entire cake. Use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelize the sugar until slightly burnt and crackly. ENJOY!