My very kind and will-entertain-at-the-drop-of-a-hat neighbors offered to host a dinner party for my birthday. I immediately offered to bring the cake.
You need to start this one in advance so that the final product has a chance to soak and mingle and blend... The upside is that on the "day of", you can relax.
For the cake:
6 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
For the milk mixture:
12 fl oz can evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)
5.5 fl oz can coconut milk (1/2 cup)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (see Note)
1 shot rum
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites on medium until soft peaks form. Stream in sugar until stiff peaks form. Incorporate yolks, one at a time. In a small bowl, add vanilla extract to milk. On low speed, add the milk mix and dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternate between the two, about 1/3 at a time. Pour into greased 11×13 baking pan. Bake for 35-40 min. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
For the milk mixture:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the three milks and rum. Make sure you break up all the coconut milk lumps, if there are any. Using a fork or toothpick, prick holes all over the top of the cooled cake. Pour milk mixture evenly across the top, cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours. The milk will soak in overnight and virtually disappear.
For the topping:
Whip the cream with sugar until spreadable; spread over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Note: You can substitute heavy cream here. Sweetened condensed milk adds sweet, traditional flavor, while heavy cream is mild flavored. If you want the traditional flavor of sweetened condensed milk but prefer a less-sweet cake, reduce the sugar in the cake and/or topping.
Conclusion: Delicious! And even better the second day. And the third. However, it did not have a pronounced coconut flavor. You could substitute more coconut milk for evaporated milk in the soak, or add some coconut extract.
Recipe: Caribbean Tres Leches Cake via Global Table Adventure