Every year, I would promise myself I would do some Irish take on a Mexican dish but I never seem to have time to do it. I also always get stuck in wanting to do something green... which I realise now, is not the best approach. This year, I started thinking about this early February and while contemplating the makings of a green mole while sitting down at my kitchen table, I saw a bottle of Bailey's on the wine rack over the fridge... I love its sweet and creamy deliciousness and I love boozy desserts. This got me thinking... and since I quite like Bailey's, I thought... wait a minute... wait a minute... Bailey's is just a brand of Irish Cream, and Tres Leches being my all time favourite dessert, I thought, what about replacing one of the Leches by its equivalent of Irish Cream?! - this got my heart racing and my brain into action.
I quickly sketched a couple of possible recipe alternatives and before you knew it, I had done a version of this cake on both: cupcakes and a full cake. It was so delicious I made it again for St. Patrick's Day and today - I know it is the day after but cut me a break please! - I'm sharing it with you. So here it is, my version of a Tres Leches Cake for Paddy's Weekend! If you end up making this into cupcakes, use the tinfoil type of cupcake casings and chop the fruit and put it underneath the cream, so you have a nice layer cupcake.
Preheat the oven at 200° Celsius and grease a round 19 cms cake tin with butter and a dusting of flour. Follow by sifting the flour and baking powder for the cake three times. Yes, you read it right, sift it three times, it's very important or your cake won't be as light otherwise. Set the flour aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar while still beating. Follow by adding the egg yolks, one at a time and mixing well in between additions.
Put away your electric mixer and take a hand whisk to use for the rest of the process. Using your hand whisk, fold in a third of the shifted flour and baking powder using gentle folding movement. Don't over mix. Repeat this step twice more until all the flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture. Finish off by adding the milk and folding it with the whisk. Again, don't over mix or your cake might lose all its airy lightness. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the cake cooks, get on with making the Bailey's Tres Leches Syrup. Pour the three milks and the Bailey's in a jug and mix until it is all combined. Set aside.
Move on to make the Bailey's Cream for the icing. Using your electric mixer again, whip the double cream until it starts thickening a little; start adding the caster sugar gradually with the mixer still on. As soon as the sugar is in, follow by adding the Bailey's. Make sure you don't over beat the cream or you might end up with butter! Set the cream aside in the fridge until you need it.
By now, the cake must be ready, well risen and golden on top. Take it out of the oven and immediately start pricking it with a toothpick or thin skewer. Make loads of little holes as this will help the syrup sip through to the cake. Take the cake out of the tin (careful it is still hot) and place it into a serving plate with a bit of a lip. There will be a lot of liquid so flat plates are not a good idea.
Slowly and gently, start pouring the Bailey's Tres Leches Syrup over the cake, making sure you saturate all the little holes with the milky syrup. Go down the edges as well. There is a lot of liquid, don't worry, the cake needs it! It is very important that you do all this while the cake is still piping hot, otherwise it will just go soggy in the outside. Let the cake cool completely before you ice it with the Bailey's cream.
Once the cake is completely cold, cover it with a generous layer of the Bailey's cream. Top it with the fresh strawberries. Put it in the fridge until you are about to serve it.
This is one of my favourite Irish-Mex things to do now; it's super tasty and will impress the crowd. I had cake batter leftover, so I also made a version of this in cupcake form. They were soooo tasty!