This riff on the classic (and wicked fine) tres leches cake calls for sour cream in place of the more usual milk as part of the “three milks,” but, not to worry, this version, also, is wicked fine.
And, if anyone should care be persnickety enough to quibble that, without the milk, it no longer counts as tres leches, may I remind them to chill the heck out; and, since I went with a cream cheese frosting, I can. I believe, successfully argue that sour cream in the cake and cream cheese on top, more
than makes up for the lack of milk.
Also, too; cuatro leches just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
•1 white or yellow cake mix
•1-1/4 cup water
•1/3 cup veggie oil
•1 (3 oz) pkg lemon Jell-o
•1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
•1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
•1/2 cup sour cream
•1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
•2 tbsp lemon juice
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•1/8 tsp salt
•1/8 tsp black pepper (trust me)
•3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a 13×9 baking pan.
Combine the water, veggie oil, and cake mix in a large bowl and mix on medium speed for three minutes.
Stir the jello powder into the batter until blended, then bake in the hot oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Set aside to cool completely on a rack.
Once the cake has cooled, whisk the sweetened condensed and evaporated milks with the sour cream until blended.
Using a large fork, pierce the cake all over at 1/4 inch intervals.
Note: a meat carving fork works a treat.
Pour the tres leches mixture evenly over the cake, then cover and stash in the fridge for at least one hour to allow the cake to absorb all that milky liquid.
Beat the softened cream cheese together with the lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and (again, trust me) black pepper.
Note: I learned from a chef I met that just a bit of black pepper added to most anything sweet helps to round out the flavor, without making it taste at all peppery.
Beat the confectioners’ sugar into the cream cheese mixture one cup at a time until the frosting is as thick as you like.
If the frosting is a bit too thick, beat in milk or (at this point, why not go for it?) heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the consistency you prefer.
Frost the cake, cover, and stash in the fridge until ready to serve.
Note: this cake really does need to be kept in the fridge; all that dairy will spoil if you store it at room temperature.
You can serve the cake as is, but we really like ours topped with macerated strawberries*.
*Slice the strawberries and toss with one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of Cointreau or orange juice and let rest for ten minutes. Transfer the strawberries (and the liquid) to a bowl, cover, and stash in the fridge until needed.