Kitchen Concoctions: Happy Cinco De Mayo

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo! The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday in Mexico. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. For the most part the celebrations combine food, music, and dancing. In Mexico City, like the rest of the Mexican capitals, all the young men who serve the military services pledge allegiance to the Mexican national flag and the institutions that it represents(Wikipedia).Here in the USA we use Cinco De Mayo to celebrate the Mexican culture.

I think we as Americans use any excuse to celebrate or "eat, drink, and be marry"; whether a holiday has any actual personal relevance. We celebrate St.Patrick' Day, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year, etc. I think it is great that we all participate in all of these holidays. It truly shows what a melting pot America is.

Even though I have no Mexican ancestors I am still celebrating this Mexican Holiday and have made a Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake ("Caramel Three Milk Cake"). This cake is extremely moist and rich, the caramel and coconut milk add that extra richness. Not the most beautiful cake but defiantly one of my favs. Hope you all enjoy and have a festive day!



Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake
By: Me, Myself and I

Cake:
1/3 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 (4 servings size) package vanilla instant pudding
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream

Tres Leches Glaze:
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13.5 oz) coconut milk (found on the ethnic food isle of your grocery store)

Topping:
1 cup + 1 tablespoon caramel topping (found with all the ice cream toppings)
1 (16 oz) tub cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For Cake:
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Blend in eggs one at a time making sure to blend thoroughly after each one. Add cake mix, pudding, and ½ cup of milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in sour cream. Batter will be thick. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and pour cake batter in. Smooth cake batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted center comes out clean.

For Glaze:
Combine all three milks into a large glass. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over cake with a toothpick of knife. Pour milk mixture all over cake. Let cake cool and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

For Topping:
In bowl, mix one cup of the caramel topping and cream cheese frosting. After cake has refrigerated for several hours, spread frosting/caramel mixture on top of cake. Drizzle cake with remaining tablespoon of the caramel topping. Frost right before serving.




A little history about the Tres Leches Cake:

  • The origins of the tres leches are disputed, and are usually attributed to Nicaragua and Mexico. Mexico does, however, appear to have had recipes very similar to that of the tres leches, which probably led to the now famous dessert being created there, which then possibly migrated to other regions of Latin America (Wikipedia).

  • Some sources say that the cake is reported to come from the back of an evaporated milk or condensed milk can in Latin America to promote the use of the product, back in the mid-1850s. Evaporated milk and condensed milk were sold throughout Central and South America and even the Caribbean (http://www.whatscookingamerica.net/).

  • The state of Veracruz, in southern Mexico, also claims its creation which will include Mexican vanilla and Caribbean rum.

  • In the Caribbean, cream of coconut is occasionally used instead of condensed milk.

  • Central America is known for following the traditional tres leches cake recipe but soaking it in a mixture of water, rum or brandy, and sugar. This version is called pastel borracho (drunken cake).

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