I’m a lucky girl year-round, but I feel this privilege most acutely around the holidays when my friends from out of town get to come and visit. One of my fantastic friends is visiting from Milwaukee and we took him out to Table Mesa last weekend. Table Mesa is one of the best restaurants in Northwest Arkansas. The menu is divine – flavorful and imaginative. Everything from the Thai-Mexican fusion curried chicken burrito to the pepper-jelly topped queso (served with plantains) becomes my new favorite. Don’t even get me started on their margaritas. When we went last time, I had a wild notion (aka a couple of margaritas) and ordered dessert. You won’t be surprised to learn that the tres leches cake that we tried became my new favorite. My sister agreed and declared it the best thing ever. With her earnest support, I set out to replicate this dish at home. Because I can have thirds at home without having to wave down a waiter. I adapted my recipe from The Pioneer Woman, adding my own flair, naturally. The result is a creamy, liquefied cake that is simple and rich. The pomegranate icing is my touch to kick up the cake a bit. I would love to scatter pomegranate seeds on top next time. We brought this dessert to our Christmas events and will make this one again for sure.
For the cake you will need:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 5 whole eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Mexican vanilla
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 and generously grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Separate your eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg yolks with vanilla and milk.
- Pour the yolk mixture into the flour bowl and stir together until combined (no lumps!)
- Beat the egg whites on high speed, slowly adding the sugar (I stirred the sugar in 1/4 cup at a time). Beat the egg whites until frothy, like so:
- Gently fold the egg white mixture into the larger batter bowl. Stir until just combined.
- Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream. Set aside.
- Once your cake is baked, allow to cool completely. Poke holes all over the cake with your fork. The more holes, the more absorption magic.
- Pour the tres leches mixture over the cake. Make sure to drizzle evenly all over.
- Top the cake with pomegranate icing just prior to serving.
For the pomegranate icing you will need:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- Whip the cream, molasses, and sugar together on high speed until frothy and divine.
- You can refrigerate this icing overnight and frost the cake just before serving. There’s also enough to have a spoonful or two, just because you’ve been such a good chef.