Strawberry Tres Leches Cake
by Sara Foster, Foster’s Market, Durham, N.C.
For The Cake:
- 3½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups canola oil
- 6 large eggs
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For The Soak:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 cups condensed milk
- 1½ cups coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For The Frosting & Filling:
- 1 cup strawberry jam
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
For The Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking pan and set aside. (Note: This requires a 2-inch deep baking pan, which is slightly deeper than a traditional 9- by 13-inch pan.)
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and oil and whisk until creamy and thoroughly mixed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a large measuring cup, combine the milk and vanilla and stir to mix. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir to mix.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until the flour is completely incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven to bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 20 minutes in the pan, remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire baking rack.
For The Soak & Topping:
While the cake is cooking, stir together the whole milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla in a large bowl to combine.
Once the cake has cooled, use a large knife to slice the layer in half horizontally. Place the top layer of cake on a large platter with a rim or a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side up. (Be sure to use a rimmed platter, because some of the milk will pool at the bottom.) Slowly pour half the soaking liquid, about ½-cup at a time, over the top of the bottom layer to soak into the cake. After the liquid has soaked in, spread half the jam over the top of the layer. Place the other layer, bottom-side up, on top of the first layer and slowly pour the remaining soaking liquid over the top. After the liquid has soaked in, spread the remaining jam over the top layer.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, add the sugar, and then whip to stiff peaks. Frost the cake all over with the whipped cream. Decorate the top and sides of the cake with fresh sliced strawberries. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Slice into squares and serve chilled.