Tres Leches is a pretty easy dessert to make and one of my favorites. I was trying to use up all the flour, sugar, eggs, and heavy cream before our move a few months ago from NYC/Connecticut to Philadelphia. For this recipe, I’ve added a little Bailey’s to make it interesting!
Surprisingly Bailey’s liquor is fairly recent, invented in 1974 in Ireland. No one had been able to blend cream and whiskey consistently before, as the alcohol and cream would always separate. They added cacao nibs and vanilla to complete the unique flavor and it was a hit, especially for the holidays. Bailey’s has a long 2 year shelf life now, but in the beginning when it was first made, it would only last a few weeks. (source)
Apparently, “Ireland, like all European countries, produced too much milk. Cream is in particularly serious oversupply. And you can’t throw it away. And, there is a limit to how much butter you can sell. The Irish welcomed any new way of getting rid of it.” (source) Now, Baileys has 40,000 cows on 1500 farms dedicated to producing cream for their product! (source)
I had bought a massive Baileys bottle for this recipe, as it was so much cheaper to get it larger. There was no way we could finish it, because B and I hardly drink (“We are MOVING, why are you buying gallon bottles of liquor when we don’t drink?” to which I said “I needed it for baking purposes”). Alas, there’s only so much tres leches one can bake and eat – even sharing with friends.
When we moved to our new apartment in Philadelphia, we gave it to the movers, who happily took it (hopefully the drinking commenced after out move). Luckily our furniture and boxes all survived the trip (except that one couch leg)
I also bought these new plates in Ikea to B’s dismay (“We are MOVING, why are you adding more things?!“) but it was on sale for $2 each, and I had to get them. They’re the perfect cake plates.
My favorite part is the Bailey’s whipped cream topping. I don’t like drinking alcohol, but I do enjoy eating it in my dessert! Adapted from AllRecipes.
Bailey’s Tres Leches
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Baileys liquor
1/2 14 oz-can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons Bailey’s liquor
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9×9 inch baking pan.
Mix flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and hand mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until fork comes out clean. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
For the milk mixture, combine the milk, liquor, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake and let sit for at least two hours, ideally overnight.
WHIPPED TOPPING: Whip whipping cream, sugar, and Bailey’s liquor together until stiff peak start to form. Spread over the top of cake. Keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve.