Chai tres leches cake

Chai-spiced three-milk cake.
Chai-spiced three-milk cake. Photo: William Meppem

My version of this Latin American cake is injected with the flavours of chai tea. For the best result, allow the spices to infuse into the milk overnight.

Ingredients

For the infusion

175ml milk

1 English Breakfast teabag

7 cardamom pods, crushed

2 large cinnamon quills

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp black peppercorns

1 nutmeg, cracked in half

175g condensed milk

175g evaporated milk

For the cake

225g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp cardamom powder

¼ tsp salt

5 eggs, yolks and whites separated

220g castor sugar

100ml milk

1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla essence)

For the cream topping

300ml pure cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

1. Begin infusing the milk the day before baking the cake. Put all the infusion ingredients except the condensed and evaporated milk in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent it from scorching. When the milk begins to bubble, remove from the heat – do not allow it to come to the boil. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, strain the milk, discard the spices and teabag, then stir in the condensed milk and evaporated milk. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan-forced). Line a baking tray about 30cm x 20cm x 5cm with baking paper.

3. For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a bowl and set aside.

4. Place the five egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium-high speed for one minute, then add in half the sugar. Continue to whip until mixture is pale, creamy and has doubled in volume. On low speed, alternately add the 100ml milk and the sifted dry ingredients, then the vanilla paste, and mix until combined. Set aside.

5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add in the remaining sugar. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff and glossy, about one minute. With a spatula or whisk, fold one-third of the egg-white mixture into the yolk mixture, mixing until just incorporated, then fold in the rest of the egg white mixture gently but thoroughly.

6. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on a rack for 30 minutes (it will deflate a little), then pierce all over with a skewer. Slowly spoon over the infused milk so that it is evenly absorbed by the entire cake, then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least two hours, or up to two days.

7. To serve, whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until soft waves form. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate, spread with the whipped cream, and sieve the cocoa powder on top.

Find more of Helen Goh's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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