Apr 3, 2014

Tres leches Cake with Lychee Mousse filling and Chocolate Lace collar - for my Birthday boy!

Let me not even start with my usual rants about how busy days are going by and how I have treated my blog like an after-thought with very few posts of late. But truth is, I am sort of really really busy these days and all for good reasons and hopefully I can take a breather next month and share all the happenings with pride :-D  
But for today though I know it's April, I want to talk about March ...specially March 29th!! 

March is always a lovely month for us. It brings hope of spring after the dreadfull lull of winter, it's the month of so many of my favorite peoples b'days, my sis-in-law, bro-in-law and my hubbys. March 29th is doubly special coz it's both my hubby's b'day and also marks the anniversary of us moving into our new home and this year it was the 1st anniversary. Little things in life can hold so much importance.

Last year my parents were here and we had a lovely housewarming celebration on March 29th as we moved into our new home and also did a quick b'day cake cutting in between all the hussle and bussle of shifting. It all feels like yesterday. I totally miss my parents not being here this year.

This year I wanted Manish's b'day to be very memorable and also celebrate the 1st anniversary of our new house. A surprise lunch with friends, cake cutting and bowling was my initial plan. Though some of the plans changed over the course of the day, in all it was beautiful day, weather wise and celebration wise and we all had a blast!

As usual I decided to make his cake and this time I let him choose the flavor. I find making my own b'day cake quite weird so haven't done it yet, but you never know...lol! But for Manish and my lil'Appu I'm always game at making their b'day cakes ;-)

He chose the yummy Mexican cake flavor Tres Leches (three milks cake) and wanted Lychee fruit in it, so I decided a creamy Lychee mousse would be great. I initially planned to make just 1 sponge cake and make two layers filled with lychee mousse, but the cake looked short ;-) so I went and made one more sponge cake and trimmed it to just get 1 extra layer and the scraps were all happily eaten by the two boys at home (father n son)...so in total I got 3 layers for the final cake and I had just the right amount of lychee mouse for the filling and whipped cream to frost around the cake.

After the filling and frosting, my mind was quite blank as to how to finally decorate the cake. I saw a bag of candy melts in my pantry and thought why not try a chocolate collar around the cake. I have seen this decoration style in many party cakes and wanted to give it a try. 

And I love lace patterns, so a lace collar was what was in mind. I cut out a parchment paper that would exactly wrap around the side of the cake and made it slightly taller than the cake so that the collar would come above the cake level like a fence and made some patterns and wrapped it around the cake. Its a quick, easy and yet striking decoration idea.

And lastly I placed some chocolate shavings and chocolate triangle shapes in the centre and some whipped cream swirls topped with marachino cherries for a final touch and burst of color.

Cake cutting went great with friends singing Happy Birthday and kids waiting to attack at the chocolate collar....hehe. Lil'Appu always enjoys cake cutting. For some reason his face looks gloomy in this pic but he was a happy chap all throughout.

And don't you think my dress matches with the cake, purely coincidental but I loved it...haha!!

The cake was super moist and yummm and everyone devoured it and even came for second helpings. 

For the filling which was Lychee mousse, I used canned Lychee (easily available at all Asian or Indian grocery stores) . But I felt the Lychee mousse flavor wasn't so much pronounced, I had used only 1 can of lychee, I think 2 cans would have given a better flavor. 

Tres leches Cake with Lychee mousse filling and Chocolate Lace collar

Tres Leches cake is best prepared one day ahead for the cake to rest overnight and the milks to soak up the cake and make it moist and creamy. 
Assembling and frosting can be done the next day. So the recipe is explained in the way I made this cake.

** I baked two sponge cakes and made three layers with them. The recipe below is for ONE sponge cake.

You'll need

For Sponge Cake
Eggs (at room temperature) - 6
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Cake Flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Water - 1 tblsp

For Three Milks syrup

Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 can (14 oz)
Evaporated Milk - 1 can (12 oz) 
Heavy cream – 1 cup 

For Lychee Mousse
Canned Lychee, fruit only - 2 cans (I used Aroy-D brand)
Heavy whipping cream - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 4 tblsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Gelatin - 1 pack (2 1/4 tsp)
Water - 3 tblsp

For whipped cream outer frosting

Heavy whipping cream - 1 cup
Powdered Sugar - 4 tblsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp


For Sponge Cake
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Butter and grease a 9" round baking pan.
2. Crack the eggs into the bowl of your mixer and start beating them on medium-high speed for 5 mins.
3. Slowly add in the sugar and continue to beat on high for another 5-7 mins until it looks smooth, pale yellow and has doubled in volume.
4. Add in vanilla extract and mix to combine.
5. Sift together the cake flour and baking powder in a separate bowl (atleast sift 2 times) and slowly add it into the egg-sugar mixture, very little at a time and slowly fold in it and incorporate it into the batter. 
5. Finally add the 1 tblsp water and mix until well combined. 
6. Pour into the greased baking pan and bake for 25-30mins. (a toothpick inserted into the cake should come clean)
7. Once out from oven, let it rest in the cake pan for 10 mins and then invert it onto a cooling rack and let it cool down completely.

Prepare Three milks Syrup

Into a large bowl, combine heavy cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk and stir well. Heat it in the microwave or on stove-top until it just starts to bubble (do not boil). Let it cool down completely.

Prepare Lychee Mousse

1. Strain the Lychee fruit from its syrup and puree only the Lychee fruit.
2. Beat the whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until slightly stiff peaks form and refrigerate the cream
3. In a bowl add 3 tblsp of water and add the gelatin powder and let it rest.
4. Heat the lychee puree until just warm to touch and add the gelatin to the puree and mix until fully dissolved. 
5. Add the cream little by little to the lychee puree and fold to combine.

Prepare whipped cream frosting

Beat the whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form and refrigerate the cream. Do not overbeat.

Assembly of the Cake

Day 1
Make the sponge cake and the the three milks syrup. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. 
Torte the sponge cake to desired number of layers (I made 3 layers, you can make 4 if you'd like) 
Poke each layer with a fork and generously drizzle or brush the entire cake with the Three milks syrup. Refrigerate each layer separately overnight. 

Day 2

Make the Lychee Mousse and Whipped cream frosting.
Place the milk soaked sponge layer within a pan or plate with edges (the cake may be moist and the milk syrup might leak out) 
Add a thick & even layer of Lychee mousse. 
Gently and carefully place another layer of the milk soaked sponge layer. Again top it with remaining Lychee Mousse.
Place the Last layer on top and Frost the entire Cake with Whipped frosting. 

Decorate as desired and Refrigerate until serving. 

Chocolate Lace collar

You'll need
Chocolate Candy Melts - approx 1 or 1.5 cups (Make sure you use tempered chocolate)
Piping Bag
Piping tip (optional) - I used Wilton tip # 2
Parchment Paper - cut to size to wrap around the cake


1. Melt the candy melts and pour into piping bag fitted with a tip.
2. Draw desired pattern or random designs on the parchment paper.
3. Gently lift and attach one end of parchment to side of the cake making sure the bottom of parchment paper aligns with bottom of cake. Wrap around the entire cake and refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened.
4. Gently peel off the parchment and reveal the beautiful chocolate lace!

After cake cutting we sat around and talked and laughed and then danced and partied all night long with in-between snack-breaks  and just enjoyed the rest of the day ;-) Once again Happy Birthday Manish Pillai.....we enjoyed your b'day just as much as you did and here's wishing you plenty more cake, happiness and success all life long...Muah!

Wanna see some of the cakes I've made for him till now for his earlier birthdays:

Chocolate Brownie Cake with rich Chocolate Ganache (recipe not on blog)

I think I'm spoiling him with all these cakes I tell ya...next time I should make him bake me a cake ;-P