Being able to bake a cake is the cornerstone of becoming a good baker–especially an at-home baker. But if you are anything like me (I have been baking since my teenage years), you may feel as though you have baked every type of cake there is. After enough time you start pulling away from baking the same old cakes, and bake new and exiting things. At least until a new and exciting cake idea comes along.
A few weeks ago I read about the idea of a milk cake and was thrilled – I found a cake I have never made before.
The concept is simple. Much like a tres leches cake, you bake a dense cake then soak it in flavored milk. The result is half custard, half super moist cake. The milk mixture for the soak is similar to that of a tres leches, but you take the time to flavor the cream by heating it up and steeping it.
Like many of my recipes, you can steep the milk with anything. Any tea, honey, cinnamon, vanilla–the list is endless.
Within the last year I have started to like chai tea. The spicy flavors of chai tea steeped in the milk soak would be the perfect balance to a sweet and sticky cake. I carried the flavor of the chai tea into the topping for the cake.
Again, this cake would pair well with many toppings, whipped cream, caramel, and most fruits. I chose to make a fig, apricot, golden raisin compote to keep with the theme of warm winter flavors.
After testing the recipe out, I served it at a quaint little dinner party last weekend. I normally find fault in my own baked goods but could not find much fault in this cake. The cake did not last through the weekend.
- For the Compote:
- 2 Cups of Water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Honey
- 1 Chai Tea Bag
- 1/2 Cup of Dried Apricots, quartered
- 1/2 Cup of Dried Figs, quartered
- 1/2 Cup of Golden Raisins
- 1/2 Vanilla Bean
- 2 Tablespoons of Whiskey
- For the Cake:
- 2 Sticks of Butter, softened
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1/2 of a Vanilla Bean
- 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
- 1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
- For the Soak:
- 1 - 12 Ounce Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 - 15 Ounce Can of Evaporated Milk
- 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
- 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 5 Chai Tea Bags
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, honey, and 1 chai tea bag. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Next stir in the raisins, figs, apricots, whiskey, and the scrapings from the inside of the vanilla bean.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for 5 minutes before removing the tea bag.
- Cook the mixture for an additional 10 minutes, or until the liquid turns to a light syrup.
- Set the mixture aside to cool before serving.
- For the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and set aside for later.
- In your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined and the mixture is fluffy.
- Combine all of your dry ingredients, then slowly sift in one-half of the dry mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
- Next add in the milk, vanilla extract, and the scraped inside of the vanilla pod. Mix until combined.
- Finally, add the remaining one-half of the dry mixture, mixing until fully combined.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once your cake is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
- While the cake cools, prepare your chai milk soak mixture.
- In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for your milk soak.
- Over medium heat, bring the mixture close to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Allow the tea to steep uncovered for 10 minutes.
- After they have steeped, remove the tea bags from milk mixture.
- Turn out your cake onto its serving tray. Gently pour your milk mixture onto the cake.
- The soak will not fully absorb initially, so spoon any extra soak back onto the cake before serving.
- Serve the cake with the compote. The cake will last one day.
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