Caramelized Pineapple Tres Leches + Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Welcome back to QCK!

Today I want to share my absolute FAVORITE cake with you all. This pineapple tres leches is everything. It’s sweet and a little tangy and it’s bright and sunny enough to cure even the most severe winter blues. Which are hitting pretty hard this time of year. It’s a classic tres leches, the cake is just dense enough to absorb all the flavors around it, the cream cheese frosting cuts a little bit of the sweet, and a squeeze of orange juice in the pineapple purée adds one more layer of summer flavor into the mix.

A NOTE FOR THOSE WHO DON’T READ THE WHOLE RECIPE FIRST (like me):

This cake involves a lot of wait time. You have to wait for the pineapple to cool after baking it, the cake to cool before adding milk, and the milk to absorb before frosting. All in all there’s about 4-5 hours of waiting.

Recipe Notes

Let’s talk about the pineapple first. Do you HAVE to caramelize it? No. You don’t even have to use fresh. Though I would recommend doing both. I suggest fresh fruit because it’s simply always better. If you chose to use canned, I would leave it as is. No caramelization needed because it’s already soaking in syrup and it’s really sweet. I suggest caramelizing the pineapple for a couple reasons; one because if you get a pineapple that isn’t fully ripe or sweet enough, caramelizing it will both soften the fruit and bring out all it’s natural sugars. On top of that, I cook mine with both brown and white sugar and when all three ingredients are cooked, they create a really sweet, warm flavor and it adds a really nice new layer into the cake.

Secondly, a note on eggs. The absolute key to the cake turning out right is how well you whip the eggs for the batter. The yolks have to be separated and whipped with the sugar until they’re fluffy and pale yellow. The difficult part is the whites. They require some patience, especially if you’re whipping by hand. But whipping the egg whites to a stiff peak and lightly folding them into the rest of the batter ensures a spongy cake strong enough to absorb all the liquid.

Tips and Tricks

  • When pouring the milk, pour 1 cup at a time, slowly, let it start to absorb, and then repeat the process until you’ve poured all the milk.
  • Keep your eggs and heavy cream very cold. Don’t take them out of the fridge until you’re just about to use it. When whipping any dairy it has to be very cold to get proper results.

Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hrCook Time: 1 hrDowntime: 4-5 hrsDifficulty: Medium

Ingredients

For the Pineapple Purée

  • 1 Ripe Pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 3 T Granulate Sugar
  • 3 T Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Orange Juice

For the Cake

  • 1 1/4 C AP Flour
  • 2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1 C + 2 T Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 5 L Eggs, separated
  • 2 t Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Milk

For the Milk Mixture

  • 1/2 C Heavy Cream
  • 1 12 oz can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 12 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

For the Frosting

  • 1 C Heavy Cream, very cold
  • 1 8 oz package Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 t Vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cubed pineapple, white and brown sugar. Pour onto parchment or foil lined sheet tray.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until sugar is fully melted and golden brown.
  4. Allow pineapple to cool before blending.
  5. In the meantime, In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  6. In another medium bowl, combine egg yolks and 1 C of granulated sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in color.
  7. Combine with dry ingredients and add milk and vanilla.
  8. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until they start to get white and frothy. Add the remaining 2 T of granulated sugar and continue to whip until they form stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold egg whites into the rest of the batter.
  10. Pour into a greased 9×13 cake pan.
  11. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and can pass the toothpick test.
  12. Once the pineapple is cooled, place it in a blender with the orange juice and blend it until it’s fully puréed. Set aside.
  13. Once the cake is cooled, use a fork to poke holes all over.
  14. In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine all three milks and 1/2 C of pineapple purée.
  15. Pour the milk, 1 C at a time over the cake allowing the first cup to start absorbing into the cake before pouring the next.
  16. Allow the milk to soak into the cake for at least 3 hours before frosting.
  17. For the frosting, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cold cream. powdered sugar, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, whip the mixture until it resembles a heavy whipped cream.
  18. Frost the cake and spread remaining pineapple purée over the top

As always, I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you tried it out let me know in the comments. For more recipes check out my homepage and follow along on Instagram. Don’t forget to like, follow, comment and share. Thanks for reading! 

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