You probably don’t know this about me: I’m a baker. Not professionally, and I enjoy all types of cooking, but I have a special place in my heart for experimenting with and creating baked goods (though I’m always up for making something from a favorite recipe). I’ve been experimenting with cakes lately. I look up a particular cake on the internet, and then change it or—more often—add layers to suit me. Recently I created a bomb chocolate peanut butter cheesecake cake, a Neapolitan cake, a German chocolate cake, and a tres leches cake (although that last one was all from a recipe—my first try at it and I didn’t want to experiment).
So, fast forward to a family member’s birthday, and she informs me that she wants a tres leches crème brûlée cake.
Obviously she knows nothing about making tres leches or crème brûlée because if she did, she’d know that it’s impossible to have one on top of the other (unless you bake crème brûlée and spoon it out on top of the tres leches cake…which is not cool).
I thought about it, researched it, suffered over it, and finally decided that the only way to create such a creature was to add another layer between the two, a layer that could cook with the crème brûlée and still be solid enough to be moved to the tres leches cake.
And so the tres leches crème brûlée cheesecake was born, my Frankenstein monster. My ego-induced success.
It was just luck that the cheesecake and crème brûlée layers switched during cooking so that I could place the last two layers more easily on the tres leches layer. All that I needed to do was add the sugar and brûlée the top and pretty up the sides with a whipped frosting.
The other problem with this whole cake experiment was the taste. Should those two—three—types of cakes be put together? Was it an abomination? I mean, the recipe contained about a dozen eggs, 2 quarts of cream (yes, I said quarts), and enough milk-based products to make a lactose-intolerant person squirm from a mile a way. Add to this a mere half cup of flour, the only structure in the entire thing, and I was half-expecting the cake to turn into a puddle of milk.
So I’m not lying when I say that not only did it hold its structure—miraculously—but it tasted amazing. Light and sweet and creamy. Rich, but not overbearing. In short, this cake was a food miracle.
If you, like me, want to create a delicious, monstrous, food abomination, here’s the recipe. Although I changed measurements and sometimes ingredients to suit my purposes, I derived my inspiration from these sources (if you want to go back to the basics):
- The Pioneer Woman “Tres Leches Cake“
- A Charmed Life “Light and Airy Cheesecake“
- Buzzfeed “Homemade Crème Brûlée“
Tres Leches Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
Tres Leches Cake:
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 8-ounce boxes of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 6 eggs, divided
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 8 ounces mascarpone (or cream cheese)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F, and butter an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan.
- Separate eggs.
- Beat yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until pale in color and mixture no longer gritty. Whisk in vanilla extract and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold egg whites into the batter, and pour into pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
- Cool cake on wire rack.
- While the cake cools, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.
- Remove cake from pan, and poke it all over with a fork. Pour milk mixture thoroughly over cake. Refrigerate.
- Reduce oven to 325F. Grease springform pan, and wrap at least two layers of foil tightly along the bottom and outsides of the pan (as a crustless cheesecake, you need to make sure that the pan is tightly sealed).
- Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla, eggs (one by one), and heavy cream (on low speed).
- Pour cream cheese batter into prepared pan. Place springform pan into a larger pan, and pour 2 inches of hot water into the larger pan.
- Bake the cake for 45 minutes.
- While cheesecake bakes, pour cream and vanilla into a sauce pan, and heat until just shy of boiling.
- Meanwhile, beat together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until no longer gritty.
- Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot cream into egg mixture until well mixed.
- Pour cream mixture over cheesecake. Don’t worry if it breaks through the cheesecake (in fact, you want it to).
- Put cheesecake back in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. The cheesecake should jiggle a bit when you shake it.
- Cool the cake completely.
- Once all cakes are cooled, turn cheesecake upside down on top of tres leches cake. Remove springform pan (crème brûlée layer will have sunk to the bottom and now be on top).
- Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of sugar over top of crème brûlée, and melt the sugar with a torch (or broil in an oven for a few minutes) until top is golden brown with a hard sugar layer.
- In bowl, cream mascarpone and sugar until fluffy, then beat in vanilla and heavy cream until mixture becomes fluffy. Spread frosting around the sides (not top) of cake.
- Serve, and enjoy!