Day 7: lemongrass & coconut tres leches inspired by @avemarialatincafe
Ave Maria is a café that dominates the back of a tiny Latin grocery store. Small tables and vinyl chairs in pastel green cozy up alongside grocery shelves lined with imported coffee, flours and guava paste. It's a place to go for a coffee and arepa or even - actually, it's a must! - a slice of cake. Their tres leches cake is a towering square of sponge cake stacked with whipped cream that somehow manages to be light and structured, while still fully saturated with milks. I don't usually think of a milk as being a dominant flavour, but in this cake, which yields easily against a fork and leaves a small pool of milk behind, it makes perfect sense.
I've attempted make tres leches cake in the past, but after trying a slice at Ave Maria, I realized I had woefully missed the mark. My goal was to emulate their cake: a cake that was still light but thoroughly soaked in milk. I managed to get there (a foolproof airy sponge cake + lots of poking holes) but it's no replacement for the original at the cafe. Flavourwise, I went in a different direction, using coconut milk in the milk mixture and infusing it with lemongrass, which works well in any milk-y application - recipe on the blog.
Recent events have put many local businesses in a difficult position and unfortunately, it’s not clear when this situation will come to an end. For ten days I’ll be posting recipes inspired by some of my favourite local businesses. While we may not be able to visit our local bakeries, cafes and restaurants right now, this is a way of keeping them in mind, and a reminder to support them again once we have the chance.
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