A simple cake soaked in candy cap mushroom milk. Olmedo, the chef from El Salvador who taught me this said the cake can also be cooled, cut in half and stuffed horizontally with fruit like peaches and raspberries. Yield: 1 9x13 pan
Grind the candy caps in a spice grinder, then sift and grind again. Whisk together all the milks and the dried candy caps in a pot, warm it until steaming hot, then cool. The milk should taste strongly of candy caps. Refrigerate the milk overnight to infuse.
Strain the milk and discard the mushrooms, or just let them settle and only pour off the milk from the top. Since the milk will be used to saturate the cake, leaving the mushrooms in it will mean they could end up on top of the cake after it soaks, which is a little unsightly. Reserve 1.5 cups of the milk for garnishing finished slices of the cake.
Preheat the oven to 375. In a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar with the whisk attachment for 12 minutes on high until tripled in volume and fluffy. Set a timer, this part is important as it brings the eggs to room temperature and helps it rise properly.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour and baking powder.
Mix the half and half with the vanilla.
Put the half and half into the mixing bowl with the whipped eggs and mix for 1 minute more, then add the flour and mix with the whisk for another 2 minutes on medium speed until completely combined and uniform.
The final whisking is very important, if you don’t mix it long enough, the gluten strands won’t activate and the cake won’t rise properly.
Spray a pan with non-stick spray, then pour in the mixture and put in the oven. Do not open the door while the cake is cooking.
Cook for 35 minutes or until just cooked throughout.
Soaking the cake
Remove from the oven and immediately begin pouring over the remaining 8 or so cups of tres leches milk mixture onto the cake, a few cups at a time, waiting for the cake to absorb the dairy before adding more. When all the dairy has been absorbed, cool, then wrap in plastic and reserve until needed.
Save the extra candy cap milk for garnishing finished plates. Allow the cake to saturate for at least an hour before serving. The cake will keep for 4 days in the fridge.*
Serve with whipped cream, fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries or peaches, and extra spoonfuls of the reserved candy cap milk.
* Once you cut into the cake, you will "break the seal" so to speak, and the milk will begin migrating out of the cake. It's mostly cosmetic, and you can spoon the milk onto servings of the cake, but there may be crumbs and it isn't as clean looking as freshly cut.