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Tres Leches Layer Cake

White cake layer:

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

6 egg whites, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Tres leches soak:

1 cup heavy cream

1- 12 oz can evaporated milk

1- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Strawberries & sugar

Whipped cream topping:

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar

For the cake:

Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment. Preheat oven to 350F.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites, milk, and vanilla together.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients together with the vanilla bean seeds until combined. Add the soft butter and beat on low for 2-3 minutes, until you have consistent, moist crumbs.  

3. Beat in all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour in remaining milk and beat until combined.

4. Divide batter between the two pans and bake until lightly golden brown on top and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the macerated strawberries:

While cake cools, slice up your strawberries, toss in a bowl with a little sprinkle of sugar, and let sit for an hour or so.  

For the milk soak:

Stir together the three milks in a bowl.  

For the whipped cream topping:

Whip heavy cream and sugar until medium peaks form and chill until ready to use.

To assemble:

1. When cakes are completely cool, carefully slice or peel away the thin skin on the top of the cake so that your milk mixture can better soak in.

2. Set one of your cake layers on a serving platter. Pour milk soak evenly over bottom cake layer or apply with a pastry brush. Keep adding more milk mixture, a little at a time, until cake seems to be fully saturated, and allow to soak in for a few minutes.

3. Apply a thick layer of whipped cream on top and smooth. Add sliced berries in an even layer. Dollop a bit of whipped cream in the center, on top of the berries, to cement the next layer on. Add the second cake layer on top of this and secure by pressing down gently.

4. Repeat the process of soaking this next layer with the milk mixture.  

5. Top with more whipped cream and frost as desired.  

Serve cake in slices, spooning a bit of remaining milk soak on each plate underneath the cake.

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