Before I say anything else, I have to make sure you understand that this post contains a recipe for a Flan Tres Leches Cake. Like, Flan and Tres Leches Cake in the same dessert (which turned out even more delicious than it sounds, if you can believe it.) Did you get that? Just checking.
Other than that, this post is about Buckle and my $600 leather couch, which was a hand-me-down from my sister because you guys know I'm a teacher, right? My furniture generally either comes from generous family members or Goodwill. Ikea is my splurge.
So owning a $600 leather couch was decidedly awesome.
"I was told there'd be cake."
Buckle is also awesome. He's a good cat. He's sweet and fun. He looks and acts just like Milton from Office Space. I really couldn't ask for anything more. Except, maybe, for him not to ruin my $600 leather couch.
Upon letting him out of his little cardboard carrier when we got home from the Humane Society, as a matter of fact, that was the one thing I was very clear to him about (well, that and not shredding the poodle): Please do not ruin my couch.
The first time I left Buckle alone, I was terrified he would decide my couch was a scratching post. But he met me at the door when I arrived home, purring and cuddly, and I didn't find a single scratch. It was a kitty cat miracle.
As I left him alone more often and continued coming home to intact furniture, I think I got a little . . . overconfident.
Finally the weekend came where I needed to leave Buckle alone to visit Mike in Raleigh. I hired a petsitter to check in on him (Buckle, not Mike, although perhaps I should consider that), and everything seemed to go fine. I found a cheery note from her when I arrived home. But something just smelled a little off. I figured it was his litter box. Except that when I went to check, the door to his litter box closet was closed. So that couldn't be it . . .
The door to his litter box closet was closed.
Bless Buckle's sweet kitty heart (which those of you who are Southern will be able to translate appropriately), he had apparently rubbed against his litter box closet door and closed it. With nowhere to potty, he had made the very best choice he could. You guessed it: to use the couch.
He couldn't have used the carpet or, even better, the linoleum kitchen floor. It had to be the $600 leather couch.
If you've ever tried to deal with the uniquely pungent problem of a cat accident, you won't be surprised that after a month or so of cleaning the cushions with every method known to humanity, the $600 leather couch ended up by the dumpster. All's well that ends well, I guess: I received my tax refund, splurged on an Ikea couch and coffee table, and wedged a billion washcloths in Buckle's litter box closet door so that it will never close again.
Buckle is helping me get used to the new furniture by using it as a jungle gym. One of my students actually asked me after the incident, "Are you going to take him back to the Humane Society?" But I'm happy to say that Buckle's a part of my family now, flaws and all.
One year ago: Gooey Butter Strawberry Shortcake
Two years ago: Mini Doughnuts for Your Coffee Cup (a creative use for yeast dough scraps!)
Three years ago: Pasta Carbonara
Flan Tres Leches Cake
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, inspired by and/or adapted from Bake Love Give and All Recipes
Yield: 10-12 servings
If you love flan and/or tres leches cake, you're in for a treat. This cake has an incredible flavor and an even more fantastic texture. It's also surprisingly easy to whip up. It's perfect for Cinco de Mayo, but I hope you'll make it all year long.
1 (13.4-ounce) can can dulce de leche (or make your own)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 eggs (To get 1/2 egg, break one egg into a bowl and lightly beat it; discard half)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tres Leches Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 10-inch bundt cake pan really well with cooking spray. Pour the dulce de leche evenly over the bottom of the pan and set aside.
Make the flan batter: In a large bowl, mix together the 3 eggs, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 can evaporated milk, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour this mixture evenly over the dulce de leche layer.
Make the cake batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl (if you used a spatula to scrape all your flan batter out of its bowl, just use that one again), cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add in the 2 1/2 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix well. Add the dry ingredients slowly, mixing after each addition. Pour batter over the flan layer in the bundt cake pan (it'll sink in a bit -- no worries). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester inserted into just the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Pierce the cake several times with a skewer or fork. Let the cake cool.
Drench the cake: Whisk together 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/4 can condensed milk, and 1/4 can evaporated milk. Pour this mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover and chill the cake overnight (or at least a couple of hours, I'd say -- you want the mixture all to sink into the cake) before loosening with a thin knife or spatula all around the sides. Carefully invert onto a serving plate (caramel and milks will ooze -- it's a saucy dish -- so one that has a shallow lip or even a slightly bowl-like platter is ideal). Whip up the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to stiff peaks and dollop or pipe it all around the cake. Serve chilled with strawberries.