'Tres Leches King Cake' a southern tradition with a Latin twist
BATON ROUGE- You can't do carnival season without a colorful fresh King Cake but, one Latin market found a way to combine the Southern traditional cake with a Latin classic.
At Ideal Market On Burbank near Starring Lane in Baton Rouge, there's a Latin Market with all kinds of things including fresh baked goods, a hot food line, a juice bar, and just like every southern store in carnival season, King Cake.
"We are not just a Hispanic store, we try to incorporate Louisiana culture with Hispanic culture,’ said Ideal's Marketing Director Ben Castro.
Their King Cake isn’t just any cake it’s instead a Tres Leches King Cake that they’ve been selling for the past 3 years. Tres leches is a classic Latin American dessert served for special events and holidays. The translation of Tres leches is 3 milks, being the ones that are included in the cake.
"It's going to have condensed milk, evaporated milk, regular milk, some added flavors and we add cinnamon in it for the king flavor," Abril Gonzalaz, Ideal's head chef said.
The round sponge cake is submerged in the milk mixture to make sure it’s soaking up those juices, then holes are poked in the bottom and filled with cream cheese filling or whatever you would like.
Next, the fun part, decorating, the soaked cake is covered in lots of whip cream that's rounded and smoothed to give it that king cake shape and covered in a gloss for shine.
Once that is done the cake is sprayed in your traditional Mardi Gras colors, purple, green, and yellow. In Louisiana, Mardi Gras season and football season aren’t too far apart so of course, they make some in LSU and Saints colors.
Once sprayed the final touches include sprinkles and the most important, the baby that is propped in the middle ready to be inserted in the cake. Gonzalaz says this Latin twist on the southern tradition gets lots of attention.
“I don't know if they expect, the traditional one which is a bread not a cake but when they get to know the concept and they try it they love it and come back for more,” a baker at Ideal said.
During carnival season each Ideal location sells about 50 cakes per day with two stores in Baton Rouge. Gonzalaz adds though people love the taste, its meaning is deeper than just another flavor of king cake, it's a fusion of two cultures.
“So tres leches is something we've eaten since we were kids back home, so when we came here and made Louisiana's cake with our tres leches flavor it's just right,” Abril continued. “We are Latinos here, we're apart of this culture, and it's just the perfect mix.”
Ideal will be selling the Tres Leches King Cakes through carnival season, they can also do customized cakes by request. For more info click here.
"It's a different Mardi Gras, so why not try a different cake," Castro said.
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