One can only survive on cafeteria food for so long—at least, that’s what Taylor Stephan quickly learned while attending the University of Colorado Boulder. As a 19-year-old with a penchant for the kitchen, he began grocery shopping and cooking for his five roommates. The end result is College Cooks (Cool Eatz Publishing), a cookbook for students or recent grads just beginning to fend for themselves. Many of the recipes are basic (chicken lettuce wraps, breakfast burritos), but they lay the foundation for greater dishes (lamb chops with garlic, Korean pork tenderloin) down the line. Bonus: a solid list of kitchen essentials, a glossary of cooking terminology, and sample menus. shopcollegecooks.com
5280.com Exclusive: Make Stephan’s Tres Leches Cake in your own kitchen.
Coconut Milk Cake (Recipe Excerpted From Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor)
Pastel de Tres Leches con Coco
(Makes 18 servings)
The longer this cake sits, the better it tastes. And don’t skip the toasted coconut.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut milk (make sure it’s milk, not cream)
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Splash rum or brandy (optional)
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
½ cup coconut, toasted (optional)
Fruit of choice
Mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks with ¾ cup of sugar on high until light yellow in color. Mix in the vanilla and coconut milk. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix these gently until combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high until you have soft peaks. Add ¼ cup sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread out until batter looks even. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to make sure cake is ready by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If toothpick comes out clean it’s ready. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.
While cake is still warm, pierce the cake all over with a fork making sure you pierce the edges. This will allow the milk mixture to drain into the cake when you pour it over.
Make Tres Leches:
Whip together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, vanilla, and splash of rum, if using. This will make about 3 cups.
Slowly pour about 2½ cups of the tres leches over the entire cake. Make sure to get around the edges. Do not worry about the puddling of the milk mixture, the sponge cake will absorb it in about 30 minutes. Save the rest of the milk mixture in the refrigerator for later. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make whipped cream:
Put the cold whipping cream and sugar in a large cold mixing bowl and mix on high until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve in covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For each serving, ladle a tablespoon of the leftover milk mixture onto a serving plate. Place a piece of cake on the milk mixture, top with a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle with toasted coconut, and top with pineapple chunks or your favorite fruit. Garnish with mint spring.