To me, tres leches cake is just screaming to be turned into ice cream. I mean all of those different types of milks soaked into a soft sponge cake and topped with fresh whipped cream with cherries and sprinkles on top; it’s basically what ice cream dreams are made of. I’ve had this idea to turn my classic tres leches cake post from a few years back, into ice cream for a while now, and I’m just barely getting around to it. It’s the perfect week to do it though since tomorrow happens to be Cinco de Mayo, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this holiday that with a giant scoop or two of homemade ice cream. It just happens to taste exactly like tres leches cake. This ice cream is flavored with vanilla and the tiniest hint of almond extract, which I believe is the key secret ingredient to making it close in flavor to the original. Even if you don’t have time this weekend to make it, be sure to add it to your to-do list this summer. Ice cream season is pretty much here already.
Start by warming up the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan until just about boiling. You’ll want to give it a stir every once in a while so that it doesn’t burn.
**Note: Keep a close eye on the pot as you don’t want it to bubble over and make a mess on your stove. You want the mixture to just barely boil around the edges.**
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the eggs and egg yolks on high until thick and pale in color. You’ll want this to double in size.
**Note: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do it with electric beaters or if you’re feeling strong, you can whisk it by hand. It’ll just take a bit of time.**
Then you’ll want to slowly whisk in the warmed cream mixture into the eggs. Make sure you keep whisking as you add the cream and milk in a slow and steady stream.
**Tip: You don’t want to add the mixture too rapidly or else you’ll run the risk of curdling the eggs.**
Return the mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring often until it has thickened and can coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the condensed milk and vanilla.
Pour the custard into a bowl, through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps. There might be some lumps, which is normal, so don’t worry. Passing it through the strainer will ensure the mixture is as smooth as possible.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours. Overnight is best.
**Tip: I know that sometimes overnight isn’t possible or you just don’t have the time to wait that long, so you can chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill it rapidly and then transfer it to the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.**
Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once done, fold in the cake pieces, cherry halves, and sprinkles.
**Note: I’m using soft lady fingers for this cause they’re dry enough and resemble the cake that is used for tres leches, but you can use pound cake or mini spongecakes instead. Whatever you can find at the grocery store.**
Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm. If you don’t have a container with a lid, you can use a metal cake pan or loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.
After that second chill in the freezer you are good to go. You’re finally ready to eat the homemade ice cream you just made. Scoop it up and serve it just as it is in a bowl, or on an ice cream cone.
I like to serve the ice cream with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a cherry and some sprinkles as it’ll give the ice cream that classic tres leches cake taste.
I think it’s worth noting that this is yields a small batch of ice cream, so if you’re looking for a lot of ice cream, I would recommend doubling the recipe. It’s easy to double and the double batch will definitely still fit in a standard ice cream machine. You’ll definitely want double the amount of ice cream…but when wouldn’t you want it?
The only way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend is with a few scoops of this tres leches cake ice cream. Make it today and you’ll have it ready to eat and devour this Saturday. You’ll be so glad you did.
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup cubed soft lady fingers, spongecake, or pound cake
- ⅓ cup halved maraschino cherries
- 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- Combine the cream and milk in a 2-quart saucepan, and set over moderate heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Comine the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at high speed until thickened and pale in color. Slowly whisk ½ cup hot whipping cream mixture into egg mixture. Slowly pour egg mixture into remaining whipping cream mixture in saucepan, whisking constantly.
- Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure not to boil the mixture. Remove from heat, and stir in the condensed milk and vanilla. Pour into a clean bowl, through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
- Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Once done, fold in the cake pieces, cherries and sprinkles. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm. Enjoy!