Mini Tres Leches Cake

Things we love about this Mini Tres Leches Cake: its moist and light, the whipped cream frosting makes it a breeze to frost and it’s just the right size to avoid cake lingering around the kitchen for days.

A Tres Leches Cake is a Latin American dessert made with eggs and flour (out of the oven it’s similar to angle food cake) and then soaked in a combination of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. This layered Tres Laches Cake has less cream than a traditional sheet pan cake but the flavor, frosting and fruit is all there.

We adapted our recipe from the Pioneer Woman. It’s SO delicious and completely worthy of a special occasion or any day.

Baking a Mini Tres Leches with your little bakers

June Bug Baker Recipe Rating: Ladybug Learner Level III

This cake recipe will help little bakers test their skills whipping eggs and cream. Beating the eggs takes a bit of attentiveness and there are three different steps to the recipe (cake batter, tres leches cream, and frosting) which require a longer attention span.

To make it more doable for ages 2-4 years, I would prep the batter ahead of time and have your little one help with making the tres leches cream and whipped cream frosting. All ages will have a lot of fun decorating the little cake! Here are some tips by age for making this cake with little bakers:

2 years + mix all the dry ingredients.

2 years + mix the tres leches filling.

2 years + frost and decorate the cake. (The whipped cream frosting is very spreadable. Scoop a little frosting on top and let your little baker spread it out with an icing spatula or butter knife.)

3 years + poke the cake with a fork before pouring on the tres leches filling.

3 years + slice strawberries using a toddler safe knife.

4 years + beat egg yokes until light and pale yellow and beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Stiff peaks are created by beating egg whites until peaks stand straight up when the mixer is lifted. When they are ready the peaks will not fall over. Careful here not to over-beat and make the egg whites dry.)

4 years + whip heavy cream to make frosting.

7 years + practice cracking eggs and separating the whites from the yokes. (Pro tip: any broken egg shells can be scooped out using another broken piece of shell).

How we baked it

Mini Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour | Prep 40 minutes | Bake Time: 18-20 minutes
Servings: 10-12 slices using two 6 inch cake pans
Adapted slightly from The Pioneer Women
June Bug Bakers Rating: Ladybug Learner

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (64 g) all purpose flour
1/2 + 1/4  teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated yokes and whites
1/2 cup sugar (separate out 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons buttermilk (or milk)

Tres Leches Drizzle
5 oz evaporated milk
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons buttermilk (or heavy cream)

Whipped Cream Frosting
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
8-10 strawberries hulled and halved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Spray two round 6 inch cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and spray again.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set that aside for now.
  3. Crack eggs and separate the whites from the yokes. (We did this while prepping the measuring all the ingredients).
  4. Pour egg yokes into a medium sized bowl and add 6 tablespoons of sugar.
  5. Beat yokes and sugar on high speed until yokes are pale yellow. 
  6. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  7. Add egg yolk mixture to flour mixture and gently combine. 
  8. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. As you continue beating, pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold egg white mixture into batter very gently. Make sure not to over mix. 
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread until even.
  11. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on plate.
  12. Make the Tres Leches drizzle: Combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream in small pitcher.
  13. Whipped Cream Maple Frosting: Beat 1 pint of heavy whipping cream until thick, stir in about 1/4 cup of maple syrup.
  14. Refrigerate cream and frosting until cake is cool.
  15. When cake is cool poke the surface several times with a fork.
  16. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of the tres leches cream mixture between both layers of cake.
  17. As the cake absorbs the cream, hull and half the strawberries.
  18. Frost the first layer of cake and layer on strawberries, spread frosting on top of the strawberries, place the second layer of cake, and frost top and sides. Decorate with strawberries.

Easy Delicious Pretzels

Staring down our first full week of distance learning, we needed snacks. Fun, easy, stress-relieving snacks. These homemade soft pretzels are up for the challenge.

In my search for a little baker friendly soft pretzel recipe it didn’t take long before I found one I could not resist. The one that promised only 10 minutes of rise time and a total time of 40 minutes. Plus, step by step pretzel folding pictures. The clear winner.

We’re rating this a Ladybug Learner level 3 recipe. While it only takes a few ingredients, there are multiple steps that add a challenge, like boiling the dough and forming the pretzels. It took us closer to 1 hour from start to finish but I usually anticipate a little extra time. The dough is so not fussy and forming the pretzels was almost relaxing. The step by step pictures really helped P understand what to do and after a little practice she was folding all by herself. (Check out our Instagram page for our pretzel folding form 😉

Baking Pretzels with Your little baker

So definitely don’t go into this bake expecting 12 uniform mall-stand pretzels. I let go of that idea pretty quickly when I saw how much fun she was having forming the pretzels her way. As you’ll see we had a variety of shapes and they all turned out delicious! Lots for little bakers to do like:

  • Combine the water and yeast and watch it bubble.
  • Pour flour into bowl while you mix (we used a wooden spoon but you can use a stand mixer.)
  • Practice kneading the dough for older bakers. For younger ones you might break off a tiny piece and let them play with their own ball. (P took her own little section to knead while I worked over the large ball of dough. It’s a quick knead, only 3 minutes.)
  • Roll the dough and form the pretzels. (Hands down the most fun.)
  • Season the pretzels (We used Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning and salt.)

How we Baked it

Recipe

You can find this truly easy and delicious recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction: Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

And another quick grab by little brother. Yum!

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Peach Streusel Muffins

Peach season is here! Penny had the idea to bake peach cupcakes. I was thinking more along the lines of a cobbler. So we agreed on these Peach Streusel Muffins.

The muffins are super moist and the cinnamon sugar crumble is a perfect match for the peaches. Top it off with a vanilla glaze and you have a satisfying summer breakfast or tea time treat. We also added nutmeg and some fresh garden basil to our streusel.

Between the crumble topping, muffin batter and vanilla glaze this was one of the more involved bakes we’ve done together. But with some prep on my part, Penny stayed involved through the end. Here’s what we did.

Baking tips by age

2-4 years: Measure out the ingredients for the muffin batter in small bowls. If you have kid safe knives, your little baker might help dice the peaches that you’ve sliced. If not, go ahead and cut up the peaches ahead of time. At this age I would mix up the streusel before your little baker gets involved. Aside from the usual combining and mixing, they can help scoop batter into the tins and place the crumble topping. Using a pastry bag and small pipping tip makes drizzling the glaze less messy and more fun.

5-7 years: If you have kid safe knives, let them cut the peaches while you prep ingredients. Once you’ve melted and cooled the butter, they might try adding the ingredients to the crumble on their own. Aside from combining and mixing ingredients, they can practice cracking the eggs in a separate bowl. Finish it off by filling the muffin tins, placing the crumble topping and, Penny’s favorite part, “decorating” the muffins using a pastry bag.

how we baked it

These muffins go perfectly well with a cup of tea. Penny has been on a kick with peppermint tea since the holidays and I enjoy my earl grey. Let us know what you think!

Bugs and kisses,

June Bug Bakers

Peach Streusel Muffins

Cook time: 1 hour (25 minutes active)
1 dozen muffins. Recipe adapted slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

Streusel

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Muffin Batter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 and 1/2 cups chopped peaches (3 peaches) You can use chopped frozen peaches do not thaw.

Vanilla Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the streusel topping. Combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and melted butter. Gradually stir in flour using a rubber spatula. Stir in chopped basil. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C). Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  3. Make the muffin batter. In a medium bowl beat the butter on high until smooth and creamy. About 1 minute.
  4. Add both sugars and beat until creamed. About 2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for 1 minute to incorporate and then beat on high until the mixture is a uniform texture. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all-spice, and salt.
  7. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and slowly mix.
  8. Add the milk and gently whisk until combined and few lumps remain.
  9. Fold in the peaches with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  10. Spoon muffin batter into tin, filling each to the top.
  11. Press a handful of crumb topping on each muffin.
  12. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 F (218 C) then lower the oven temperature to 350 F (177 C) and continue to bake for 15 -20 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  13. While muffins are baking make the glaze by whisking all ingredients together.
  14. Drizzle over warm muffins.

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