Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Bunny and A Cake

It's Cake Slice Time! And the cake chosen for this month was Tres Leches Cake from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. If you've never had one, a tres leches cake is generally a white sponge cake soaked in a sweetened three milk mixture and topped with whipped cream. I had every intention in making the recipe as the recipe author intended but I have a chocolate loving husband and he turned his nose up to the milky vanilla version. He requested I make a chocolate version and so I did. I made minor changes to the recipe, like substituting cocoa in place of some flour and adding vanilla to the batter instead of lime zest in the milk sauce, but it added a big punch of flavor and changed the cake completely. My husband loved it!

Before I tell you more about this cake, I wanted to thank you all for your kind words regarding the loss of our sweet fuzzy bunny, August. We don't know the cause of his death, all we know is that is happened quickly. All his life he's had respiratory issues but the doctors were always perplexed by him. He'd express mucus from his nose and he'd gasp for air but as soon as he cleared it, he was fine. It happened periodically for really no reason at all and we'd help him along by suctioning and wiping. We changed his diet, we gave him different meds and we eliminated things one by one in his cage thinking it was environmental. This became a part of his life but he wasn't suffering or in pain- it was just an annoyance, kind of like allergies. We tried all kind of things to make his life better and made many midnight trips to the emergency vet and no one ever knew how to "fix" him.

On Wednesday morning he was having another episode. I held him and stroked his fur. He seemed fine then all of a sudden he began to thrash his legs and tried to escape from my grip. We tried to calm him down so he wouldn't hurt himself, but something was wrong. He kicked off of me and fell. I picked him up and noticed he was no longer struggling but he was still breathing. Moments later as Mr. H was holding him, he passed away and it just seemed to happen so fast. We think his passing was a result of being over stressed- they can can work them selves up and give themselves heart attacks along with the fall, though it was a very short one. He was more than a rabbit- he was a member of our family. We got him after the boys died and he's been a joy in our lives when we were at such a low point. His life, as I see it, was cut short, but while he was a part of our family he was very well taken care of and loved wholeheartedly. We miss him so much.

Now it's hard to jump from talking about the passing of our bunny to talking about a cake, so I will just wrap it up by saying that this cake was rich, creamy, delicious and wasn't too sweet. I added chocolate to the milk mixture, but leaving it plain or adding vanilla or almond extract would be great too. The recipe didn't yield enough milk mixture in my opinion so I've increased that amount in the recipe below. I topped my cake with sweetened cocoa cream and served it with berries. The recipe below reflects my changes- I cut the recipe in half and added chocolate, but if you're interested in the larger (9x13) vanilla version, click here.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake adapted from Southern Cakes

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Adapted from this Original Recipe


  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Three Milks:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 oz. melted chocolate or chocolate syrup (optional)

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 8x8-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir with a fork to mix.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer at high speed to mix well.

Adds the eggs one at a time, beating well each time and stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then until the mixture is light, fluffy and smooth. Add the vanilla.

Add one third of the flour mixture and then half the milk, beating at low speed each time just until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add another third of the flour and the remaining milk, then the remaining flour in the same way.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took 40 mins), until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly in the center and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

While the cake bakes, make the milk sauce. You want the cake to still be warm when you add the milk mixture.

Milk Sauce: Combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and the semisweet chocolate or chocolate syrup (if using) in a medium saucepan. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring often until the mixture forms a smooth, steaming hot sauce. Do not let it come to a boil.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before using.

To Finish: Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Poke holes with a toothpick all over the cake.

Slowly pour the warm milk sauce over the warm cake, in stages stopping to let the cake absorb the sauce before adding more. You may not need it all but you can add more later if you need it.

Let the cake stand at room temperature for one hour before covering and refrigerating. (I let it chill overnight, but a few hours is plenty). Top with cocoa whipped cream (recipe below) and serve it straight from the pan.

Cocoa Whipped Cream from Monica H

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar and cocoa powder. Mix at medium speed til creamy and fluffy, but don't overbeat or you'll be left with a curdled mess.

Top the cooled tres leches cake with the sweetened cocoa cream. Serve with fruit if desired.

I was going to link this post to The Cake Slice Bakers blog so you could go check out their cakes, but for some unknown reason that blog isn't up and running at the moment. When that issue gets resolved, I'll link it up. Until then, I hope everyone has a nice weekend.


Esther said...

I'm so sorry about your cute bunny. :( I hope you and your husband feel better. It's always sad when a beloved pet dies and I know how it feels. I'm sorry that you have to go through this. I feel for you guys. My guinea pigs and hamsters died too, now I don't want to have any more b/c I don't want to see them die.

On a lighter note, the cake looks delicious!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

This cake looks beyond amazing, and so sweet -- but the bunny looks like he was even sweeter :(

I'm sorry for you all!

Monica H said...

Esther, I feel the same way. I can't fathom the thought of more loss, even if it is years later. It's just too much. I'm sorry for your loss as well.


Cooking Gallery said...

At least your little bunny didn't really suffer...RIP.

Your cake looks stunning and inviting, by the way :).

Katie said...

The cake looks great as a choc version.
Your bunny looks gorgeous. When we had a rabbit we used to use those leads and take him for a walk around the garden too. Remember the good times

J e l e n a said...

Dear Monica, well I have your oatmeal cookies sitting in the fridge and they are fantastic. I've lived in the States and tried the original store bought cookies and these take me back, ohhhhhhhh boy do they take me back. I'll be posting them soon and just want to thank you for the wonderful blog terrific recipes, and I'm looking forward to making many more of your creations! This cocco in the whipped cream I never would have thought of that!

♥peachkins♥ said...

The cake looks super delicious!

Heather S-G said...

I'm so sorry about your bunny...he was so pretty =)...and loved.

Your chocolate tres leches looks killer! As soon as I saw that first pic...I was like...chocolate tres leches!! (okay, that a really excited voice you couldn't hear).

Awesome...I'm totally tryin' it.

Sue said...

I've only had the vanilla version, but chocolate could only be better. This looks so good.

I've never seen anyone walk a bunny on a leash...he really was so cute. I'm glad that he helped you through a terrible time...pets are good at that.

Unknown said...

What a sweet bunny mom you are!

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

i am so sorry for the lost of your bunny. I lost mine too many years ago. I know how you feel. However, I do love this cake and I will try to make it soon. thank you.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I really am sorry to hear about your bunny, August. (Hugs!)

Now about that cake...OMG! Chocolate Tres Leches? Absolutely heavenly! :) I must try your recipe SOON! :)

Lo said...

Awww... So sorry to read about bunny. But, this looks like the perfect cake to pay tribute to all of his sweetness while he was around! Love tres leches -- it's three times as good as so many other cakes!

Avril said...


My heart goes out to you and your hubby....BIG warm hugs. I hope you can do something special for yourselves as you work through this loss.

Beautiful job on the cake! Loved how you made it into a chocolate version of the original recipe.

My thoughts and heart are with you,
~avril :-)

Healthy and Homemade said...

Your bunny story made me cry =(

I'm so very sorry. I'm sure that was the most loved bunny ever <3

The cake is gorgeous.

Sherry G said...

This was a beautifully heartfelt post. Your cake is fabulous and your changes are truly genius. My prayers go to you and your family at this time.

oneordinaryday said...

Hearing about this cake had already made me want to try it, but now I definitely want to try a chocolate version. It looks just perfect.

Lorraine said...

So sorry to hear about your bunny. That is so sad:(

Your cake looks wonderful...chocolate tres!

Jeanette said...

Your cake looks incredible. I was so sad to hear about your bunny. The heat (even with A/c) will stress them sometimes also. I know he had a full happy life even though it was cut short.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

Whoa that looks good, it looks better than Better Than Anything Cake, so I will have to make soon. Sorry about your bunny :(

Souffle Bombay said...

Sorry to hear about August...what a beautiful bunny he was!
The way I look at it...your boys have some additional company and a new friend to play with!

Michel-lee said...

I haven't focused on Cake Slice in months. I love how you added chocolate to you recipe. It looks delicious :o)

Unknown said...

I came to check out your zucchini cake recipes and now I want to make this too! Also, wanted to let you know that my mom, who gave me the recipe for the zucchini cake I just posted, often bakes it in a bundt pan. She just puts the streusel on what ends up being the bottom of the cake and bakes it closer to 50 minutes. And I am so sorry about your bunny. It is obvious he was well loved and will be greatly missed.

Keeley said...

Pets are part of the family. Again, my condolences on losing August.

My husband's favorite cake is Tres Leches and I can't wait to surprise him with this chocolate version. I always make a huge tres leches cake (more than we can eat before it gets old) and he argues with me when I attempt to throw out the leftovers!

From the Kitchen said...

It's obvious that August was a very special bunny. He is so cute in the colorful little harness and leash!! Our animals are always special but I'm sure August was extra special because he came to you after the loss of your precious boys. Enjoy the sweetest memories of all.


From the Kitchen said...

Monica, just stopping back by this morning to say I hope you feel better soon. No fun being on the couch sick. I'm sending along some "virtual" chicken soup and a good movie.


Future Grown-Up said...

I love the addition of the chocolate to this cake...might be willing to give it another try using your version since it looks so yummy.

I am so sorry for your loss of August. I still miss the pets that have one ahead and always will so I sympathize with you during this difficult time.

Unknown said...

I've never heard of a chocolate tres leches! Hmmmm....maybe I would like that better. I'm not a fan of tres leches cake...but The Hubble is!

Poor little bunny! :-(

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Monica, you are so creative to add chocolate to this cake of the month. I'm sure it was incredible! Like you, I omitted the lime and added vanilla extract to the 'plain' version. Nice job and presentation too!

I was so moved by your story of August's passing. You gave him so much love through his life and at the end. When my 20 year old Siamese cat died, she spasmed too, and it was just horrible. My 23 year old horse did the same. Although we have 9 animals here on the acreage, I don't know if I'll ever have any more after they leave us, cuz it's just way too hard when they pass away.

Do you know of the Rainbow poem about losing a pet and joining them again someday? If not, let me know and I will send it to you.


Molly said...

Oh, yummy! We live in a country where tres leches cake is common, but I am a chocolate lover and had forgotten about this version. I have a friend who used to make it for special occasions when we were in language school, but she topper hers with crushed chocolate toffee pieces...mmmmmm. Now, you've tempted me...I'm going to have to make this sometime this week!

I'm so sorry about your bunny. Our pets have always been very much a part of our family and it is always hard to lose one. Praying for you guys.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your sweet bunny, August.

Your chocolate tres leche cake actually looks pretty good for a chocolate cake. I'd like to try a slice. I need to give the vanilla one another go 'cause MS's recipe got a big fat F!

Kerstin said...

What a sweet tribute post to your bunny.

On a lighter note, I love the chocolate twist - looks amazing!

Janet said...

August had the best bunny-parents a fuzzy bunny could ask for and the best life with you, ever!

The cake is amazing! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I had never in my life even heard of a chocolate tres leches cake, and somehow this week I have seen at least a dozen of them (and tasted two different ones at two different parties). It is a flavor revelation. I think the leches work really nicely with the chocolate. This recipe looks so easy and delicious. I will definitely be making this sometime soon. Thanks for sharing! =)

Sorry to hear about the loss of your little bunny rabbit. From the photos alone I can see that he was, in fact, the cutest bunny ever in the history of the world.

Abby said...

That was one cute bun, and I know he was blessed to have you guys. I'm glad he brought you so much joy!

My mom (and now I) make a cheater's tres leche cake - we pour a hot milk and sugar mix over a baked white cake, then frost with cool whip and coconut. Same idea, totally different outcome!

Natalie said...

Such a cute bunny, I'm sorry for your loss!

...and a beautiful, delicious sounding cake as well!

Lissaloo said...

So sorry about your Bunny :(
They are such sweet little things, we had hoards of them when I was a kid, I remember bottle feeding tiny ones. And when one died that we had loved and taken care of a lot it was really really sad.

The Luna's said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss! Any pet is just like family, believe me... my dog IS my baby! Lots of love and tears are sent your way!

Caroline said...

I made this cake and it was really good! The only thing was that it was sooo chocolatey that I had a hard time actually tasting the tres leches. I'm not complaining though because I'm a chocoholic! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Final Fantasy XIV Gil said...

My spouse and i made this dessert plus it was actually good! The thing has been it's so chocolatey i a difficult time truly sampling your tres leches. I'm not complaining although since I am a chocolate lover! Appreciate expressing the actual formula!

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