Pet Milk Cake
While doing research on Southern Caramel Cake, I can upon a not so frequently mentioned dessert creation: Pet milk cake. Or more correctly, evaporated milk cake.
Maybe it’s because of where I’m living, but I have seldom come across the Pet Milk as a brand. Regardless of the label, evaporated milk is evaporated milk. It’s kind of the same philosophy I have behind key limes for key lime pie.I KNOW that there are differences, but I painfully will not go on an Indiana Jones-like journey to seek out one not-so-accessible ingredient. I always end up using Persian limes instead of key limes. It might be a sin to use a different variety, but oh well. I am I meaning to say is that I may not be using Pet Milk as a brand but I am still using evaporated milk. I think want to make this cake simply because the name “pet milk” was unusual to me.
What is evaporated milk you may ask? Evaporated milk is very much it’s namesake. Milk is heated up to the point of evaporation. There are varying percentages, but generally 50 or more percent of the water is evaporated. Not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk doesn’t have sugar added to it before canning. With a lot of the water removed, the evaporated milk is homogenized then stabilized with special salts. The end product is sealed in a can, making a self stable milk. With a shelf life of 15 months, evaporated milk was perfect in the 19th century before the mass accessibility of domestic refrigeration. To return the evaporated milk to ‘milk’ state, you can add water back to the canned solution.
But for this Pet Milk Cake, you want that concentrated milk flavor, no reconstituting here. Looking up Evaporated milk cakes got me nowhere. I came across a pound cake but no layer cakes. I guess it really comes down to recipe names, but I finally found a good cake that used evaporated milk.
To complete the Pet Milk cake theme, I also used an evaporated milk frosting as well. It is a very good crusting buttercream that I’ve used for my Samoa Cake.
On a scale of dairy richness, evaporated milk is creamier than whole milk but less intense than heavy cream. Using evaporated milk in a cake batter will add ample milk fat. Having concentrated flavor compounds, the evaporated milk will compliment the floral notes from the vanilla extract. This is a versatile cake that would pair lovely with a silky dark chocolate frosting. Seriously, my mind is racing with the possible flavor combinations!
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted.
- 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 3 8-inch pans with baking spray, set aside.
- In a bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Lower the speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition. Scrape down the bowl and bet until incorporated.
- Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Lower the speed to stir, add in the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the evaporated milk in two parts, mixing until the ingredient are just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Give the batter a final mix by hand. Pour batter evenly between the pans and bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Do not over bake these cakes.Let them rest in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting them onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Beat the room temperature butter in a stand mixer on a medium high speed until it is light and fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes
- Stop, scrape the bowl, and add the vanilla and tiny pinch of salt
- Turn mixer back on. On the lowest speed add the powdered sugar a cup or two at a time. When the frosting gets too thick drizzle in the evaporated milk. Continue this process until completely incorporated and the desired thickness. Scrape the sides down as needed.
- Beat the frosting a final time on a high speed for 20 to 30 seconds.
- If the layers have a dome, level off the cakes so each layer is flat.
- Frost each layer with the Pet Milk frosting and stack the next layer on top. Repeat with the next layer.
- Do a light crumb coating on the outside of the cake and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Frost the cake with a final coat.