Tag Archives: whole wheat flour

Pumpkin Tres Leches or is it Cuatro Leches???

17 Nov

This recipe is the first one I made for the Spanish Recipe portal Qué Rica Vida to celebrate Fall and Thanksgiving season.

I have been meaning to develop a recipe for a Pumpkin Tres Leches for several years now.  After few failed attempts, I knew I needed to come up with a new recipe.  A cake that would soak up all the milks like a sponge…  a SPONGE!!!!  That was the key!!!  I needed to develop a sponge cake recipe without using eggs.

Chia Seeds were the key… they worked even better than my usual and trusted egg-replacer.  Chia seeds, as I have shared previously, are full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, anti-oxidants and even calcium.  And they work perfectly to substitute eggs in recipes because they gelatinize when they come in contact with liquids so they rise the batter they’re added to.

And why call it a Pumpkin Cuatro Leches, or 4 milks, instead of the usual Tres Leches?  Because traditional Tres Leches cakes are soaked in a mixture of fresh milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk but have a meringue topping.  Our version still is filled with the sweet flavors of the traditional 3 milks, but used a whipped cream topping, making the heavy cream the 4th milk in the recipe.

I tested and tested this recipe and it now has a following among the taste testers… hope you also join the group.

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches Cake


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tbs butter, melted
2/3 cups milk, I use 2%
1/3 cup fresh pumpkin, steamed and mashed
½ tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

In addition:

6 oz fresh 2% milk
6 oz evaporated milk
6oz sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbs condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp grown cinnamon, to decorate

It seems like a lot of ingredients… but it’s a really easy recipe to make.  I use a rectangular baking dish 8” x 6” x 2” or a round 8” cake pan.  And I also make this recipe in my toaster oven.  I believe this recipe is co chuck full of flavor and sweetness that a little bit goes a long way.  Although I do know a few that could easily eat a whole Pumpkin Cuatro Leches cake in one sitting… no problem, you all shall remain nameless.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter the baking pan in which you’ll make this.  This will be the same pan in which you’ll serve it.  After greasing pan, set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and the chia seeds.  Whisk them well to make sure there are no lumps of flour or brown sugar in the mix.
  4. In a measuring cup measure and add the milk, melted butter and mashed pumpkin.  Mix it well to create a homogeneous mixture.
  5. Add it to the dry ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Season mixture with salt, vanilla powder and spices.
  7. Pour the mixture in the prepared greased pan.  It may seem like little batter for the size of the pan, but remember we’ll be adding later on 18 ounces of milks and they need a place to go.
  8. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until the cake has risen and it’s golden on top.  After 20 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off but do not take the cake out.  Not even open the oven door!! Wait about 40 additional minutes for the cake to complete cooking with the residual heat already in the oven.  There’s nothing to see… but your patience will be rewarded.
  9. After those additional 40 minutes have elapsed, take the cake out of the oven and rest it on a cooling rack so it cools completely.
  10. When it’s completely cooled, pierce it using a toothpick, a skewer or even a fork.  The idea is to make perforations so the milks can seep and soak the cake all from the inside.  It will not matter if the cake looks kinda ugly, because later on we’ll cover all that with whipped cream.  No one will see this but you…
  11. Mix the 3 milks in equal parts in a large measuring cup or a small pitcher.  It helps that the vessel you use has a spout so it’ll be easier to pour over the cooled cake.
  12. Pour half of the milks’ mixture over the pierced cooled cake.  You’ll probably not be able to pour more because the milks might overflow the cake pan.  That’s not a problem… just wait out a few hours for that first half to be absorbed and then you’ll be able to pour in the remaining milks.
  13. If the temperature where you live is cool, you can leave the cake soaking over your kitchen counter at room temperature.  If it’s too warm, you can cover the cake and place in the fridge over night while the milks are absorbed by the cake.
  14. The next day, pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and whip using an electric hand mixer.  Make sure the heavy cream is cold and start at a low speed and increase speeds slowly.  When bubbles start to form, add the condensed milk and the vanilla.  Continue whipping until soft peaks form.
  15. With an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream over the cake, which should have absorbed all the milks by now.  Decorate with a light sprinkle of grown cinnamon using a very fine sieve.

3 Leches for Tres Leches Cake

If you want to double this recipe, you certainly can… and you can use a 9” x 13” baking dish.  By going larger on the pan, you’ll probably need a larger oven and to increase the cooking time to 30 minutes and allow the cake to rest inside the hot oven for an additional 30 minutes, for a total 1 hour in the oven.  For the 3 milk mixture you can just mix a can of evaporated milk a can of condensed milk and the same amount of one of those cans of fresh milk.  With that, you’ll have the perfect amount of milk to soak your cake.

I prefer to use evaporated and condensed milks that come in UHT packaging instead of cans, but I understand they’re difficult to come by.  So if you can find them near you, by all means use them.  Just make sure you have equal amounts of milks and the total amount should be between 18 and 20 ounces of liquid to soak the cake well.

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches Cake

Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters

3 Dec

In Puerto Rico, these pumpkin fritters are called “barriguitas de vieja” or “old lady bellies”… I just think that name is a tad discriminatory. Who said all old ladies bellies are sweet and wrinkly??? I am sure some old bellies out there are not sweet… LOL!!!!! I am so lame, I laugh at my own jokes…

Enjoy these, which are super delicious regardless of my bad jokes.

Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters


2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp egg replacer + 2 tbs water
Canola Oil for frying
  1. First we steam the pumpkins to make the puree… I just peel and cut some pumpkin pieces and place them in a shallow pan that has a lid. I add about ½ inch of water and some kosher salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as you hear the water inside boiling, turn down the heat and allow the steam inside cook the pumpkins for about 10-15 minutes. Check the pumpkins at about 10 minutes… if they’re not completely done, just cover again, wait about 1 minute and turn off the heat and leave there uncovered for some 10-15 minutes more. They’ll be done by then.
  2. I just take the pumpkin pieces out into a bowl and mash… if you feel they’re too stringy, you can certainly pass the mashed pumpkin thru a sieve. But I don’t usually do that… I don’t find it’s necessary. You can certainly do all this steaming and mashing ahead. I did it the night before to use the mashed pumpkin for this recipe and for a pumpkin cheesecake I was making too.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the egg replacer with the water. Stir vigorously or whisk and set aside.
  4. Now we assemble the batter… in a large bowl mix together all the ingredients, including the egg replacer mix. I use my hands to mix well and almost knead the recipe. I tried using a spoon or spatula and it does not work well.

5.  In a frying pan add about 1 inch oil to fry these fritters over medium-high heat… wait until the oil has reached temperature before adding the first one. I usually check if the oil is ready by inserting the back side of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil bubbles around it, the oil is ready.

6.  Using 2 spoons create little mounds of batter to fry. My mom likes to spread them a bit once they’re in the pan so they’re not too thick and they fry faster. Once they’re golden brown on one side, flip them over to fry on the other side.

7.  Once they’re cooked and golden brown on both sides, take them out and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters 2

When they’ve cooled off a bit, enjoy one after the other. You’ll see they’re addictive…

Mock Bacalaítos – BacalaFREEtos

2 Jun

Ok… you’ve made the Potato Leek Soup, you garnished it with the fried Leek Rings… but what do you do with the left over batter from the Leek Rings?  Do you throw it out?  Of course not!!!

Let me tell you the story about the Bacalaíto…  what’s a Bacalaíto?

Bacalao is the word in Spanish for Codfish – the salted dry codfish.  They one that looks like an old dried-out shoe sole.  I mean, the fresh codfish is also called bacalao, but you need to preface it by saying it’s fresh bacalao, because traditionally the codfish eaten here is the dried out kind.  Enough with the cod lesson…

Well, a very traditional Puerto Rican fritter is made with the rehydrated and de-salted cod mixed in with a flour batter.  If you go to any Puerto Rican street fair, there will be several stands selling these fritters…  one of my favorites when attending the Fiestas de San Sebastian…  So now that I am vegetarian, how do I satisfy my cravings on these delicious and greasy fritters?

Well, I learned that honestly, if you season the batter well enough, the fried flour mixture will taste exactly like a bacalaíto, but without adding any of the codfish.  Newsflash to all traditional bacalaíto makers… it’s even simpler to make because you don’t have to de-salt and rehydrate anything that once was alive…  it’s the Mock Bacalaíto.  I’ve tried to look for a better name… but locals would not know what it is if I call it something else besides bacalaítos…

UPDATE 1/25/2011 – My friend Angie has coined a NEW NAME for these fritters – BacalaFREEtos… as in Free of Bacalao, KarmaFREE Cooking, and they’re Fried (fritos in Spanish) it’s just too clever huh???  So that’s how we’re calling them from now on.  Angie – you have full name rights on this one!!!

 People can’t believe they taste so much like the real thing… the secret is in seasoning the batter well.  Here’s how…



½ cup whole wheat pastry flour – this will work well with spelt flour too
About equal parts of water
1 tbs sofrito
½ tbs of Kosher Salt
½ tbs of Pepper
Canola oil to fry


  1. I’ll be honest, I have never measured the amounts of the seasoning…  but the batter should taste well-seasoned.  You need it to taste like something, not just like wet flour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat about 1 ½ inches of canola oil.  Make sure the oil is very hot before frying the first batch.  Try inserting the back end of a wooden spoon into the oil and the oil will be ready when you see bubbles around the wood.
  3. Using a large spoon or ladle, pour some of the batter into the oil, like making silver-dollar pancakes.  Wait until the batter has set a bit on the first “bacalaito” before you pour on another ladle.  If they fuse to each other, they’ll be difficult to turn.
  4. Fry on one side until the batter turns crisp and golden brown on one side.  Flip and fry some more until evenly golden.
  5. Transfer the fritters onto a plate with paper towels to drain the excess oil.  No need to season them again.

Enjoy them as a snack with your favorite natural soda or natural juice drink.   Give these to anyone at a party and you’ll see them flying off the plate.  There are restaurants here that serve these as appetizers even.

This is definitely not food for everyday…  this is a fried snack to eat sparingly.  But believe me, I make a batch of these before going to any street festival so that the smell of the real kind will not lure me in… trying to keep those temptations at bay…

And to all those Puerto Ricans out there… there’s no need to do without these Puerto Rican delicacies when you go vegetarian… 

Buen Provecho!

Carrot Cupcakes

24 Apr

It’s Spring, or as we say here in Puerto Rico… Summer’s here!!!!   The heat is blazing already, the humidity is rising and I am in the mood to bake cupcakes.

I learned this recipe from Mr. Alton Brown, one of my culinary teachers from the Food Network.  I love this cupcake recipe because I do not need a mixer.  It’s super easy to make and super reliable.  I always make them to raise funds for the Yoga Center… people can’t get enough of them.  They’re moist, chewy, and taste delicious.  I usually make them without the traditional cream cheese frosting because of all the dairy-free people at the center.  But I will make some with cream cheese frosting and share the recipe with you.

Also, these cupcakes are the 1st recipe I am making for my “catering/baking” business.  I am looking to understand if my next serious career move should be something regarding my cooking and selling these cupcakes are a start…   The picture is from the dry run I did before I actually go out and sell these to people.  I know I still need to make them larger, so I am playing around with quantities… but for your personal enjoyment, the measures in the recipe work very well.





Adapted from an original recipe from Alton Brown
2 ½  cups, whole-wheat or spelt flour
About 5 medium carrots, grated medium
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½  tsp salt
1 ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 ½ tsp egg replacer mixed with 6 tbs of water
6 oz plain yogurt
6 oz vegetable oil
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to sift and combine.  Add the carrots to this flour mix and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor or in a blender, combine the sugar, egg replacer, vegetable oil and yogurt.   Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined.   Add the raisins and walnuts and stir one last time to combine.
  4. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and pour about ¼ cup batter measure per cupcake.   Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, take the cupcakes out of the pan and allow them to cool completely.

Cherry Carob Cookies

11 Jan

I started my cooking adventures mainly by making Martha Stewart’s cookie recipes.  Most of them are easy and super delicious.

My favorite cookie by far are these Cherry Carob Cookies… they’re an adapted version of Martha’s Torie’s Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  I have made these cookies, the original recipe and the new adapted version, to give as gifts for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Xmas, and even Birthdays.  I always get requests for them.  This time around I made them for my dear friend Choy, who makes the most awesome vegetarian egg-less cheesecake.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we all do…



2 1/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
equivalent of 2 eggs from egg replacer
1 cup carob chips
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup toffee chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the salt, vanilla and egg replacer.
  5. Add flour mixture in 3-4 batches.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the carob chips, cherries and toffee chips.
  7. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough 2 inches apart in a cookie sheet lined with a silplat or unbleached parchment paper.
  8. Bake until golden around the edges. about 10 -12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.  After a few minutes, transfer warm cookies to a cooling rack to  cool completely.
  10. Store cookies in the fridge for up to 1 week in a tightly sealed container.

But don’t worry, they will not last long.  They are eaten best with a tall cold glass of milk.

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