Food Pairing Friday: Rum Blitz and Tres Leches Cake

by Emily on September 16, 2011 · 0 comments

in Booze Without Borders,Food,Recipes

tres leches by sheeshoo on Flickr

tres leches by sheeshoo on Flickr

As you may know, Midnight Brunch #2 is upon us. As you read this, I’m likely running around town acquiring the final ingredients to finish prep for our 30-person dinner in Manhattan tomorrow night.

The concept for the menu is to highlight different dominant ethnic groups who’ve contributed to Manhattan’s food culture over the decades/centuries. (You can read more about why we did that by clicking the menu link.) I settled on four ethnic groups. It was a challenge squeezing them all into one menu, but what a fun challenge it was.

We bring the Latin American love at the very end with a mind-blowing dessert called Tres Leches (literally “Three Milks”). Every country, heck, every family makes this cake differently. It’s like lasagna (it actually replaces lasagna on the menu … long story). In some versions of the recipe, you douse the cake with rum.

Instead of boozing up the cake, leave this one alone and save your rum for a delicious cocktail that’ll leave you “blitzed.” You’ll be happy you did.


I’m happy to share this series of fantastic cocktail recipes from some of the best bars in NYC with you thanks to Contemporary Cocktails. Mix these libations up at home and tell us if you like them.

Put your own special twist on it to make the pairing your own. Cheers!


The Cocktail

Rum Blitz
Tim Cooper
(Gold Bar, The Mondrian and The Surf Lodge)
Serves 1

Rum Blitz


  • 1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate rum
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit juice
  • Glass: Collins Glass
  • Serves: 1


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake.
  2. Pour over rocks into a Collins glass.
  3. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Rum Blitz by Tim Cooper. Photo Credit: Contemporary Cocktails

Rum Blitz by Tim Cooper. Photo Credit: Contemporary Cocktails

About this drink:

The orange and passionfruit flavors of this cocktail play perfect partners to rum, not to mention to the tropical flavors of the Tres Leches.

Appleton Reserve is available in most higher-end liquor stores. Fun fact: The first rum distillery in the states was in Staten Island!


If you can’t find Grand Marnier in your area, you may use Cointreau. Liquor stores have to have one or the other, or else how could you make your weekend margaritas?



The Food Pairing

Photo credit: smcgee on Flickr

Photo credit: smcgee on Flickr

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 12

Tres Leches Cake, Pioneer Woman-Style


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pint heavy cream (for whipping)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Visit for instructions.

About this food pairing:

This was the first dish I tested from the Midnight Brunch menu this past week. I tested it on about 20 people at my neighbor’s potluck. ALL of them, every single one, LOVED it. This includes people who don’t like sweets, people who don’t enjoy dairy, people who don’t like cake. Everyone who tasted it wished they could have a little more of it.

In my version:

  • I use about half of the sugar called for, since sweetened condensed mik is already achingly sweet. However, DO use the suggested measurement of sugar for the meringue (egg white) mixture, as it’s tough to get it light and airy enough without the sugar.
  • I didn’t let my cake sit long in the milk syrup (just 2 hours) before frosting.
  • I drank some rum while I watched the cakes soak.
  • I put a little rum in the whipped cream.
  • I topped it with perfectly ripe slices of mango.

I will urge you to use high-quality, local dairy and eggs because I think it matters. As you know, I don’t usually eat wheat/flour at home so I’ll be trying this gluten- / wheat-free recipe using cornmeal and masa harina from my friend No Recipes soon.


I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.


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