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!