With my short, stubby spatula I tried to scrape the last few ounces of the thick, sweet milk off the can. It proved too cumbersome and when I used a butter knife instead it got all the more frustrating. I didn’t mean to overly scrimp although I actually do pinch pennies when it comes to food, trying to salvage the very last piece of produce in the crisper and use it in a sauté or in a stew. But it was sweetened condensed milk! It was different. It wasn’t just another celery stalk. I’ve always felt compelled not to let a drop of the sweet milk go to waste.

Blame it on my insatiable sweet tooth but sweetened condensed milk is one of the (many) things I cannot live without. Milk came in cans while growing up back home. It came powdered, evaporated or condensed and the kind that’s thickened and sweetened has always been my favorite. Condensed milk drizzled over hot pan de sal or slices of white bread bought fresh from the neighborhood bakery was a childhood staple. And then of course there’s the miscellany of sweets, from sticky rice cakes and creamy custards to festive flans and fruit salads that helped celebrate the holidays. Our pantry’s never complete without those indispensable cans of condensed milk.

And so I threw the sticky spatula and knife in the sink and washed them. I washed my hands and dried them off. I poked my finger inside the tin can, swirled it around, and licked it clean. I poked my finger inside the can once more, swirled it around, and licked it clean. It certainly couldn’t get better than this.

In his gorgeous book and my new favorite, The Sweet Spot, Asian Inspired Desserts, pastry chef Pichet Ong pays tribute to the milk of my childhood with his Condensed Milk Pound Cake, a buttery cake rich in texture and wonderfully light. Slice the cake and serve with a dollop or two of Condensed Milk Chantilly and some macerated strawberries for a luxurious dessert.

 

Condensed Milk Pound Cake Recipe,
Recipe by Pichet Ong from The Sweet Spot, makes one 8-1/2 by 4-1/2-inch cake, about 12 servings

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, chopped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-1/2 by 4-1/2-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

Put the sugar and the chopped vanilla bean, if using, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until the vanilla bean is finely ground. Sift through a fine-mesh sieve and return the sugar mixture to the food processor. If not using the vanilla bean, just put the sugar in the processor.

Add the butter and salt and process until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bottom occasionally. Add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated, about 15 times, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add the sifted dry ingredients and pulse until no traces of flour remain, about 10 times. Add the eggs and pulse just until combined, about 5 times. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla extract, if using, and finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the eggs.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until the top is dark golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about an hour. Cool completely in the loaf pan on a rack, then unmold.

 

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

 

Sweetened Condensed Milk Chantilly, makes 2 cups
Recipe by Pichet Ong in The Sweet Spot

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt

Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened condensed milk and salt and whisk until medium-soft peaks form. (When you lift the whisk from the cream, a peak should form and the very tip should fall back down.)

 

Macerated Strawberries
Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart in MarthaStewart.com

2 cups fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, or an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier

Hull strawberries, cut in half, and place in a bowl. Add sugar and orange juice, and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until strawberries are very soft and juicy, stirring occasionally with a fork, about 4 hours.

 

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

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  • http://allthingsami.com allyn

    this looks amazing. i recently stumbled upon your blog + am really enjoying the food photographs. more importantly, the stories you tell that resonate with me in powerful way of my own ties to filipino cooking + the heritage. condensed milk is not a staple of the house because of sweet tooths + diabetic lolo + lola but i do believe you’ve given me good reason to restock the pantry for that special occassion. this dessert? definitely makes for its own special occasion. i’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • http://twitter.com/HungryRabbitNYC Ken Leung

    I feel the same about all milk in a can. This pound cake screams luxury of this treasured milk in a can. I must must make this, thanks Jun.

  • http://kitchen-confidante.com Liren

    You had me at condensed milk. All I need is a spoon (or like you, a finger!) and a can of condensed milk, and I am happy. But in a pound cake? I just know it must be amazing!

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    Yummmm I love condensed milk! I don’t buy it often enough, until I’m reminded of it and I want to use it in a recipe (like now!)

  • Brooke @ Shutterboo

    Ohmysweetlove, that looks so yummy. I’m starring it in the reader for future reference.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you so much, Allyn for stumbling upon my blog! I’m glad you are enjoying the photographs and stories. It’s what I love most about blogging — the fact that we can all connect with each other through food! Please do let me know how your pund cake turns out. Pichet uses a food processor but you can use a stand or hand-held mixer. And please do come back!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Jenni. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Here I am, I’ve known sweetened condensed milk for the longest time and you’ve just “discovered” my magical ingredient. I was visiting someone’s blog the other day and she made pasta with pistachios, almonds, dried figs among other things. It was a flavor combination I’ve never tasted before in a pasta dish. So many new stuff to try and to discover!!

  • http://www.thewifeofadairyman.blogspot.com Nancy~the wife of a dairyman

    I can almost taste it through your beautiful photos! Delicious:)

  • Tangled Noodle

    This is a long (and beautiful) way from when I would spread SCM on toast, still my favorite I-need-a-hit-of-sweet-right-now snack! Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway) this will be made!

  • Stephanie

    Mmm my mouth is watering! What an utterly decadent treat. My grandma used to give us condensed milk on white toast :) happy times

  • http://twitter.com/CharlesGT Charles G Thompson

    What a great sounding cake! My grandfather always put sweetened condensed milk in his coffee, and we often poured it over fruit, fresh or canned — so I know it well. Thanks for the cookbook recommendation as well.

  • Anonymous

    looks so perfect

  • http://twitter.com/kitchenkwento Aileen Suzara

    this brings back sweetened condensed milk memories. a spoonful or a drizzle of the stuff is etched onto my memories of favorite desserts almost as far back as i can remember…good job ditching the spatula for the finger!

  • http://www.youfedababychili.com brhau

    We grew up with SCM, which my dad used to flavor his Taster’s Choice coffee until it was roughly the color of sand. Beautiful cake. And I could easily eat a bowl of that chantilly.

  • http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/ carolineadobo

    Oh, my condensed milk pound cake! One of the reason that got me to help in the kitchen when I was five, getting “the can” as a reward, I remember the happiness as I lick away the remains from the can off my fingers–thank you for reminding me of that time. :)
    The chantilly puts this over the top. I’ll be sure to bake this cake, looks so good!

  • http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/ Whisk Kid

    I do the same thing with ingredients :D

    The texture of this pound cake looks absolutely unreal. YUM! Great photos!

  • Stephanie

    Oooh, sweetened condensed milk is a favorite of mine, too. As a child, we would always have that as well as cans of evaporated milk in the pantry — they were cooking must-haves for soups, sauces, and yes, fruit salads. I can’t get enough of it either. I think it’s the essence of the dulce de leche that always gets me.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    My dad’s a Taster’s Choice kinda dad, too. Taster’s Choice and Nescafe.

  • http://www.obviouslyomnivore.com Xai Losito

    macerated strawberries, scm chantilly and scm pound cake?! this is a crime, jun. condensadapalooza! i remember growing up on these canned goodness. my grandpa would put this on rice. i never got it. maybe i should try it, that’s a thought.

  • Authenticsuburbangourmet

    My mouth is absolutely watering at this moment! I bet the condensed milk just added to the deliciousness of the pound cake. Along with the macerated strawberries – what a perfect twist on a classic dessert. Beautiful photos!!!

  • Anonymous

    This looks so good! I love the idea of the condensed milk!

  • Jean

    I remember condensed milk with freshly baked pan de sal fondly. While it would seem that nothing could be better than that, I’d say this pound cake would be a strong contender. This is a sweetened-condensed-milk fest and I’m loving it. :-)

  • http://www.thelittlefoodie.com Mariko

    Condensed milk chantilly? That sounds soooo lovely.
    I would weigh about 30 more pounds if I had you cooking for me. Good thing you live across the ocean and I can’t just storm over to your house. :)

  • Jeannie

    Hi! Just your delicious condensed milk pound cake on TasteSpot and just had to hop in! What a lovely blog you have!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you so much Jeannie! Thanks to Tastespotting you found my blog! I hope you’ll come back for more.

  • wee

    i’ve wanted to make pichet ong’s condensed milk for the LONGEST time !! In fact i was just looking at it last week. Did you really make it in a food processor? Does it get clumpy or does it work fine? It looks like a beautiful, very fine-crumbed (almost falling apart) moist cake you’ve got here, is it? Oh and does it taste strongly of condensed milk? I hardly use the stuff but i want to make this cake for a friend who loves it.
    THanks! I like the clean look of your blog and that last shot of the cloud-like cream and the strawberries is so enticing :)

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Wee. You have to try this recipe. Pichet Ong does a really good job in making a pound cake that’s not too dense but is rich in texture. Moist and light. I used a stand mixer to make the cake. You can also use a hand-held mixer and you’ll be fine. The chantilly is amazing. The hint of sweetness from the condensed milk makes it really addictingly delicious. Thank you so much for checking out the recipe and the blog. Please do come back!

  • http://www.envierecipes.com/ envierecipes

    We have two things in common…sweetened condensed milk has been my guilty pleasure for as long as I can remember and the movie JuneBug was filmed right in my neighborhood. Can’t wait to try this recipe and am happy to be a new follower.

  • http://twitter.com/gourmandeinthek Sylvie

    I’ve wiped clean the insides of many cans of sweetened condensed milk before too. I can’t let a drop of it go to waste!

  • http://souperior.wordpress.com/ Emma

    This sounds utterly delicious, I bet the condensed milk give the cake a really moist crumb! Beautiful pics too :)

  • Anonymous

    A pound cake made with sweetened condensed milk. Brilliant!
    I’m just as addicted to it as you and usually use my fingers to get the last drops out of the can.

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  • http://www.honestvanilla.com/ Min {Honest Vanilla}

    Hey! Just wanna let you know that I tried this cake and it was fantastic! Though I was too lazy to make the chantilly :P Anyway I posted it below :)
    http://www.honestvanilla.com/2011/03/condensed-milk-pound-cake.html
    Thanks again for this wonderful recipe!

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  • Carol

    Just made the pound cake with the chantilly and strawberries tonight and it was so delish! My daughter asked where I bought this from. The cake was buttery and the condensed milk made it so moist. Can hardly wait to try out more of your recipes. By the way, love the new layout on your blog.

    ~C

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