This recipe originally appeared in the November 2018 issue.

For our November 2018 “Feast Around the World” feature, we asked five of the state’s top chefs to create festive meals to serve this season. What we got was a cornucopia of global flavors. 

Steve McHugh, who opened Cured in San Antonio five years ago, created a feast built on memories from his days in Wisconsin and New Orleans but uses native ingredients for a true Texas twist. Below, find McHugh’s twist on a classic Mexican treat to complete the “Hunting and Gathering” feast.

Mesquite-Flour Tres Leches Cake With Cherry Compote

Chef Steve McHugh finishes off his “Hunting and Gathering” feast with this classic Mexican treat, taken up a notch with mesquite and cherries.
Servings 12 people



  • cups cherries, pitted (thawed if using frozen; can substitute fresh fruit of your choice)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup mesquite flour, plus some for dusting top of cake (available online)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 egg whites, room temperature
  • teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Horchata Cream

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • cups heavy cream
  • cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons horchata (available at large supermarkets and Mexican restaurants)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups whipped cream



  • Put all ingredients in a large saucepan with ¼ cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water if it gets too thick. It should have a syrupy consistency.
  • Remove from heat, cool, and reserve.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cake flour, mesquite flour, sugar, and salt together, and set aside.
  • Using a mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  • With a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites.
  • Line an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper, pour the batter in, and bake until done, about 30 minutes. Texture will be spongy.
  • Invert on a rack to cool, in the pan.

Horchata Cream

  • In a large saucepan, combine first 5 ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Set aside.


  • Using a fork, poke holes all over the cooled cake, in its pan, and evenly pour the warm Horchata Cream over it.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • To serve, cut into squares, top each with whipped cream and Compote, and dust attractively with mesquite flour.