Tres leches in Spanish means three milks, literally! It’s a white cake soaked in three different kinds of milk. I have even tried the ‘four leches’ yum!
I believe there is no wrong 3 leches, since different Latin American countries have their own versions of it. Some are a little bit more soaked in the ‘leches’ while some other countries are a little bit less soaked. And it will depend on you how you want it. That’s the beauty of it, you decide!
For me this is comfort food, not because grandma used to make it or I had it every weekend as a child, but because is simple, delicious and non-pretentious. Can be made ahead of time and it’s the perfect excuse to throw a Fiesta!
You can play with what kind of milk you want to use, always taking into consideration how sweet they are. I recommend not leaving the condensed milk out. It gives the cake the kick! I don’t remember how my little hands got a hold of this recipe, but I’m so glad I did! This is my go-to recipe for the rest of my life =)
There’s three part for this recipe; the cake, the soaking liquid and the topping, but to be honest with you, I usually leave out the topping, because the cake itself IS SO GOOD! The only thing is that without the topping, the tres leches looks naked, so if you are planning to have some friends over, it’s a good idea to make the topping
This recipe takes a little longer than 2 hours to be ready, because the cake needs to soak up all the liquid, but it’s totally worth it!!!
Tres leches cake
For the cake:
3 egg (separate the yolks from the whites)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the soaking liquid:
6 ounces evaporated milk (about half a can)
14 oz condensed milk (1 can)
2 cup heavy whipping cream
For the topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
You will need an 8 x 8 pan, if you double the recipe use a 13 x 9
Preheat the oven to 350F
Butter the pan real good, and with about a Tablespoon of flour, cover the whole pan. This is essential for the cake to separate from the pan in one piece, if you prefer you can spray it with one of those oil sprays, I prefer the butter because of its flavor.
Sift your dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. (Don’t have a sifter? don’t worry just whisk it, the idea is to separate any lumps, and whisking it, will do it)
Separate the eggs; place egg whites in a mixing bowl and set aside your yolks.
Start beating the egg whites on medium speed, until soft peaks form, once you reach soft peaks, start adding the sugar little by little until stiff peaks form (waiting until you see the soft peaks and adding the sugar little by little helps the whites to rise and don’t deflate them)
Once you have stiff peaks add you egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition
Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Starting with the dry and finishing with the dry ingredients. Don’t over beat, the batter can deflate, loose its volume and won’t rise properly in the oven.
Pour the mix in your pan, and bake for 20 -30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes inserting a thin knife, if not done, keep checking every 5 minutes until done.
Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool down between 5 to 10 minutes in the pan; don’t take it out of the pan
Meanwhile, start preparing the soaking liquid
In a bowl whisk the evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream, making sure you whisk really well, the condensed milk is very dense and needs to be incorporated very well.
Add ½ a cup of the soaking liquid to the warm cake. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, and add another ½ cup, making sure all the cake is covered, once all the liquid is soaked, you have the choice of adding the rest of the liquid or leave some liquid out, it will depends how you want it, and how dry is the weather in your town; but to be honest it will be better to add all the liquid this recipe calls for!!
Refrigerate while you make the topping.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the topping ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over whip it, otherwise you will end up with sweetened butter!
Cover the top of the cake; decorating it anyway you want it, with a flat spatula, a piping bag, etc
Enjoy it anyway you want it, room temperature or cold.
This yummy-yummy cake needs to be kept refrigerated