A tres leches cake, or torta de tres leches (from Spanish, “three milks cake”), is basically a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.The tres leches cake is very popular in many parts of Central and South America.It is sometimes featured in cinco de Mayo celebrations. For this month it was our daring bakers challenge to make one.
The tres leches cake is super moist and decadent -as you might expect- but what is surprising is that it is not soggy. When you make the cake and pour the three milk mixture on it you will think “this is going to end in a disaster, there is no way that this little cake will absorb all this liquid” but it will!The cake’s ability to absorb all that liquid is due to the fact that the tres leches cake is made of a sponge cake base, sponge cakes as the name implies are full of bubbles. This distinct texture is why the tres leches is moist but not soggy
Blog checking lines :Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!
I made the cake following Inma’s directions except for two little changes.
Instead of using a round or square pan and then dividing the cake into layers. I used a large rectangular pan , divided the cake in half and stacked the two halves on top of each other. I have serious difficulty in dividing a cake into equal layers.(I usually end up destroying one of the layers or with very uneven layers!) I have found that this technique works much better. Just divide a rectangular cake in half and stack the halves and you are good to go 🙂
My other variation was that I did not use all of the milk syrup because my cake was thin, I set aside one cup of the mix .
I chose to fill my cake with pineapples and toasted sweetened coconut. The pairing of the moist and decadent cake with the freshness of the pineapples, the nutty sweetness of the sweetened coconuts, the richness of the cream was irresistible.
Thank you Inma for a wonderful challenge and a cake that I know I will make again for sure
Classic Three Milks Cake:
This recipe is adapted from an interview given by one of Mexico’s best Pastry Chefs; Paulina Abascal to the magazine Revista Secretos de la Pastelería Caserais
Ingredients for the vanilla sponge cake
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)
For three milks syrup
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat) or 1 cup of half & half or 1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick
Topping and filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake)
Directions For making the Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Prepare a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan I used a 9*13 pan
Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes.
When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches
Whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture. Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain. Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) square cake pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan. I used my 9*13 pan Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
Let it cool
Once cool, poke all over the cake using a fork or a skewer (that was a great way to release stress at the end of the day :)) This helps the cake absorb the three milk soaking liquid.
Three milks syrup
In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
Remove it and let it cool.
It would be best if you would allow the cake to rest in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
- Whip the cream, when soft peaks form add the sugar little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 mins.
Cut the cake rectangle in half (see notes)
Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer