Pastel de Tres Leches ~ Daring Bakers September 2013

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Tres leches in Spanish means ‘three milk’. This delicious sponge cake is drenched in three different kinds of milk (Condensed milk, evaporated milk & heavy cream). Tres leches is pronounced as Trey Lay-Chays. They are also called as torta de tres leches or pan tres leches.

It is very popular in many parts of Central and South America. The origin of this cake is still unknown. Tres leches cake tastes best when it is served chilled,
so please make sure the cake soaks overnight in the refrigerator before you serve.
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!
Recipe Source – This recipe is slightly adapted from an interview given by one of Mexico’s best Pastry Chefs; Paulina Abascal to the magazine Revista Secretos de la Pastelería Caserais. It produces a super moist, yet light Tres Leches.
Servings – 12


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 Milk 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
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring)
Topping and Filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake)
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For 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 by greasing with butter and dusting with flour.
• Separate 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 are formed for 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. 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. Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
• Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then let it cool completely on a wire rack.
• Once cool, split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Using a fork, poke holes on the cake to help absorb the milk syrup.
For the Three Milk Syrup
• In a saucepan add 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.
• Once it is cool, add rum or any other flavoring you choose to use. I used Vanilla extract.
• Gradually brush milk into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. (I reserved 1 Cup and used all of it)
For the Topping
• Whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks are formed. Spread 1/3 of the cream on one half of the soaked cake. Spread evenly using an offset spatula. Top it with Peaches or your favorite fruit.
• Slowly transfer top half of soaked cake onto the bottom half. Use remaining cream to frost the entire cake with a spatula. Decorate the top with more fruit.
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Storage & Freezing Instructions
Cake tastes best if it is refrigerated overnight. It holds good for 2-3 days if well-covered inside the refrigerator.
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