Tres Leches Cake

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This cake, Tres Leches, is one that I had never heard of before.  From Mexico it is a sponge cake, infused with three milks, condensed, evaporated and full milk.  It sounded interesting, but I wondered whether it might be too sweet for the English palate.  But hey! You will never know until you try it, so I decided to give it a go. 

I did some research, on several recipes, and watched a few videos too and, as with all these things, everyone has a slightly different way to make the cake.  From the mixture of milks, to the type of flour to be used, and even to adding rum, or banana, everyone seems to do it differently. Still more difference is that some separate the eggs and mix the yolks in with the butter and then flour, and then whisk the whites with sugar and fold in.  Others don’t separate the eggs at all.  So I guess you pays your money and takes your chance, so to speak.  For ease, being of a fairly lazy disposition, I opted for the whole egg method.

The pan to use is also different across the recipes, and I opted for a 9 inch springform pan, and cooked my cake for 35 minutes, until the centre was cooked.  I didn’t worry about with the edge might go slightly dry, since it was to be soaked in the milk, so it would not end up dry.  If using the same recipe, but with a 9×13 pan the cooking time should be adjusted to about 25 minutes to achieve the same result.

It is usual to top the cake with some whipped cream, though I am not entirely sure this is necessary.  But for authenticity I suppose it is ok, or just serve a scoop of cream on the side.

Well having completed the cake I can report that it is certainly very different from anything I have tried before.  But it does have a lovely, sweet, creamy flavour.  Maybe a tad too sweet for my taste. The texture is unusual too, as you would expect, having poured all that milk into it.  Very nice to have as a dessert.  I bet, though I am not not a fan of spicy food, that it would be the perfect ending to a nice Mexican dinner.

Tres Leches Cake

for the cake:

  • 190 grams self raising flour, plus extra for dusting the cake pan
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 225 grams caster sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
for the 3 milk infusion:

  • 1 can(397 grams) condensed milk
  • 1 can(410 grams) evaporated milk
  • 250 ml whole milk
for the topping(if you want one)
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/155C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4. 
  2. Lightly oil and flour a 9 inch springform pan or 13 by 9-inch metal  and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy. 
  5. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. 
  7. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. 
  8. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. 
  9. Add the flour mixture to the batter one third at a time and mix just until combined. 
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. . Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes, if using the springform pan, or 25 minutes if using teh 13×9 pan, or until the cake is lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Allow the cake to cook on a wire rack, removing from the pan after 5 minutes.
  12. Place the cake in another pan, larger than the diameter of the cake.  Use a fork, or a pointed knife, to make holes all over the top of the cake.
  13. Mix the condensed, evaporated and full milks together, whisking to combine.
  14. Then slowly pour the mixture over the cake.  It doesn’t all have to be poured at once.  Do it slowly, allowing time for the milk to be absorbed.  Some will run over the edge, hence the larger pan.  
  15. Once all the milk has been poured over place the cake in the refrigerator, for at least 4 hours.  This will allow it to firm up a little, as it will be very soggy having had all that milk poured over it.
  16. When it is firm, beat the cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until it has thickened nicely.
  17. Then you can either spread it over the top of the cake, or serve it separately.

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