This easy dessert recipe consists of an airy sponge cake that is soaked in a creamy, sweet, mixture of three different types of milk and then topped with fluffy vanilla whipped cream.
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Also called ‘pastel de tres leche’, this dessert is a traditional celebratory dessert in Latin America. I have eaten this luscious treat in Nicaragua, Columbia, Mexico, and as far as Turkey. And can I tell you, they were all equally as decadent and delicious. This easy dessert recipe is something that I hope you will add to your repertoire.
WHAT IS TRES LECHE CAKE
Tres leche, or three milk cake, is either a fluffy sponge cake, pound cake, or traditional yellow cake that is poked with a toothpick or small dowel to create small holes. Then a sweet, creamy mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream is poured on top and allowed to seep and soak into the cake.
Now if that isn’t enough, the cake is then topped with either meringue or whipped cream. This is what ‘gilding the lily’ refers to. Pure delicious decadence.
HOW IS A TRES LECHE CAKE MADE
This recipe is easy to customize. If you don’t like baking and prefer a boxed mix, go for it. Make a sponge cake, a pound cake, or a white or yellow cake. All of them will be equally delicious.
The most important part of this recipe is the three milk soaking liquid. You want to use all three of the different milks. Sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream all add a different flavor profile to the dish.
The recipe is as simple as making (or buying) an unfrosted cake, poking holes into it, and soaking it in the mixture of the three kinds of milk.
Then, top the cake with either whipped cream or meringue. Delicious.
If you are feeling inspired to complete a Latin American themed meal, try my recipe for Nicaraguan Gallo Pinto or try these wonderful recipes that I have made from my fellow bloggers:
- Nicaraguan Chicken In Coconut Milk by whatdoyoucrave.com. The flavors are indescribably delicious.
- Sopa de Frijoles (Nicaraguan-style bean soup) by kikasbocadillos.com. If you like Cuban black bean soup, just try this. Mind blown!
- Nicatamales by internationalcuisine.com. These are incredible and not only for the holidays.
TRES LECHE CAKE
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: Serves 8
An easy dessert recipe for a sponge cake that is soaked in a mixture of three milks and topped with whipped cream. This Latin American favorite is sure to be your family’s favorite as well.
For the cake
- Unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the whipped cream:
- 1 cups heavy whipping cream, ice-cold
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Start by making the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using baking spray or additional butter, grease a 9-inch round cake pan or flan/tart pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together.
- In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar at medium speed until they eggs are pale in color, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the whole milk into the egg yolks and mix until combined.
- Beat the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture until well mixed.
- With a spatula, fold in the egg whites until no white streaks remain.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely – about 2 hours.
- Using a fork or a toothpick, poke holes all over the cake.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, and the vanilla.
- Spoon the mixture all over the top of the cake, paying special attention to the edges and corners.
- Allow the cake to absorb all of the milk mixture – about 30 minutes.
- To make the whipped cream, pour the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla into a medium bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture until medium peaks form, about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Spoon the whipped cream onto the cake and using an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream to the edges.
- Serve the cake cold with berries, if desired.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Serving Size: 1