See these three milks (tres leches)? Imagine them stirred up together and poured over a hot sponge cake that soaks up every drop until it is bursting with sweet milk, and then slathered with a light & fluffy white topping after being chilled. That’s this cake. And it’s fabulous.
My first and only Tres Leches Cake experience prior to making this one was taking a bite of one that was brought to a Church potluck dinner a decade ago. I believe it was made from a mix and there is no comparison between it and this one. The texture was too fine and the cake too moist to properly absorb all the liquid and flavor of the milks and it was almost a pile of mush on my plate. Not very appetizing.
If it wasn’t for my friend, Marina, who provides me with so many wonderful recipes, I never would have tried another. But she mentioned that she had a fabulous recipe for one and since I can’t resist a fabulous recipe, particularly one that comes from her, I asked if she would share it and happily for us, she did!
I made the cake for my husband to take to a Mexican-themed potluck at work, along with Chicken Enchilada Chili. They gobbled it up and Dennis came home with rave reviews. The story that tickled me most was about a co-worker who has been on a diet but decided to take a small piece. He was still standing next to the cake when he took his first bite and immediately cut himself a larger second piece before he even finished the first. I don’t blame him!
Just look at this milk-laden goodness. If you stare at it long enough, you can almost hear it whisper, “Eat me. You know you want to.”
I did nab a piece myself before sending it off with Dennis. What, don’t you take a piece for yourself before bringing cake to potlucks? You should–just tell anyone that asks that you did it for quality control purposes. Works for me. Anyway, see that piece below with the cherries on top, à la Pioneer Woman? I ate that sucker in a minute flat. Then I licked the plate.
I’m sending this recipe to Creative Sanyukta, the host for this week’s BSI–milk!
TRES LECHE CAKE
6 large eggs, separated
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. (I’m impatient so I beat them on high speed.) Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and beat to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden & a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
To make the cream topping:
Whisk together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a medium bowl. Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the icing:
Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 to 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. While beating, add the hot syrup in a stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture cools, and a glossy icing forms.
To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
recipe courtesy of Marina C.
*Veronica’s Note: This recipe is similar to Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but makes a larger cake (compare the ingredients, there’s larger quantities of most everything) and the method is easier–you don’t have to use more than one bowl. Also, instead of whipped cream on top, Marina’s calls for a light egg white frosting (you may have heard it called 7-minute frosting, but the method here is a little different) that is fat-free, and since the cake already contains three highly caloric milks, I thought it was heavy enough without adding any additional fat. It wasn’t a hard decision choosing Marina’s recipe over Ree’s (although I am a faithful PW fan), despite those drool-worthy pictures, and I don’t regret it.
so THIS is a tres leche cake! Wow, look at that luscious richness! My jeans are getting tight just looking at that lovely goodness…
Milk is SUCH a glorious, wondrous thing to bake with. And three of them…it’s triple the fantasy!
Have a good week, Veronica!
p.s. I hope you saw your lovely vegan cake on my Challenge Round-Up…Haha, it was def a popular one!
Hey Sophia! Life has been so crazy lately that I haven’t been online much since the middle of last week. I did see that round-up but didn’t even have time to comment but I will go back and do so now. I enjoyed scanning everyone’s submissions but would like to go through and click the links this time–thanks for reminding me. And thanks for hosting that challenge–it was fun! Hope your week is EXCELLENT!
Veronica, you make my favorite cake and I can’t even have a piece!!! I need to make this one. Marina has awesome recipes.
I didn’t know this is your favorite! Aw, you know I’d give you a piece if you were closer.
I made this for my husband’s birthday today because he loves tres leches so much. Well turns out he hated it so much. I’m so disappointed and sad because I thought it was going to be so good especially with all the good comments and feedback.
I’m soooo so disappointed and sad too! I’m so sorry it was not his idea of a good tres leches cake. :(
Do you think it was the topping? Maybe he would have liked whipped cream better?
That’s it. I’m making this now.
I am very certain that tres leches cake is god’s gift to the world. This looks absolutely amazing! I am a total PW lover but this recipe looks like it can’t be missed.
Hi Veronica, I seen this on Marinas recipes and i wanted to try it and never got around to doing it. Gosh, that cake is calling my name Lol. It does look very good, you know i never had a tres leche cake. I will make this one for sure! Great pictures girl! I see you and I both are aldis fans! :)
Haha–yeah, Aldi is my friend. :)
Yum! Just another recipe to put on my must make list!
This looks like the perfect recipe for this cake! Very moist but not mushy at all! :)
I made this and it was heavenly. Hubby doesn’t usually gor for condensed milk ANYTHING… but this one sucked him right in!! Thank you for posting her recipe!
Thanks for letting me know! Glad Glenn liked it too.
I thought it was so funny how Kim got her hubby to eat the tres leche cake…tricky girl!! hehe..love your site and all the recipes…
Thanks, M, and thanks for the wonderful recipes!
How did I totally miss this blog?!
My all time favorite cake!!
Looks amaaazing. I compared it to Pioneer Woman’s and like the idea of a bigger cake AND less dishes.. great work!
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Thanks Veronica for the recipe! This is my husband’s favorite cake so I am making it for Valentine’s Day .
Glad I could help with your celebration! Let me know how it turns out!
This is in the oven right now!!! Can’t wait to taste it. Something with that much cream in it has to be good:)
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How many people will this serve?
I’m a newlywed to a Cuban Sicilian man and today 5/12/15 is his birthday so I’ve been in the kitchen since last night cooking. Everything authentic. Black beans, cilantro rice, Bistec Empanizado, MOJO, cilantro lime chutneys, Mojito with fresh mint and berries, yucca and plantains and this recipe for Tres Leches Cake! I’m IRISH AMERICAN and I’m pretty proud of myself. So thank you for writing this and helping me. I’m a perfectionist and even beat everything by hand to being some memories back when his mom use to cook for him who passed away from Leukemia, so again thank you for teaching me about new culture and starting a new tradition for us!
That is so wonderful to hear!! Thank you for telling me this Kasie! I hope you guys enjoyed the cake. :) You are a wonderful wife to do this for his birthday.
I’m about to make this for my Son he loves tres leeches and it’s his Birthday! I hope he likes it!
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Hi, I made this for some friends who came for dinner, Wow!!! It was amazing
I have just made another today for more friends coming over for a barbecue tomorrow.
It is now a must have when friends come over.
Thank you for this delicious recipe.
Thank you for the feedback! I’m so glad you and your friends enjoyed!
The sugar amount is wrong. Should be 1 cup. Couldn’t find my original recipe so I decided to try this one. Not good. Top was all glassy and broke when I poked it and it was hollow and sticky inside. Threw it out. Thank goodness I found my old recipe.
Sorry this recipe didn’t work for you Vicki! I’m glad you found your tried and true one.
Hi Veronica !!
I love you recipe I just was wondering where did you found your pan. Since this is
a large cake I don’t have a pan this big. Thank you !! :)
This is the one I use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EOQC7C/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=veronscornu-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B000EOQC7C&linkId=5088374cf0b497084d3a8265a6f11892
The story of Tres Leches in Miami (where it got a reputation as a Cuban dessert) is that it suddenly appeared during the Sandinista revolution when an influx of Nicaraguans brought it over and it appeared on their restaurants’ dessert menus. Originally, it was a Mexican recipe but it was in Nicaragua that it really took off, from there to Miami, and from there to the rest of the country.
This is a legitimate recipe in that the topping is stiff meringue and not whipped cream. If whipped cream is used on top, this would make it 4 leches. I think that the reason that restaurants started serving whipped cream as the topping is dual: 1) easier and faster 2) no raw egg whites (since cooking the egg whites using hot syrup is time consuming, most people just use egg whites and sugar).
As it happens, an actual 4 leches has evolved in which the topping becomes piped on dulce de leche. This last rendition really tops off the sweetness meter–a bit much, even for me.
This recipe it’s amazing. My son wants tres leches for his graduation party so do you think I can use this recipe to make them as a cup cakes?
Ok I’ve done your recipe before but I’m only doing it for one cake recipe from a cake box but followed the rest on your recipe so does this mean I should cut the milk mixture in half?