Tres Leches is a classic decadent dessert originating in Latin America. The name ‘Tres Leches’ literally translates to three milks. This is in reference to evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream which soak into a light airy sponge cake.
A layer of thick whipped vanilla cream and fragrant cinnamon enhance the succulent sponge. Overall the taste is soft, sweet and luscious and there is a cool wetness from the combined milk which can be quite surprising on the palate.
The origins of this recipe come from a time when a stale cake could not be wasted so it was soaked and repurposed in another way. Condensing milk occurred in the 1800s and were brought from Europe by boat to Latin America. It is similar to the tiramisu in the sense that a liquid is soaked into the cake.
The hardest part of cooking this cake is making the sponge cake. Once you have done that the rest is simple. Simply combine the 3 milks, pour over, whip and top cream and sprinkle cinnamon.
Check out our Decadent Desserts category for more delicious Dessert Recipes.
Tres Leches Cake Recipe
- 1 13"x9"x3" Ceramic Baking Dish Baking Tin
- 1 Electric Hand Mixer
- 1 ½ cups Plain flour
- 2 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 ½ cups Sugar divided into 1 cup Egg white & ½ cup (egg yolks)
- 1 ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Full cream milk
- 7 Large eggs
- 500 mls Evaporated milk
- 375 mls Sweetened condensed milk
- 125 mls Thickened cream
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups Cold thickened cream
- 3 Tbsp Icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla essence
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 cup Fresh Strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and butter a 9” x 13” x 3” ceramic baking dish
- Separate egg whites and yolks into two separate bowls
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form, add ¼ cup of castor sugar and continue to beat eggs until egg whites are stiff.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with remaining sugar and vanilla essence on high until a pale and glossy, add milk and beat on low until combined.
- In a separate bowl mix plain flour, baking powder & salt
- Sift flour mixture into the yolk mix & fold together gently
- Gently fold in egg whites with a spatula, until just combined.
- Grease the inside of the baking dish with butter & pour the batter in, spreading the cake mixture evenly.
- Bake on 170 degrees (fan forced) for 35 mins or until golden brown on top (test with skewer).
For the 3-Milk Syrup
- In a large measuring jug (or a bowl with a pouring lip), combine the thickened cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk.
- When the cake is cool, pierce the surface all over with a skewer. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the cake.
- Wrap with cling wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes or until liquid is all soaked in (the longer the better).
To Make the Whipped Cream Frosting
- Pour the cold thickened cream into a large chilled mixing bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes and the icing sugar and vanilla essence and whip until thick, whipped and spreadable.
Topping the cake
- Spread the whipped cream over the cake with a spatula, dust with cinnamon then decorate with berries if desired.
Other delicious toppings
- Leave out the cinnamon and drizzle Dulce de leche all over the whipped cream, a classic topping for Tres Leches.
- Leave out the cinnamon and go all out with strawberries –
- In large bowl, mix 3 cups of sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup icing sugar; let sit for 15minutes, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, Spoon sugared berries and liquid over top of the whipped cream.
Recipe creation & styling by Scarlett Forward, Post written by Carmen Forward,
Website & photo editing by Rachel Trevarton.