Tres Leches Cake History:
Also called Three-Milk Cake.
A dense, moist cake topped with a cloud of vanilla whipped cream. What makes it unusual is that after baked, it is perforated and soaked in a mixture of three different milk products:
evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk or heavy cream, hence the name Tres Leches. The three milks, when combined, create just the right sweetness, density
and "mouth feel" for a rich cake, making it moist but not mushy. The cake is like one big giant sponge soaking up the delicious milk syrup.
is dispute over where it was first created. It is though to have come from native from
Nicaragua by most historians. This cake is very popular in Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto
Rico, and Guatemala. I can find no proof of this, but the origin of the recipe is reported to come from the back of an evaporated milk
or condensed milk can in Latin America to promote the use of the product. Evaporated milk and condensed milk were sold throughout Central and South America and even the
Caribbean. By doing this, the company would boost their milk sales, which was probably the original idea.
Condensed milk first came into use in the mid-1850s as a way to
preserve milk in cans, without refrigeration. Evaporated milk first became available
during the 1870s when milk companies were able to heat the evaporated milk so that it
would not spoil in the cans, thereby making the sugar unnecessary. They both became an
immediate success in urban areas where fresh milk was difficult to distribute and store.
This cake probably became popular in the early 1900s. Today, the use of condensed and
evaporated milk is a part of Latin American culture.
Tres Leches Cake Recipe
This Tres Leches Cake recipe and photo were shared with me by Diane Rodiquez of Pleasanton, CA.
Diane adapted this recipe from The Cocina Cubana Club (Pascual Perez and Sonia Martinez).
Cuisine: South America, Mexican
Yields: 10 servings
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 50 min
Cake Recipe (see recipe below)
Three-Milks Syrup (see recipe below)
Topping (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Prepare the Cake Recipe. While the cake is cooling, prepare the Three-Milks Syrup.
Once the cake is completely cooled, pierce the
cake thoroughly (every 1/2 inch) with a long-tined fork (wiping fork occasionally to reduce sticking),
taking care that you don't tear the cake up. Place the cake (in the baking
dish) on a rimmed baking sheet (this is to catch the syrup when it
overflows). Slowly pour the Three-Milks Syrup over the top of the cake, spooning the
overflow back on top until all the syrup is absorbed.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, prepare
the Topping Mixture. Spread the prepared Topping over the top of the cake and serve
Makes 10 generous servings.
1 cup granulated
eggs, separated and room temperature
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose
1 1/2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a large bowl of your electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup sugar and 5 egg yolks
approximately 5 minutes or until the yolks are pale yellow in color. Gently stir or fold in the milk, vanilla extract, flour,
and baking powder; set aside.
In another clean bowl of your electric mixer, beat the 5 egg whites until
soft peaks form, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add
the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy
and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk
mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Check out
How To Make Perfect Egg White Meringues.
Bake approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the
center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake cool completely on
a wire rack.
Once the cake is completely cooled, pierce the cake thoroughly (every 1/2 inch) with a
long-tined fork (wiping fork occasionally to reduce sticking), taking
care that you don't tear the cake up. Place the cake (in the baking dish) on
a rimmed baking sheet (this is to catch the syrup when it overflows).
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy or
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoons dark Cuban rum
In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk,
cream, vanilla extract, and rum, whisking until well blended.
Slowly pour the syrup over the top of the cake, spooning the overflow back
on top until all the syrup is absorbed.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until
stiff peaks form.