Inma of la Galletika was our September 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she did bring us something decadent and delicious! Very popular in Central and South America, the Pastel de Tres Leches – Three Milk Cake – is a super moist, light, airy and delicious sponge cake soaked in the three kinds of milk (evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream). Tres Leches is a very light cake, especially if made without butter, with many air bubbles in its crumb. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

This recipe slightly adapted from an interview given by one of Mexico’s best Pastry Chefs, Paulina Abascal to the magazine Revista Secretos de la Pastelería Caserais. My first Tres Leches cake was very similar one that I made for my mother’s birthday last year. The toasted coconut and maraschino cherries topping was a huge hit with everyone which is why I decided the repeat the same for my September Daring Bakers challenge. If you’ve never made this cake before, you’d be really sorry to miss this delicious opportunity.



For the Vanilla Sponge

5 large eggs, separated

½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose flour, sifted

For Three Milks Syrup

1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat)

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring)

For the Topping and Filling

2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)

½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar

Canned or fresh fruit, to fill and decorate the cake


  • Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare a square 9”x9” (23x23cm) pan or 9” (23cm) round pan.

  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes with an electric mixer.

  • When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches. Whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.

  • In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes until pale and creamy. Stir in vanilla.

  • Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.

  • Fold in flour little by little in the form of rain. Mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack.

  • Once cool, split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake.

  • To prepare the three milk soaking liquid, place condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream in a medium saucepan.

  • Add cinnamon stick, bring mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Once it is cool, add rum or any other flavoring you are using.  Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid over the cake.

  • It is best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process. Whip the cream till soft peaks form.

  • Then add sugar, little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 minutes. Store in fridge until required.

  • Layer whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit. Decorate top layer with more cream.

  • Garnish with more fresh or canned fruit. It is better if the cake has time to mellow in the refrigerator at least one hour.

  • The finished Tres Leches cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if well covered. Makes 12 generous servings.

Daring Bakers September Challenge – Tres Leches Cake