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Easy Tres Leches Cake

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This easy Tres Leches Cake is a traditional Latin American Dessert. With light as a feather sponge. Which is soaked with a mixture of three different kinds of milk. Condensed, Evaporated and Whole milk.

Tres Leches cake on a white plate

I’ve recently joined a virtual group of friends for a monthly Progressive Party called ‘Progressive Eats’. A virtual monthly menu based around a given theme. I love this idea, it reminds me of the cake clubs days, only it’s done virtually. We may never get to meet, in person, but it’s a great way to connect with like-minded people. More about that later. This month’s theme is based around Latin American food.

In doing my research for this recipe, I discovered that you need lots of air bubbles in the sponge to soak up all the lovely kinds of milk. Some recipes use butter in their sponge mix, like this delicious version on That Skinny Chick Can Bake website.

For this recipe, I’m using the whisked egg white method. Very similar in process to making a Swiss roll sponge.

How to make a Tres Leches Cake

I’ve produced a step by step instructions for you to follow. Have a good read through before you get started

Once you’ve preheated your oven. Grease an ovenproof dish 9″ x 6.5″ x 3″ (23cm x 17″x 8″) deep. I used the large 2.5L dish from the Joseph and Joseph nest glass storage collection. This sponge will rise quite high while baking, so make sure your dish is deep enough. It’ll shrink back as it cools. So don’t think you have a disaster on your hands.

Make the light as a feather sponge

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Separate the eggs into two other bowls. Add 75g of the sugar to the bowl of egg yolks. Ensure that the bowl containing the egg whites is free from any grease etc. Including any egg yolk. If even the tiniest amount of egg yolk is present the egg whites will never whisk. Ideally, you should separate each egg individually into small bowls before transferring them to the larger mixing bowls.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick, creamy and a pale yellow in colour. You should be able to form a trail of ribbons in the mixture. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Gently mix until well combined. You should have a thick creamy batter.

How to whisk egg whites.

Using an electric hand mixer. Beat the egg whites, which you have already separated into another bowl until stiff peaks appear. Do not overbeat. Add the remaining sugar(25g), a little at a time. Keep beating until smooth stiff peaks have formed. This should only take a few minutes.

How to fold in the whisked egg whites

Very carefully fold in a 1/3rd of the whisked egg whites into the cake batter until well combined. This is best done by using a large metal spoon cutting through the egg whites, as you fold it into the cake batter.

Repeat until all of the whisked egg whites are fully incorporated into the cake batter. Do not beat or over mix. Or be tempted to use an electric mixer or you will lose all the lovely air bubbles in the egg whites. Ensure everything is well combined and that there are no lumps of egg whites. Cut through any remaining clumps of whisked egg whites until you have a smooth cake batter.

Pour the batter evenly and smoothly into the prepared dish. Give the dish a slight tap on the countertop to bring any large air bubbles to the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven, for 20 minutes, or until baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 20 mins. DO NOT TURN OUT. Leave in the dish as you will be adding the milk later.

Don’t be alarmed.  The sponge will shrink and come away from the sides of the dish as it cools.

How to add the three milk mixture

While the cake is cooling. Mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, whole milk, and Vanilla extract into a jug. The condensed milk is thicker than the other two milks. So make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.

When the cake has cooled, make holes all over the top of the cake with a fork. Making sure the fork goes all the way to the bottom of the dish. You want the milk to soak all the way through the cake.

Starting at the centre, carefully pour 3/4 of the milk mixture over the top of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge. After about an hour, check to see how things are going. Then add the remaining milk mixture. Return to the fridge and leave for a minimum of 6 hours. Preferably overnight to allow the sponge to soak up all the milk.

How to decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit

Adding the whipped cream topping

When ready to serve. Take the cake out of the fridge. Carefully turn the cake out onto a large plate. You can do this by placing the large plate over the top of the dish and carefully flip the whole thing over. Using a large plate will enable you to catch any residual milk that may not have soaked into the sponge.

If you’re not confident at turning out the cake onto a plate, leave the sponge in the dish. It’ll still be ideal for serving and storing.

Whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks are formed. Do not overbeat or the whole thing could turn into butter. Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the top of the cake.

Decorate with your favourite fresh fruits.

Why this cake works:

  • Making a light sponge with lots of air pockets means that you soak up much more of the milk mixture.
  • Using three different kinds of milk is what a Tres Leches cake is famous for. However, some people may think this kind of dessert is too sweet.

Notes:

  • Because of the three kinds of milk, fresh fruits and cream, this cake must be kept in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 days
  • This cake will make 6 large or 12 small portions.

Progressive Eats

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Late Summer Latin American Cuisine – casual warm weather fare – salads, grilled foods, summer cocktails, and our host is Tamara who blogs at Beyond Mere Sustenance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!

Late Summer Latin American Cuisine!

Cocktails

Appetizers

Main Courses

Sides

Desserts

 

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Tres Leches cake on a white plate

Easy Tres Leches cake

This easy Tres Leches Cake is a traditional Latin American Dessert. With a light as a feather sponge. Which is soaked with a mixture of three different kinds of milk. Condensed, Evaporated and Whole milk.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: Latin American
Keyword: Easy to make,, Light sponge,
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Allowing the milk to soak into the sponge for a minimum of: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Lynn Hill

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 100 grams plain/all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt 1/8 teaspoon
  • 4 medium eggs separated into two bowls
  • 100 grams caster sugar or granulated sugar.
  • 60 ml whole milk (full fat milk)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the milk mixture

  • 125 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 150 ml evaporated milk
  • 75 ml whole milk full fat
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the topping

  • 300 ml double or whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180deg/160fan. Grease an ovenproof dish 9ins x 6.5ins x 3ins (23cm x 17cm x 8cm) deep. DO NOT USE A LOOSE BOTTOMED TIN. This sponge will rise quite high while baking, so make sure your dish is deep enough. It’ll shrink back as it cools. So don’t think you have a disaster on your hands.

Make the light as a feather sponge

  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. If you haven’t already done so, separate the eggs into two other bowls. Add 75g of the sugar to the bowl of egg yolks. Ensure that the bowl containing the egg whites is free from any grease etc. Including any egg yolk.
  • If even the tiniest amount of egg yolk is present the egg whites will never whisk. Ideally, you should separate each egg individually into small bowls before transferring them to the larger mixing bowls.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick, creamy and a pale yellow in colour. You should be able to form a trail of ribbons in the mixture. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Gently mix until well combined. You should have a thick creamy batter.

How to whisk egg whites.

  • Using an electric hand mixer. Beat the egg whites, which you have already separated into another bowl until stiff peaks appear. Do not overbeat. Add the remaining sugar(25g), a little at a time. Keep beating until smooth stiff peaks have formed. This should only take a few minutes.

How to fold in the whisked egg whites

  • Very carefully fold in a 1/3rd of the whisked egg whites into the cake batter until well combined. This is best done by using a large metal spoon cutting through the egg whites, as you fold it into the cake batter.
  • Repeat until all of the whisked egg whites are fully incorporated into the cake batter. Do not beat or over mix. Or be tempted to use an electric mixer or you will lose all the lovely air bubbles in the egg whites. Ensure everything is well combined and that there are no lumps of egg whites. Cut through any remaining clumps of whisked egg whites until you have a smooth cake batter.
  • Pour the batter evenly and smoothly into the prepared dish. Give the dish a slight tap on the countertop to bring any large air bubbles to the top.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven, for 20 minutes, or until baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 20 mins. DO NOT TURN OUT. Leave in the dish as you will be adding the milk later.
  • Don’t be alarmed. The sponge will shrink and come away from the sides of the dish as it cools.

How to add the three milk mixture

  • While the cake is cooling. Mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, whole milk, and Vanilla extract into a jug. The condensed milk is thicker than the other two kinds of milk. So make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.
  • When the cake has cooled, make holes all over the top of the cake with a fork. Making sure the fork goes all the way to the bottom of the dish. You want the milk to soak all the way through the cake.
  • Starting at the centre, carefully pour 3/4 of the milk mixture over the top of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge. After about an hour, check to see how things are going. Then add the remaining milk mixture. Return to the fridge and leave for a minimum of 6 hours. Preferably overnight to allow the sponge to soak up all the milk.

How to decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit

  • When ready to serve. Take the cake out of the fridge. Carefully turn the cake out onto a large plate. You can do this by placing the large plate over the top of the dish and carefully flip the whole thing over. Using a large plate will enable you to catch any residual milk that may not have soaked into the sponge.
  • If you’re not confident at turning out the cake onto a plate, leave the sponge in the dish. It’ll still be ideal for serving and storing.
  • Whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks are formed. Do not overbeat or your mixture will turn to butter.
    Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the top of the cake.
  • Decorate with your favourite fresh fruits.

Notes

Making a light sponge with lots of air pockets means that you soak up much more of the milk mixture.
Using three different milks is what a Tres Leches cake is famous for. However, some people may think this kind of dessert is too sweet.
Because of the three kinds of milk, fresh fruits and cream, this cake must be kept in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 days
This cake will make 6 large or 12 small portions.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how you got on. Tag me on Instagram at @clandestinecake and include hashtag #clandestinecake

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17 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this dessert Lynn but have never made it myself; I think that must change, yours looks not just delicious but so lovely with the colorful garnish.

    Nice to have someone from ‘across the pond’ joining us in Progressive Eats…now if we could all just get together and enjoy this bounty of delicious food!

    • It would certainly be wonderful to meet up one day. In the meantime, we have some amazing recipes to enjoy while taking a virtual cuisine tour.

  2. I love to order Tres Leche when I am dining out. I’ve never made one myself. You have inspired me to get to baking!

    • Thanks, Dorothy. A Tres Leches cake is not something we see on a menu here in the UK. I’m hoping to inspire more people to have a go at making it.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, Lynn and welcome to Progressive Eats! This looks amazing and it’s garnished so beautifully! Looking forward to more of your beautiful recipes!

  4. This looks so perfect! What a beautiful way to decorate a tres leches cake! Welcome to the group. So happy you are with us!

    • Thanks, Karen. I’m delighted to be part of the group. I’m looking forward to learning more about different cuisines from the other group members.

  5. 5 stars
    Welcome to our little group!! You worked hard on this cake and it has turned out impressive!! Looks absolutely delicious!

    • Thanks, Ansh. I’m thrilled to be part of this lovely group. I’m really pleased with the end result after so much recipe testing.

  6. 5 stars
    What a beautiful cake Lynn! I would be afraid that I would eat the entire cake all by myself, LOL. Glad to have you join our party!!

  7. 5 stars
    Wow – what a wonderful way to start with us, Lynn! I’m so glad you’ve joined our group and are bringing us terrific recipes like this! It looks like a very authentic way to make this classic cake!

    • Thanks, Susan. Joining this group is taking me out of my comfort zone a little. Moving away from classic British recipes and wanting to introduce my readers to other cuisines.

  8. 5 stars
    Your tres leches cake is gorgeous! I love how you garnished it and I’m certain it tastes as good as it looks. So glad to have you join us!
    P.S. I’m in Germany with my family and if certainly is toasty!!

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