Photo by Zorymar Martinez

Torta Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)

Cuisine: Latin

What is it about tres leches, or three milks cake, that makes it work so well? Why does it require three different types of the same ingredient? And who invented it? Whatever the answers may be, the fact is that tres leches has become one of the most popular and enduring desserts in Latin America. From Mexico to Argentina, this sweet treat can be found in bakeries, restaurants and homes. Over time, cooks from all corners have added their own twist to the recipe. At Hispanic Kitchen, for example, you'll find chocolate, arequipe and even piña colada versions of the dessert. Even non-Latino brands like Haagen Dazs have jumped on the tres leches bandwagon.

But if you're from the school of thought that nothing beats homemade, this recipe is for you. Like most good cakes, it takes a little time but it sooooo worth it!


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For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 300º F degrees. Put the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and mix with electric mixer at high-speed for 15 minutes. Slowly incorporate the flour by sifting it and folding it into the mix.
  2. Generously butter and flour a baking pan (I used a 20cm Pyrex) and pour the mix in it, bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the cake is a light golden color -when you poke it with a toothpick it should come out clean. Gently take the cake out of the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Once the cake is cooled, place back into the pan it was baked in.
For the Cream
  1. In a bowl, pour the three milks: condensed milk, evaporated milk and thick cream. Whisk well to combine, and then proceed to pour slowly over the cake.
  2. It may seem that there is too much liquid, but don’t worry, the cake will absorb it all. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
For the Topping
  1. Mix the 3 egg whites and the 6 tablespoons of sugar in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer at high-speed for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until soft peaks are formed.
  2. Spoon this into a pastry bag (I made one out of a resealable plastic bag) and using a pastry tip proceed to decorate the top of the cake; finish it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Chef Notes

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