Pastel Tres Leches

10 Aug

This is my mother’s recipe for this delicious cake. The name translates to Three Milks Cake, because the sponge is soaked with a sweet, creamy syrup made with three kinds of milk.

The cake:

2 cups sugar

2 cups cake flour, sifted

9 eggs, separated

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the sugar and the egg yolks, until creamy. Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla and milk and beat for two minutes to combine.

Separately beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. It should not be stiff. Fold gently into the flour mixture. You should see the back of the spatula as you fold.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The cake is not turned out of the pan, so my mother always uses a rectangular, oven-proof glass dish and serves it in it. Grease well with butter to prevent sticking.

The syrup:

2 cans evaporated milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and beat well.

Once the cake is cool, prick the surface with a thin, long skewer, making holes all over. Pour enough syrup to cover the whole cake. Repeat after a few minutes. Check if it needs more, as you want to avoid dry spots. I think here in Honduras it is more common to use whole milk instead of cream, which results in a lighter cake. This is the original recipe as my mother got it, but one can always alter it according to personal taste.

The topping of choice for us is cream, whipped, which is vastly different from the stuff that comes out of a pressurized can. Just take 2 to 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream (or heavy cream if you like), add enough confectioner’s sugar to make it sweet, and whip until it is fluffy and almost double in volume. Spread over the cake.

You can use decorating tips if you like to make it fancy, or use candied cherries for a spot of color. Store the cake in the refrigerator.


3 Responses to “Pastel Tres Leches”

  1. jolynna August 10, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Yummmmm!!!!! That sounds so good I would probably end up eating the whole cake in one sitting.

    Seriously, I have never seen this recipe before, but sounds delicous.

  2. lvmg (Lizzy) August 10, 2007 at 5:44 pm #

    My mother made it last week and it didn’t last very long! This is a very popular dessert throughout Latin America, with several countries claiming to be the birthplace of the recipe.

    Here’s the Wikipedia entry:

  3. SusieJ August 16, 2007 at 8:13 am #

    OH my… I’ve never heard of this — must try this!! Thanks.

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