Pastel de Tres Leches (Three-Milk Cake)

I’ve been wanting to make Pastel de Tres Leches (Three-Milk Cake) for weeks now. But cake is not one of those desserts you can make just because. So since before Christmas, I’ve been waiting for a good reason to make this. And tonight, I got one.

Liam and I were invited over to his friend Amy’s house for dinner. She made this amazing picadillo-plaintain lasagne. And for dessert, I made my cake!

It’s a pretty basic, straightforward recipe, which takes zip time to put together and bake. The exciting part is mixing the tres leches together and then pouring the mixture over the cake. Like a sponge, the cake absorbs all that sweet, sticky goodness and becomes this rich, moist but not soggy pudding-cake. Seriously good stuff.

I loved eating this cake as much as I did making it.  I would’ve enjoyed a stronger vanilla flavor and a little less sugar, so next time I’ll probably make these adjustments.


Pastel de Tres Leches / Tres Leches Cake (adapted from a recipe from The Pioneer Woman)



1 cup all-purpose flour

1  1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5 whole eggs

1 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup milk (I used whole, but I think non-fat could be substituted)

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sweetened, condensed milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

Icing (optional–I dusted the top with confectioners’ sugar instead)

1 pint heavy cream, for whipping

3 tbsp sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13 inch pan liberally until coated. (I used a 9-inch springform.)
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Separate the eggs. Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
  4. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  5. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently, until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread to even out the surface. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
  6. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When the cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the cake—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can. Allow the cake to absorb the liquid for 3o minutes (or overnight works too). (There was a little liquid left after 1 hour of soaking, which I poured out.)
  7. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tbsp sugar until thick and spreadable. Spread icing over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve. (If you don’t want icing, which I didn’t, just dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. The cake is definitely sweet and rich enough on its own.)

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  • junbelen  On January 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Amazing cake, right? I just made my very first one for my birthday and it was delicious! It’s one of those little-known desserts that are just seriously delicious.

    Happy New Year!

    • Theresa  On January 13, 2010 at 12:50 am

      Glad yours turned out too! It’s definitely one of my favorites now. (^_^)


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