Tres leches (Three-milk cake)

Tres leches recipe (Dominican three-milk cake)

There are a couple of bakeries in Santo Domingo famous for their tres leches (three-milk cake). Each version is slightly different, especially their textures and sweetness levels.

There are many theories on the origin of tres leches cake; whatever it might be the fact is that it has become part of our vernacular cuisine and one of everybody’s favorites.

Tres leches (Three-milk cake)

The arrival of tres leches to our country is relatively recent. I think the first time I saw it was sometime in the early 80s, when it suddenly became the “belle du jour” in every bakery.

However, tres leches is not the first cake with this concept. The Italian tiramisú is also soaked in liquid (coffee). Perhaps this was the inspiration for this version.

Tres leches (Three-milk cake)

Despite the sweetness and richness, tres leches is not a cloying cake. And therein lies its danger.

Its smooth, moist texture easily leads to overeating. A sin I have most definitely been known to have indulged in. Because if gluttony will be the cause of your downfall, you can’t make a better choice than this dessert to do it.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Tres leches (Three-milk cake)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6 large portions
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter (1/2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, separated eggs and yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of butter to butter pan
  • 1 tablespoon of flour to butter pan
  • ~For garnishing:
  • ¾ cups of sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • ¾ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • Strawberries or cherries for decoration (optional)
Instructions
  1. Butter and flour a baking pan (3" height x 9" diameter [7.5 cm heigh x 22.5 cm diam]).
  2. Heat oven to 350 °F [175 °C].
  3. Using the wire whisk of your mixer beat the whites until they form peaks. Add half the sugar and beat until it is incorporated. Pour into a large bowl and reserve.
  4. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer beat butter and yolks for 3 minutes at medium high speed.
  5. Add the remaining sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy and has a very light yellow color (about 5 mins). Add vanilla extract then slowly add the flour until it's well-mixed. Remove from the mixer.
  6. Add ⅓ of the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold in the egg whites into the flour mix. Add the remaining white in two steps folding in each time with the spatula.
  7. Pour batter into the baking pan.
  8. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and it has a golden color on top (about 35 mins).
  9. Cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Place on a lipped plate that can hold the milk sauce.
For the garnish
  1. Mix evaporated, skim and condensed milk. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  2. Poke holes into the cake using a fork. Pour the milk mixture on top of the cake and let it soak in. Bathing it regularly until it has absorbed half of the liquid (one to two hours) keeping in the refrigerator all this time.
  3. Chill the mixer bowl and wire whisk before the next step.
  4. Beat the whipping cream over medium high speed until it starts to form peaks (about 3 mins).
  5. Add the powdered sugar and beat until it is mixed in, but careful not to overdo it or the cream will turn into butter.
  6. Spread the whipped cream on the chilled cake and decorate with strawberries or cherries.
  7. Chill for another 10 minutes before serving
Notes
This recipe was re-written to add new pictures, measurements in both metric and imperial system, and use the new recipe standard in our blog.
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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Rose April 17, 2014, 6:41 PM

    I Am trying to make dulce de leche and naranjas rellena de dulce de leche can You help me find the recipe thank You so much You taught me to cook dominican food thank You

  • Liza gomez April 9, 2014, 12:04 PM

    Se puede usar suspiro tradicional dominicano con este bizcocho?

    Y Cuál es la receta para el suspiro tradicional dominicano?

  • Dina November 5, 2013, 5:30 PM

    I love this cake and yours looks delish!
    Dina recently posted..Sweets Week: Day 2: Treat HouseMy Profile

  • maria morel October 9, 2013, 6:28 PM

    mary yo quiero si es posible que la receta de tres leche la publique en espanol si es posible gracias.

    • Aunt Clara October 9, 2013, 10:12 PM

      Por favor sigue el enlace grande en el menú principal que dice ESPAÑOL.

  • Alexandra September 27, 2013, 12:58 PM

    Excellent site

  • Rosemary December 12, 2012, 10:18 PM

    What is caster sugar and why is the recipe different in Spanish? Thanks

  • maria morel October 4, 2012, 9:11 AM

    como hacer dulce de cereza,por favor

  • Michelle October 1, 2012, 6:30 PM

    What is caster sugar? Can I use powder or regular sugar instead? If not ill try to find it :0(

  • Jaylouis15 August 12, 2012, 12:48 AM

    Hi tia Clara, as everyone knows you make wonderful Dominican recipes. I just wanted to know if there is a way to make the cake more moist? I made it a couple of times and my family loves it, but i will like to make it a little more moist. Thank you.

    • Aunt Clara August 12, 2012, 8:21 AM

      You can double the ingredients for the garnish.

  • Deborah March 10, 2012, 9:31 AM

    this is a very good recipe and simple. But I do believe there is one thing missing. It asks for condensed and evaporated but there is still one milk missing for it to be "three milk cake" which if I'm not mistaken is regular milk.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Nikki December 26, 2011, 5:55 PM

    What size of eggs should I use, large, extra large?

  • Kim P3na April 26, 2011, 7:22 AM

    i love this cake its awesome !

  • Melanie April 1, 2011, 6:27 AM

    This recipe is super easy to make i tweaked it a bit i added half a cup of milk used self rising flour instead of all purpose and added half a cup more of sugar and as for the garnish i used 1 cup of heavy cream 1 cup of condensed milk 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1 cup of whole milk super awesome and delicious so creamy and soft not overwhelming at all.

  • Drakenov March 28, 2011, 4:43 PM

    I think sifting the baking powder and flour together will work.

  • Jean March 27, 2011, 7:49 PM

    This recipe seems to be wonderful. I added the baking powder in before the flour and that seems to be the best time to do so. I made this as mini cupcakes for a larger group and it came out great. Not all of the milk topping was necessary, I only used about half. Thanks for the recipe!

  • maruja March 19, 2011, 10:55 AM

    is this a good recipe, is the cake moist , has anyone tried it how does it taste