A Tes Leches Cake, or pastel de tres leches (from Spanish, "three milks cake"), is a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream/whole milk. This is the first time I have heard of this cake and I was fascinated by the idea of soaking the cake in milk. I imagined that the cake would be really delicious with the flavours of the different types of milk (especially condensed milk!).
However, being health conscious, I was worried about the calories so I I cut down the amount of milk for soaking to reduced the damage to my waist line and also not to waste the milk mixture as there would be quite a fair amount of left over if I followed the recipe exactly. The sponge cake on its own was light and airy but not much to rave about. The magic really begins with the milk "disappearing" into the fork holes I made on the cake.
Reviews have said that this cake is highly addictive and there is absolutely no doubt about that. The soaked sponge is moist but not quite as soggy as one might expect (I was honestly expecting the cake to fall apart with all that liquid). Later, I read that because the Tres Leches sponge is a very light cake, with many air bubbles, it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in the milk mixture. The three types of milk gave the cake a wonderfully rich and creamy bite and when topped with the fresh cream, was so delicious, I couldn't help but wolfed down two pieces right away.
Tres Leches Cake (9 by 13 inches)
Recipe by The Pioneer Woman
For the Cake:
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoons Salt
- 5 whole Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar, Divided
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- ⅓ cups Milk
- 1 can Evaporated Milk
- 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
- ¼ cups Heavy Cream (I replaced with low fat milk)
- 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar (I omitted)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
- Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar (I reduced to 1/2 cup) on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
- Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
- Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
- Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
- Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
- Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.