How To Make 3 Leches Cake

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How I Like To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With Tres Leches Cake


To celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to make a cake with all of you, one thats associated with birthday parties, graduations, baptisms, and all kinds of celebrations .

Today, we are making tres leches cake!

Many people love this Mexican cake as some trace its origin to Nicaragua, others to Mexico, but I guess what matters is how good it tastes and how easy it is to make it! Since many Latin Countries have a very similar Tres Leches Cake recipe.

Introduction: How To Make A Tres Leches Cake From Scratch

As a little kid growing up, I always looked forward to the day that, I walked in through the house that, I would smell the aromatic and delicious smell of a tasty treat that was baked in an oven. The day, that I walked in through the door and smelled the cake instantly, I could feel a big smile coming on because I knew that, my mom had baked a cake. This cake, wasn’t any type of ordinary cake it was a freshly baked tres leches cake. My mother, always said that if, the cake wasn’t made from scratch it wasn’t a cake that would make a persons heart smile. So, for this cake we will show you how to make a tres leches cake from scratch.

Answering Your Burning Questions:

How long does tres leches cake last? You can fully assemble and make a tres leches cake 1 to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add fresh berries just before serving, especially if berries are sliced.

Is Tres Leches supposed to be soggy? It is supposed to be very moist. The cake base is a sponge cake so it takes on the generous amount of syrup without getting soggy. This is why I avoid using a boxed white cake mix which can quickly become soggy since its not meant to absorb liquid.

Can Tres Leches Cake be frozen? You can make the cake base ahead of time. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature then cover the casserole dish tightly with a couple of layers of plastic wrap and freeze the tres leches cake base up to 2 months. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter before using it. It is not recommended to freeze the cake once the syrup and frosting are added.

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How Long Can I Store This Mexican Cake

This tres leches recipe is best to eat within 2 days but you can leave it up to 4 days in the fridge if wrapped tight and stored properly. And, you can even freeze the cake after you added the kinds of milk, to defrost place it in your fridge until it defrosts them decorate it with the whipped cream & fresh fruits. Remember that its texture is a little soggy.

Pro Tips For This Recipe

How to make the BEST authentic Tres Leches Cake recipe ...
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you dont have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • Add 1/2 cup of rum to the tres leches mixture, soak the cake and enjoy! Doing this brings you closer to the original recipe, which had alcohol!
  • Trimming the cake is TOTALLY optional. I did it because this is a giant sheet cake that has to bake for a long time. Those edges get caramelized and take away from the visual for me but you might enjoy them!
  • For MAXIMUM effect double the tres leches mixture and then pre-cut the sheet cake, transfer pieces to bowls or cups and then soak with the mixture until 1/3 submerged. top with frosting and serve!
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and cant really tell the difference.
  • The mascarpone is optional but If you cant get a hold of it and still want to have a similar effect try mixing the following room temperature ingredients together for a reasonable facsimile. 8oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2tbs unsalted butter.

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How To Do It

Add the light ingredients to the heavy ingredients. In this Tres Leches Cake the beaten egg whites are folded into the egg yolk mixture along with the flour. The ingredients are alternated when added so the batter stays light and airy.

Use a flexible spatula. This allows easier scooping underneath the mixture on the bottom of the bowl and along the sides of a mixing bowl.

Scrape the bottom and over the top. Run the spatula along the bottom of the bowl, underneath the mixture on the bottom, towards you then over the top.

Rotate the bowl. Rotate the bowl slightly and repeat this motion. Repeat until the mixture is completely combined.

Dont rush. It may seem that the mixture will not combine but it will. It takes a bit of time but is completely worth it for the end result!

A Delicious Dessert Recipe

In case you never heard of or had this cake before what is tres leches cake? This recipe is a dessert that is made with a butter cake or with vanilla muffins.

It is topped with a milk mixture that consists of:

  • Condensed sweet milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Heavy milk or cream that has about 10-12% fat

That is why it is called tres leches because it is made with three types of different milk.

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How To Store Tres Leches Cake

This authentic tres leches cake should be stored in the fridge, covered. It will last for up to four days, but note that the whipped cream topping will deflate over time. The bottom of the cake itself will become extremely moist as the milk has time to soak into it more. Leftovers are delicious, though!

How To Make Tres Leches Cake:

EASY TRES LECHES CAKE | How To Make Tres Leches Cake | Three Milks Cake Recipe
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a casserole dish. Set up 3 mixing bowls.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the first bowl. Separate egg whites and yolks into the other 2 bowls.
  • Using an electric hand mixer beat yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed, until pale yellow . Stir in 1/3 cup milk and vanilla.
  • With clean and dry egg beaters, beat whites on high speed until soft peaks form . With the mixer on, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high speed until whites are stiff but not dry .
  • Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and use a spatula to blend together. Gently fold in egg white mixture until just combined. Pour batter into prepared casserole and bake 30-35 minutes.
  • When the cake has cooled, pierce all over with a fork and slowly drizzle on the 3-milks mixture. Let rest 30 minutes then top with whipped cream and berries.
  • This has to be one of the moistest cakes around. It goes down easy and youll savor every bite. Make this for your next party and you will become known for your Tres Leches recipe!

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    Pastel De Tres Leches

    Make this authentic Mexican recipe for Pastel De 3 Leches . A delicious spongy yellow cake saturated with a mix of 3 milks. Its so good it walks the line between pudding and cake! Yum!

    If you like creamy recipes like Arroz Con Leche, Ensalada De Frutas and Horchata, then youve got to get in on this goodness!

    The perfect Tres Leche Cake recipe! The cake is soaked with three milks and it holds up beautifully. It’s perfectly moist without being overly saturated. If you’ve been searching for the right Tres Leches cake for years, then this is it!

    I posted this recipe back on 2015 and it was time to get a facelift with new pretty photos and step by step instructions. The recipe remains the same so I hope you get to make it again!

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    Recipe originally posted in 2015 and reposted April 29, 2020 and April 30, 2021 with updated text.

    originally published April 29, 2020 April 30, 2021//117

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    Make The Whipped Cream

    Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. It took about 5 minutes for me.

    • perfectly moist without being overly saturated! This is how Tres Leches Cake should be.

    Now it’s time to decorate your Paste De 3 Leches with your favorite toppings. Everyone’s favorite is strawberries and can sliced peaches. What’s yours? ?

    This cake is so delicious and it’s perfectly moist without being overly saturated. Just splendid!

    Where Can You Find Tres Leches

    Authentic Mexican Desserts

    There is a debate that this dessert originates from Mexico or Nicaragua as Nestle started to advertise their condensed milk in Latin America and used this recipe on the back of a can of milk.

    That is probably the reason why this recipe is so popular in Latin America and there are lot more countries where you can find this sweet dessert.

    You can find this milk cake in the following countries:

    • Mexico
    • Heavy cream

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    The History Behind Hispanic Heritage Month

    Something else that unites all of us Latinos is Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th.

    During this month, America celebrates the cultural and historical contributions of the people who came to this country from Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain. September 15 is a day of celebration in many Latin-American countries since they declared their independence between the 15th and 18th of September. Some of these countries include Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

    What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Tres Leches Cake From Scratch:

    • Flour: I use unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe. Combining the flour with cornstarch and sifting it a couple of times will create a homemade cake flour that will produce a cake that has a better texture.
    • Cornstarch: gives the cake a more silky and tender texture. Were only using a tablespoon here, but it will essentially create homemade cake flour.
    • Leavening, salt, and flavorings: Were using a smidge of baking powder to help leaven the sponge cake. Consider it an insurance policy just in case we didnt whip the eggs enough for the sponge! Well also use salt, a pinch of cinnamon, and Mexican vanilla extract.
    • Eggs: play a critical role in a sponge cake. They create structure and stability in the genoise cake batter. They also give the cake a yellow hue and lend most of the fat in this recipe.
    • Sugar: sweetens the cake. We whip the sugar with the eggs until it dissolves and creates a ribbon-like mixture.
    • Oil: just two tablespoons go in at the end to give the batter some shine and to add a bit more moisture, so we dont end up with a dry sponge cake!
    • 3 kinds of milk: Well use three kinds of milk to make the milk syrup. I use half and half, evaporated milk, and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

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    Does Tres Leches Cake Need To Be Refrigerated

    Yes! Tres leches cake is served cold. It is best made the day before you want to eat it, or at least several hours. The cake needs time to chill but also time to absorb all the liquid were dumping on top. Also its very handy that this cake needs to be covered and chilled and put out of sight in the fridge, so that Im not sneaking a bite every time I pass through the kitchen. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

    How To Make Tres Leches Cake At Home:

    How To Make Tres Leches Cake
  • Whip the eggs and sugar. The first step in creating the sponge cake is to get the eggs and sugar going in the electric mixer. While the eggs are whipping, I sift together all the dry ingredients using a mesh sieve: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Once you sift this mixture, sift it once more so that that flour is airy and light. When the eggs are pale yellow, light, and fluffy, stop the mixer. Make sure that the beaten eggs are falling back into the bowl in a smooth ribbon-like movement.
  • Make the cake. At that point, you can add the vanilla extract with the mixer running on the stir setting. Its essential to add the extract with the eggs first so that the flavor of the vanilla carries throughout the recipe. Then, slowly add of the flour mixture and continue to allow the cake batter to stir. Add the remaining flour in two more batches. Stop the mixer and using a silicone spatula, scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no hidden flour pockets! Then, with the mixer back on the stir setting, add the oil and let it combine. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before soaking in the milk syrup.
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