Tres Leches Cake
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 1 hour cooling
Hands On Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
"Tres leches" (Spanish for "three milks") cake is a sponge cake soaked in a sauce made from a blend of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream, which gives it an almost pudding-like texture. Its origins are probably European, but it's now very much a Latin American dessert. Chilled and frosted with freshly whipped cream, it's a dairy celebration in every cold, creamy, delicious bite.
For the cake batter:
- Unsalted butter (for the baking dish)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350° and lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.
First, make the cake batter: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until firm (but not dry) peaks form. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed until pale and thick. Add the milk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. With your mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the yolk/sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites.
Transfer the batter to the prepared dish, and smooth it with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.
For the milk sauce:
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
Next, prepare the milk sauce: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. With a wooden skewer or a fork, poke the warm cake all over; then slowly and evenly pour the milk sauce over the top. (You might think you have too much sauce, but keep going--the texture will be perfect.)
Let the cake cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. If you're not serving it immediately, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it.
For the topping:
- When the cake has cooled and you're ready to frost it, whip the heavy cream and sugar until thick. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake. Garnish with fresh berries if you like, and serve.
1 pint heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Fresh berries (optional)