This traditional sponge cake is soaked in a vanilla 3-milk sauce and layered with dulce de leche. Topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, it is a light and refreshing dessert.
It’s nearly Cinco de Mayo time! I first tried Tres Leches cake in Mexico. I had taken a group from our church down to a tiny village in Sinaloa. We had spent the week building, painting, doing electrical work and laying cement. It was my birthday while I was there, and some of the ladies from the church made me a HUGE tres leches cake. It was DELICIOUS! When I asked for the recipe, they all looked at me funny and said- it’s tres leches cake..? (like everyone knows how to make that!!!)
Since then, I’ve tried this cake at other places in Mexico and in the states. I’ve noticed that there are two kinds: The firm, sweet and moist kind, and the dripping with milk kind. I really don’t like the dripping with milk kind…that consistency is really gross to me- and cake should never be gross!
I researched lots of recipes, and discovered that there are two varieties: a butter based sponge cake and an egg based sponge cake. The egg based one is the one I liked. It soaks up all that yummy sauce and stays firm, while the other just sits in a puddle of sauce…YUCK!
All of that said, this is an egg based recipe that I found on a lovely blog called Pati’s Mexican Table. My research paid off- this was a FABULOUS cake! Here’s the recipe: (printable version)
- 9 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (I used La Lechera brand)
- 1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- fresh fruit for garnish
- 1 (13.4 oz) can of La Lechera Dulce de Leche (or make your own here)
- Preheat oven to 360F degrees and spray two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray. Cut a circle out of parchment paper to place in the bottom of each pan to help these cakes come out of the pan cleanly.
- Divide eggs into 2 bowls. Put the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and the yolks into a medium bowl.
- Beat the egg whites on medium-high until they form soft peaks. Add sugar and beat on high until they form stiff peaks (this will take 4-5 minutes, depending on your mixer).
- Beat the egg yolks on high for 5 to 6 minutes until they increase in volume and turn a creamy yellow.
- Beat the vanilla into the egg yolks until combined.
- Add the yolks to the whites and use a spatula or large spoon to gently fold them together.
- Add flour and gently mix until completely combined.
- Divide batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. The tops should be golden and when a toothpick is inserted in the center, it should come out clean.
- Cool completely, run a small knife around the edges and tip cakes over on a plate. Remove parchment paper.
- Make sauce by combining the 3 milks (condensed, evaporated and cream) together with the vanilla.
- Poke (lots!) of holes in the top of each cake with a fork and carefully pour sauce over the top, dividing it evenly between the 2 cakes.
- Place one cake on a serving plate, spread dulce de leche caramel over the top, stack second cake on top.
- Make frosting by beating together the whipping cream and powdered sugar, until stiff peaks form.
- Frost cake and serve with fresh fruit. Refrigerate until serving.
My thoughts: I was so pleased with how yummy this cake was. The sponge cake is very firm and easy to work with, even when it’s soaked with sauce. You can make this in a 9×13 inch pan too- I just wanted the tall layer cake look~ and that caramel in the middle? Oh my… take a look at my pictures- it partially soaks in to that bottom layer and gives it a rich caramel flavor. I think you all are going to love this cake!! I hope you get a chance to try it!!! Enjoy!!!! ~r
Other cinco de Mayo recipe ideas:
Your cake looks so good right now! Thanks!
You are very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for the recipe. It is common here in South Florida but I didn’t have a recipe for it.
It’s a wonderful cake and I’m with you, I intensely dislike the super soggy tres leches cakes yours looks perfect.
I’ve only had one experience with tres leches cake and it was the soggy one!! It totally ruined it for me. I can’t wait to try this one. It looks amazing! 🙂
I completely agree. Cake should not ever be soggy. Hope you enjoy this recipe!
I have got to make this cake soon! Thanks for sharing this recipe, I am drooling now.
Can this cake be made the night before ? How long can it last if refrigerated?
Yes! I think it’s actually better served a little cold… I made mine 2 days ahead and kept it cold until serving.
thanks so much!
This cake looks amazing and delicious! I might try this for my next birthday because it looks so festive 🙂
Thank you!!! It is festive- I love all the color added by the fresh fruit!
Yes it is beautiful 🙂
can u replace the 1 (12oz) can evaporated milk..for coconut milk?
You certainly could try? Sounds like a yummy substitution to me!!
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No baking powder or butter?