All about the Mexican tres leches cake made with 3 types of milk

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When we look at Mexican cuisine, we quickly arrive at recipes for tacos, tortillas or burritos. Paired with a tasty guacamole or pico de gallo, the fiesta Mexicana  is perhaps our favorite cuisine. But what do you actually know about Mexican sweets? We can already tell you that the tres leches cake is a big show stealer.

What is a tres leches cake?

The tres leches pie is more commonly known as the  torta de tres leches  (pronounce this quickly with an extremely rolling ‘r’ and you’ll feel instant Mexican). The meaning? Nothing but pie with three kinds of milk. What exactly is that?

The cake itself is made with a batter with milk. After the cake has been baked, cooled and halved, dozens of holes are pierced in both layers. A mixture of condensed milk and evaporated milk is then added. This should steep overnight, after which the cake is finished with fresh fruit and unsweetened whipped cream.

Does the wet milk bath make the cake incredibly soggy? It will surprise you, but this is not so bad. We admit, you have to appreciate some stickiness. But if you do know what to do with a creamy, sweet piece of cake, then you can’t beat your luck with the torta de tres leches .

Where does the tres leches cake come from?

In short: Mexico! The first recipes for this “flooded cake” were found here at the beginning of the 19th century. The explanation for this drowned dessert would lie in the European influences that increasingly came to Mexico.

Because in Europe too, many baked goods could already be provided with a bath of one or the other. For example, Italy had the tiramisu, England the rum cake and the trifle also belongs in this list. Mexico was bound to happen and soon their torta de tres leches was  born.

How does it taste?

It is logical that you think that the cake with its three types of milk will turn out to be quite a nice piece of soggy bite. But trust us: the super fluffy sponge cake sucks up the milk the right way.

We are quickly clear about the taste: sweet. The condensed milk is of course quite sweet on its own, especially if you also mix it with evaporated milk. To balance that sweetness, the cake is almost always topped with fresh fruit such as peach. That is not only a nice counterpoint to the full flavor of the milk mixture, it also makes the cake taste like a warm Mexican summer day.

Variations on the tres leches cake

In addition to the ‘original’ tres leches cake with the types of milk, sometimes a layer of whipped cream between the two cakes and fresh fruit, more and more variants have appeared in recent years. For example, in addition to milk, experiments are often done with coffee, fruit juices and other fruit flavours.

There is also a lot going on with other flavors of cream (for between and on the cake). You see the torta de tres leches  more and more often covered with a dulce de leche, coffee or tiramisu cream. Yummy!

Make your own torta de tres leches

We understand that you’ve become curious about that Mexican milk cake and want to try it for yourself. Our friends at BonAppetit previously published a good recipe for a torta de tres leches. If you are not a star in English or just want to use a different recipe, make sure that the batter for your cake does not contain butter.

In addition, make sure that your cake has really cooled down before pouring the milk mixture of the condensed milk and evaporated milk over it. And use two good, large deep plates where you put the drowned cake slices on. This saves you a lot of mess (read: flooding) in the fridge.

Source: Culy by
*The article has been translated based on the content of Culy by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process it as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author.

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