Fluffy, light, and soaked with sweet milk, the popular Mexican tres leches cake just melts in your mouth!
An ultra-light sponge cake drizzled with milk, the ‘tres leches’ cake is a popular Mexican delicacy.
Why is it called Tres Leches cake?
This Mexican cake is called Tres Leches Cake or Pastel Tres Leches in Spanish because it’s made with three types of milk – evaporated milk, whole milk or cream, and condensed milk.
Where was the Tres Leches Cake Invented?
There are a few Latin American countries that claim to have invented the tres leches cake, with Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Mexico all loving the cake fiercely.
But Mexico seems to be the strongest contender for the creation of this heavenly dessert, with Nicaragua not far behind.
Although it’s difficult to find out who really invented the cake, its common knowledge that it was Nestle that popularized the cake in Mexico, and then in Latin America.
Nestle opened plants in Mexico in the 1930s, followed by other Latin American countries. During the early 1940s, Nestle started printing the recipe for a tres leches cake on the labels of their condensed milk cans, evaporated milk, and cream cans.
This led to the popularity of the cake in South and Central America.
Now, no visit to Mexico or any other Latin American country can be complete without eating a scrumptious creamy tres leches cake. But this light and airy cake with a sweet and dense milky topping is easy to make at home too!
Recipe Pointers For Tres Leches Cake
- Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before you use them.
- Poke holes all over the cake so that it soaks up all the tres leches mixture you drizzle on top.
- If you want smaller holes, use a fork instead of a skewer.
- Make sure the cake has cooled completely before adding the tres leches on top. Drizzle with tres leche before serving!
- It’s best to bake the cake a day ahead so that the milks have enough time to be chilled.
- Want a boozy dessert? Add some rum to the tres leches mixture!
FAQs about the Mexican Tres Leches Cake
How do I pronounce tres leche?
Tres leche is pronounced trace ley chase or trace letch ace.
Can I add any other toppings to the tres leches cake?
Although the tres leches cake is delicious with just the three milks, you can add a few different toppings. Sprinkle with cinnamon, or top with cherries or zest of an orange.
You can also add whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top of the tres leches mixture.
Why use a bundt cake pan to make the tres leches cake?
The light and airy bundt cake with a tight crumb has the perfect texture to soak up the creamy tres leches mixture. It also prevents the cake from collapsing in on itself, so that the cake is moist without getting mushy.
How long can I store the tres leche?
Tres leche cake that has been drizzled with the mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. It’s best not to store it in the freezer once the three milk syrup has been added.
If you want to store the tres leche bundt cake in the freezer, you can store it for up to 2 or 3 months. Once it’s out of the oven, cool the cake completely, wrap it in saran wrap, and freeze it. When you’re ready to serve it, thaw the cake in the refrigerator, then drizzle with syrup and serve.
For the bundt cake:
- 1 ½ Cups butter, softened
- 1 ½ Cups sugar
- 6 Eggs
- 3 Tsp baking powder
- 3 Cups flour
- 1 Cup milk
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
For the tres leches topping:
- 1 Can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 Can evaporated milk
- ¼ Cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease a bundt cake pan and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until it lightens in color.
- Add 3 eggs to the mixture and continue beating until fully incorporated into the batter.
- Add ½ cup flour and the baking powder and beat on medium speed until fully absorbed and incorporated.
- Repeat the process, adding the 3 remaining eggs and beating until fully incorporated.
- Then add another ½ cup flour and mix until combined.
- Add the vanilla extract and ½ cup milk. Once mixed add 1 cup flour. Repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour and mix until the batter is fluffy.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan and put in the oven.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until done.
- Remove from the oven and gently loosen the edges with a spatula. Turn the pan over onto a cooling rack and let it cool down for around 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan and set aside.
- With the help of a skewer, poke holes over the whole surface of the cake. This will allow the tres leches mixture to sink into the cake.
- In a small bowl combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and milk.
- Slowly pour ¾ of the tres leches mixture over the cake. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Serve sliced with a drizzle of the remaining tres leches mixture.
- This cake has a delicious tight crumb which makes it different from the traditional tres leches cake and more similar to a classic bundt cake. This helps the cake hold up the bundt cake shape when drenched in the tres leches mixture.
- You want to poke holes covering the whole cake. They help the cake soak up all the tres leches mixture you drizzle on top.
- This is a cake that’s usually better the day after baking it. If you have a little bit of extra time, bake it the night before so it has enough time to be chilled.