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Tres Leches

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1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar divided
2 tsp baking powder
3 egg yolk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 egg white
1/8 tsp salt
12 oz evaporated milk
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp rum optional
3 cups fresh fruit Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches are recommended.
dash cinnamon optional

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Tres Leches


Tres Leches is perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 24
  • Medium



Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5th.  It is celebrated in the United States and regionally in Mexico.  It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.  In celebration, I thought it would be fitting to make tres leches.

Tres Leches, is literally translated as “three milks” in Spanish.  It is a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk.  The texture of the cake is important in order to keep it from not having a soggy consistency despite being soaked in milk.

The origins of tres leches are disputed.  Similar types of cakes soaked in liquid, such as British rum cake and Italian tiramisu, are popular through out Europe.  Nestle claims to have helped the tres leches recipe evolve, during World War II.  However, tres leches is usually found in Latin American countries.  Its association with Latin America makes tres leches the perfect fit for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Its phenomenal taste makes tres leches a great dessert for any occasion.

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.


In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.


In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up. Whisk in the oil, water and vanilla, one at a time. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for exactly one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for just a few seconds more.


In a separate mixing bowl combine the egg whites and salt. Place on the mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held mixer with beaters) and whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are white, foamy and beginning to hold a very soft peak. Increase the speed to medium high and add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow stream. Continue whipping the egg whites until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks.


With a large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Be very careful not to over-mix. Scrape the batter into the ungreased pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until it is set in the middle and golden. Let the cake settle on the stovetop or a rack for 1-2 minutes, then invert four glasses onto the countertop and invert the cake pan onto them, positioning one in each corner of the pan. (A chiffon cake needs to hang upside down to cool or it may collapse and fall.)


Once the cake has cooled, flip it over and run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or point of a small, sharp knife at 1/2-inch intervals.


Prepare the soaking liquid: in a large bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream and rum. Slowly pour the soaking liquid over the cake. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. If it's slow to absorb, run a knife around the edges of the cake again and poke a few more holes. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.


Once the cake has chilled, make the topping: whip cream and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. Spread whipped cream evenly over cake. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve with fresh fruit, if desired. Place the cake back in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


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