Tres leches cake

Tres leches cake 1

For my Costa Rican recipe, I picked the classic ‘Tres Leches’ cake, literally a ‘Three Milk’ cake. It’s not a dessert from Costa Rica per se but I read it’s very popular in the country, as well as in many other Latin American countries. And for those who aren’t familiar with it, I must say it’s not for the faint-hearted. The three milks are actually a mix of evaporated milk, condensed milk and double cream you pour onto the cake once it is cooked, as in the gif below (you’ll see that I had a visitor). The cake basically acts as a sponge, soaking up all the milk mixture, making it really moist. Next time I make it though, I may tweak it by adding some fruit or chocolate chips. If you have a different recipe for the ‘Three Leches’, I’d love to know about it!

Tres leches cake 2

Tres leches cake 3

Gif Leches

To make a tres leches cake, you need:

Tres leches cake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8 to 12 people

In most recipes I found, the topping is whipped cream but I thought this cake was already dairy-intense enough so decided to cover it with a (slightly) lighter meringue topping instead. Also, it's easy to alter the recipe by adding some fruit, chocolate chips or replacing the double cream with coconut milk for instance. Naughty versions also have rum in them!


    For the cake
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the milk mixture
  • 200 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 200 g evaporated milk
  • 100 ml double cream
  • For the topping
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g icing sugar


    To make the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm square cake tin with a little butter.
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and whisk the whites until you have stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar and then the yolks, one at a time.
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, milk and vanilla extract together and add them to the egg mixture. Fold gently until homogeneous.
  4. Pour into the tin and bake for around 30 minutes (the tip of a knife inserted in the middle must come out clean).
  5. To make the milk mixture
  6. Mix together the condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream.
  7. As soon as the cake is baked, make holes with a skewer all over the top and pour the milk mixture over it.
  8. Place in the fridge to cool.
  9. For the topping
  10. Meanwhile, whisk the 2 egg whites to stiff peaks then slowly add the icing sugar.
  11. Cover your cake with the meringue and enjoy (some might say in moderation...).


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