While many people associate this delicious dessert with Peru, we have to admit that the “three milks” cake likely originated in Central America. It is a very popular treat all over Latin America, however, and Peruvians love it just as much (if not more) as everyone else. This is one dessert you will not have trouble finding anywhere in the country. But you don’t need to order this dish in a restaurant or buy it pre-made. It’s an easy recipe to make, even for the inexperienced cook or foodie.
👍 Always have someone to share this cake with, because it’s so tasty you won’t stop till it’s gone.
Here’s how to make tres leches cake – a surefire hit dessert that will have your friends and family singing your praises.
This recipe for Peruvian tres leches cake comprises three sub-recipes. The first is the base cake, the second is the milk part, and finally the meringue. But don’t worry, each part uses similar ingredients (there are only a handful of ingredients in the entire recipe). To ensure a more durable meringue in this preparation, we will prepare an Italian meringue.
So we need to divide the ingredients and the preparation into three parts.
Tres Leches Cake From Peru
For the sponge cake
- 4 eggs separated into whites and yolks
- ¾ cup sugar 150 grams
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup wheat flour 150 grams
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the milk mixture
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup whipping cream
For the meringue
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 80 ml water just enough to cover the sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
For the sponge cake
- Preheat oven to 150 °C / 300 °F. Flour and butter a glass baking tray ( refractory glass pan), preferably square or rectangular.
- In the bowl of the electric mixer, place the egg yolks, milk, and teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat at high speed for a couple of minutes. Then gradually add the sugar. Lastly, add the sifted flour with the baking powder.
- In a different bowl, place the whites of the eggs and beat at max speed until they are almost snowy.
- Add the egg whites until the cake mixture stiffens. Mix with an whisk. Try not to go more than 8 turns with the whisk. The idea is that this cake is very fluffy so that it can absorb milk.
- Take the cake to the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes. When the top of the cake is golden brown, try inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out dry, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
- When the cake is cold, don’t remove it. Put holes in the entire surface of the cake with a (hard) straw or stick.
For the milk cream
- Place the evaporated milk, cream, and condensed milk in the blender. Mix for a few minutes until the content is homogeneous.
- Pour the contents of the milk blend onto the cake making sure the mixture covers it completely. Don't worry, the sponge cake will absorb the liquid.
- Let the cake stand in the fridge for about 6 to 8 hours.
For the meringue
- For this dessert, prepare the amount of meringue that suits your taste. The calculation is simple: Weigh the egg whites first. The amount of sugar should be double that of the whites. Cover the sugar minimally with water once it is placed in the pot.
- Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs until stiff.
- Before the syrup starts to form in balls on a fork (see below), add it very gently, like a thread to the egg. Do not stop beating until all the syrup is integrated.
- Remove the tres leches cake from the fridge. Place the meringue in a pastry bag and decorate the cake with “spikes”.
- Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top.
The “ball stage” of the syrup happens when you introduce the tip of a fork and remove it, the last drops that drain from the syrup form a ball at the tip of the fork. In the image, you can see the ball stage.