I have been making tres leches ever since I was a young girl and my dad handed me a recipe. That’s right it’s a family recipe but my dad has so graciously allowed me to share :D. At the bottom of this post you’ll find the official recipe of course the credit to my father:
First you make the cake. The cake is pretty easy and I usually have everything on hand to make the cake. However, before you get started, turn your oven on to 350°.
First you separate the eggs. I go hard core without an egg separator and just use the shells. It’s easier and one more gadget doesn’t take up more space in my cabinets.
Then you put the sugar and the egg yolks into your beautiful mixer you got as a wedding gift.
If you don’t have one, don’t get too upset. You can make this recipe by hand. I have! More on that topic later.
Then mix! It will start to look like this:
Just push down the sides and keep mixing a little more. While this is mixing, I like to get my next ingredients ready:
You can even butter the baking dish:
After the yolks and sugar are nice and creamy, fold in the milk, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.
After this is finished I scrape it out to a new bowl. Yes you heard me. A. New. Clean. Bowl. Unless you have two mixer bowls… then I’m jealous. The consistency should be nice thick and cake like.
Then you do a quick clean of the mixing bowl and put in your eggwhites.
Beat them for 20s or so and then put in the cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites until they are soft peaks.
Then add in your sugar and beat until they are firm peaks.
This shouldn’t take too much longer with an electric mixer. Then pour some of the egg white mixture and gently fold it into the yolk egg mixture. Repeat until it’s all combined:
Poor it into the pan and put it in the oven.
I let mine bake for 40 minutes. Now this is when I RUN to the grocery store and get everything else I need because I don’t normally stock things like evaporated milk or condensed milk. I literally ran out of my house because it wasn’t like Owen was going to get up from bed to take the cake out. Not even for Tres Leches.
So when you get all the milk ingredients…Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and rum in a mixing bowl.
Then take the cake out. It should look nice and golden:
Now let the cake cool. Let me say this again. Let. The. Cake. Cool!
So this is my trick to help the milk absorb faster into the cake, when the cake is cool. (Did I get my point across?) I take a fork and prick it all over. You may want to prick more on the edges so the crispier edge gets more milk.
In the end it should look like this:
Add the milk all over it. Try to add it very close to the cake. It you pour it on from too far up it destroys the top of the cake. Been there done that!
This doesn’t take long, maybe only half an hour. Basically while you are making the meringue it should be all absorbed.
It only took a minute to go from the top of the cake to here:
Here it is all absorbed:
To make the meringue:
So start cooking your water and sugar and still once in a while:
Then beat your egg whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks. The add the rest of the sugar and beat the stiff peaks:
Then when the sugar gets to 239° slowly add the sugar to the egg white. The hot sugar will cook the egg whites. Mix until the meringue is cool to the touch!
Now here comes a very important point. If you are making this by hand, do NOT have your egg whites in a metal bowl. I may have once done this once with my now husband. He was not happy, neither were his hands that were holding the bowl for me and my meringue was ruined. We started again….. WITHOUT a metal bowl. Owen will never let me forget this. Can I just say though I was trying to do everything at once. He AGREED to hold the bowl for me! But this is just a cautionary tale.
Anyways. Once the meringue is done. put several dollops onto the cake all over. It’s easier to spread all over then 🙂 The wet cake also clings to the bottom of the meringue and you don’t want cake pieces throughout your meringue. It doesn’t look pretty.
Then you have Tres Leches Cake:
With a nice moist cake on bottom and a nice meringue on bottom:
Now you *should* let this cool in the fridge for two hours before served. But I’ve been known to rush it once or twice. Enjoy!
Recipe Name: Tres Leches Cake
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs separated
1⁄3 cup milk
1⁄2 Tsp. tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 Tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 Tsp. cream of tartar
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1⁄3 tbsp light rum
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 Tsp. cream of tartar
3 egg whites
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
2) Prepare the cake:
Beat 3/4 cup of sugar and the egg yolks until light and fluffy,
about 5 minutes. Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.
3) Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20
Gradually add the remaining ¬ cup sugar and continue beating until the
whites are glossy and firm, but not dry.
Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this batter into the
butter baking dish.
4) Bake the cake until is feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out
clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Pierce the cake all over with
a fork or toothpick.
5) Prepare milk syrup:
Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and
rum in a mixing bowl.
Whisk until well mixed. With a spoon pour all of the syrup on the cake
until all is absorbed.
6) Prepare the meringue:
Place 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a heavy saucepan with 1/4
Cook the sugar to the soft ball stage, 239° on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8
7) Meanwhile; beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the cream of tartar.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks.
Pour the boiling sugar syrup in a thin stream into the whites and
continue beating until the mixture is cool to the touch.
The hot syrup “cooks” the whites.
8) Using a wet spatula, spread the top and sides of the cake with a thick
layer of the meringue.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving.
© Gerardo Abascal, 2008