Tres Leche Cake (Three Milk Cake) is a sponge/butter cake that is drenched in three types of milk (evaporated, condensed and heavy cream).
Jenna Bush and her husband, Henry Hager, served a 4 tier tres leche cake at their wedding--how they managed to make the tiers stand is beyond me!
It's a popular desert in Latin America (more specifically in Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Guatemala) and in the Caribbean where the condensed milk is replaced with cream of coconut.
While trying to trace the roots of this recipe, it's become evident that there is no clear answer to how the recipe came about. Nestle claims to have developed this recipe during World War II. However, the process of dripping cake in liquids is European (similar process in Rum Cake and Tiramisu). Most historians seem to agree that this recipe hails from Nicaragua; however, there is no proof supporting either theories.
In essence, this recipe consists of 3 Parts:
(1) Baking the Sponge Cake
(2) Drenching the Sponge Cake
(3) Covering & Garnishing the Sponge Cake
Sponge Cake Ingredients:
1 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (8 tablespoon)
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 oz Evaporated Milk
14 oz Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup - 1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Oil and flour a 13 x 9 metal pan
3. Whisk together cake flour, cream of tartar, and salt
4. Place the butter into a bowl and beat until fluffy on medium speed (took me 2 minutes).
5. Continue whisking at low speed and gradually add the sugar.
6. Add eggs one at a time, while maintaining the whisking speed at low.
7. Add vanilla extract and combine.
8. Add flour mixture to the butter batter in 3 installments and mix until fully combined and smooth.
9. Pour the batter into the baking dish (it looks like a little, but the cake rises!)
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is light gold in color.
11. Remove cake pan. Poke the cake with a fork to form holes and allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes.
12. Whisk evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream and pour on the cake.
13. Refrigerate cake overnight.
14. Place heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change speed to medium until the mixture becomes thick.
15. Ice the cake with the whipping cream and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
* This recipe is often garnished with cherry's.