Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something Milky, Something Cold, Something Mexican...

I have eyed this recipe for the longest time, but I always put it back in the recipe box, intending to try it some 'other' time. So there it sat, in my recipe box, among my other handwritten recipes, lovingly yet arduously copied manually, by hand, at night, after the three kiddoes entered la la land. This was during the times when I was a young mother of three children under the age of 3. My days were exhausting, but my interest in baking, cake decorating, sewing, and cooking was equally high, thereby pushing me to check out cookbooks upon cookbooks from the public library. On the couch I would sit, and I would pick out recipes that appealed to me. Like a good student, (alhamdulillah my college days were over then) I sat and copied the recipes on index cards, which now fills two big 4 x 6 index card containers and 1 3x5 index card container. There are still some recipes that I haven't yet tried to this day, but alhamdulillah I did end up trying this recipe; the Three Milks Cake: Tres Leche, a dessert famous in Latin America. Although it took me about 5 to 6 years to finally try it.

Who would have thought that a simple cake doused generously in three kinds of milk, slathered with whipped cream, and refrigerated, would taste so divinely like ice cream?

Tres Leche: 'Three Milks' Cake

1 1/2 C cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter softened
5 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 C milk

Milk Syrup:
1 C sweetened condensed milk
1 C evaporated milk
1 C whole milk

1 C heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 7 x 11 x 2 cake pan by lining it with parchment paper and greasing the bottom and side with butter and then coating lightly with flour. Or you could just spray the lined pan with Baker's Joy.


  1. Sift cake flour and baking powder
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla till foamy
  3. Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk in three additions
  4. Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes
  5. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes
  6. Invert onto platter (I used a 13 x 9 pyrex dish, slightly bigger than the cake)
  7. Pierce cake all over with fork. Let cool completely.
Milk syrup:
  1. Whisk to combine; condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk
  2. Pour over cake and refrigerate covered at least 3 hours(the milk will be absorbed by the cake and seep in through the pierced holes)
  1. Beat heavy cream till it thickens
  2. Add sugar and vanilla till stiff peaks form
  3. Slather topping over cake when ready
It may look like a normal butter cake with whipped cream as topping, but trust me, it doesn't taste like one. It tastes better!

Cook's notes:

  • Unfortunately, I don't remember where I attained this recipe, but it's not my own.
  • Make sure the platter has sides, because the milks will require containment before they're absorbed by the cake.
  • Make sure you do use the pan size specified above, because if you use a bigger pan, your cake will be too thin, and if you use a smaller pan, your cake might rise and deflate, or overflow. In my Joy of Cooking, there is a chart for the capacity of different cake pans, that is really a boon when it comes to wondering if a different sized cake pan will do for a recipe that specifies another. Unfortunately, that book is already safely packed away, but there are some resources on the net. Here is a list of some of them:

Home Baking Association


  1. juli, this cake looks so perfect, standing up straight and all. I'm terrible at taking pictures of cakes and other baked items... they never look as good as they taste!

  2. remember the tips : natural lighting and another one I eye level.

    I just read it too in a magazine or somewhere today, zoom in on your object, go down that you're eye level with it, and snap. Oh yeah don't forget that natural lighting. :D

    tell you what, now you can bake a lot and hone your baking skill and photography skill ;)