I had my first taste of Tres Leches cake during a party hosted by my friend. I could not believe the taste of this unique dessert as it brought back memories of different desserts from Indian, European, and Italian cuisines. A unique combination of creaminess, velvety cake with an airy texture, and a topping of whipped cream instantly appealed to my sweet tooth and I had multiple servings. My friend had bought this cake at a Mexican bakery in Charlotte, which is a favorite place for many Latin American communities. The recipe for Tes Leches cake is very simple and even a novice can make this dessert.
What is Tres Leches Cake?
The term “Tres Leches” has origins in Spanish and refers to "three milks" that are used in the cake. The name of the cake in Spanish is "pastel de tres leches" or "torta de tres leches". Tres Leches is made with a base layer of light sponge cake that is perforated after baking and then steeped in a succession of three milks - evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream or whole milk. The end result of this soaking is a wonderful cake with a rich and moist density that gives it a luxurious taste.
I have customized the traditional recipe with a topping of fruits like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and soaked nuts like cashews and almonds. The tartness of berries gives a welcome break to the sweet and creamy taste of this cake.
You can take liberties with this dessert by adding various types of toppings like caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, fruit compotes or different types of roasted or soaked nuts to add to the flavor and textures.
I have adopted a shortcut by not baking the sponge cake from scratch. This saves considerable time and effort while the quality of the end product is still as good as using a cake baked from scratch. You can use a pound cake, sponge cake or angel cake as long as it is fresh and soft.