Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake), Latin America

Total Time:
2 hr 4 min
1 hr
4 min
1 hr

1 cake, about 10 servings


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.

To make the cream topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the icing: Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 to 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. While beating, add the hot syrup in a stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture cools, and a glossy icing forms.

To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top. Arrange the mango and papaya slices over the top and serve.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.6 112
I NEVER, and I mean never leave a review but I felt compelled after making this cake. In a word....AMAZINGGGGG! Followed it exactly for the cake and filling but just used whipped cream on top and decorated with maraschino cherries. The oohs and ahs were from young and old alike. Thanks for this recipe!! On a side note. I find it frustrating when people pan a recipe when they didnt follow directions.....cmon people Emeril knows more than you:) lol item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought it was going to be a Mexican imitation cake but it turns out to be a good authentic recipe I baked it my self and it tastes great now I make it for every Birthday Party I have. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm terrible at leaving reviews, unless something is really awful or totally delicious. THIS is totally delicious! And although it looks a bit difficult, it might be the simplest cake I've ever made. I replace the mango and papaya with blueberries, or sometimes nothing at all because it is that good just as it is! VERY IMPORTANT NOTE****This must be an updated version of the recipe because when I started making it, the recipe said to poke a few (6-10??) small round holes (about the size of a pencil) through the cake after taking out of the oven and before pouring the cream mixture over it. This allows for even absorption instead of a soggy mess all around the outside of the cake. It makes a HUGE difference, as the cake is quite dense when it comes out of the oven and the cream will flow to the outside of the cake instead of a more even distribution. YUMMM! item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was a hit at our last reunion, almost none was left and people had seconds! Followed the recipe almost to a T: instead of 2 cups of sugar, just 1 ¾ cups, I thought with all the sugar in the "tres leches" parts, who would miss a little sugar in the dough? Perfect... will make it again, and not looking for more recipes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake turned out so rich and creamy! The texture was perfect so I am taking one to church tomorrow to share with my Sunday school students! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm from Latin America and I think this recipe is very good, I've been making tres leches for years and I think I finally perfectioned it with the following changes: Use 1 cup of sugar, and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt for the bread, the texture is perfect. The pan I used was 12"x8.5" inches and didn't overflow. For the toping, replace heavy cream and add 3 cups of regular milk, if you use less milk it will not be enough for the bread to keep moist. ( I added a couple drops of Almond extract for better flavor. Cover the bread and let it cool in the fridge for 4 hours, then check if you need to add more whole milk it's ok to add milk. After you are satisfied with the amount of moist that you want. Then make the icing, follow this recipie it works great, I only sprinkled cinnamon and added some cherries for decoration.Give it a try and follow these recommendations your Tres leches will be perfect.! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Emeril, you let me down. Served this at a dinner party last night and it was clawingly sweet. And certainly not authentic (was more just a moist cake than the milky dessert that I have had out at so many Latin restaurants. If a chef on any of those shows Emeril judges had served this they would have been kicked off. Next time I would cut the sugar in half. But I'm actually going to look for a better recipe. Wish I could be more positive, but I just can't. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was so excited to make this! We had this in a restaurant recently & my husband and I loved it. I've read the great reviews & realize now that I must be awful at baking! Where to begin...the cake pan size is WAY too small. It ended up overflowing & then I had to bake it extra bc it wasn't baking properly & in turn, dried out the bottom of the cake. I wish I had read the reviews about using a bigger pan before baking this. The "cream" stayed liquidy with curdled cream on top. Maybe that's correct, but when I've had it in restaurants, it didn't have curdled cream on it. The cake was SUPER DRY also! All in all, my cake turned out to be a total mess! I think I'll stick to more simple cakes in the future! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed this recipe exactly, with the exception of using strawberries instead of papaya. It was delicious and makes quite a lot of cake. It lasted several days in the fridge and still tasted great. item not reviewed by moderator and published

Not what you're looking for? Try:

Tres Leches Cake

Recipe courtesy of Ingrid Hoffmann