This easy Tres Leches Cake is a traditional Latin American Dessert. With a light as a feather sponge. Which is soaked with a mixture of three different kinds of milk. Condensed, Evaporated and Whole milk.
Allowing the milk to soak into the sponge for a minimum of6hrs
Preheat the oven to 180deg/160fan. Grease an ovenproof dish 9ins x 6.5ins x 3ins (23cm x 17cm x 8cm) deep. DO NOT USE A LOOSE BOTTOMED TIN. This sponge will rise quite high while baking, so make sure your dish is deep enough. It’ll shrink back as it cools. So don’t think you have a disaster on your hands.
Make the light as a feather sponge
Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. If you haven’t already done so, separate the eggs into two other bowls. Add 75g of the sugar to the bowl of egg yolks. Ensure that the bowl containing the egg whites is free from any grease etc. Including any egg yolk.
If even the tiniest amount of egg yolk is present the egg whites will never whisk. Ideally, you should separate each egg individually into small bowls before transferring them to the larger mixing bowls.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick, creamy and a pale yellow in colour. You should be able to form a trail of ribbons in the mixture. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Gently mix until well combined. You should have a thick creamy batter.
How to whisk egg whites.
Using an electric hand mixer. Beat the egg whites, which you have already separated into another bowl until stiff peaks appear. Do not overbeat. Add the remaining sugar(25g), a little at a time. Keep beating until smooth stiff peaks have formed. This should only take a few minutes.
How to fold in the whisked egg whites
Very carefully fold in a ⅓rd of the whisked egg whites into the cake batter until well combined. This is best done by using a large metal spoon cutting through the egg whites, as you fold it into the cake batter.
Repeat until all of the whisked egg whites are fully incorporated into the cake batter. Do not beat or over mix. Or be tempted to use an electric mixer or you will lose all the lovely air bubbles in the egg whites. Ensure everything is well combined and that there are no lumps of egg whites. Cut through any remaining clumps of whisked egg whites until you have a smooth cake batter.
Pour the batter evenly and smoothly into the prepared dish. Give the dish a slight tap on the countertop to bring any large air bubbles to the top.
Bake in the centre of the oven, for 20 minutes, or until baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 20 mins. DO NOT TURN OUT. Leave in the dish as you will be adding the milk later.
Don’t be alarmed. The sponge will shrink and come away from the sides of the dish as it cools.
How to add the three milk mixture
While the cake is cooling. Mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, whole milk, and Vanilla extract into a jug. The condensed milk is thicker than the other two kinds of milk. So make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.
When the cake has cooled, make holes all over the top of the cake with a fork. Making sure the fork goes all the way to the bottom of the dish. You want the milk to soak all the way through the cake.
Starting at the centre, carefully pour ¾ of the milk mixture over the top of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge. After about an hour, check to see how things are going. Then add the remaining milk mixture. Return to the fridge and leave for a minimum of 6 hours. Preferably overnight to allow the sponge to soak up all the milk.
How to decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit
When ready to serve. Take the cake out of the fridge. Carefully turn the cake out onto a large plate. You can do this by placing the large plate over the top of the dish and carefully flip the whole thing over. Using a large plate will enable you to catch any residual milk that may not have soaked into the sponge.
If you’re not confident at turning out the cake onto a plate, leave the sponge in the dish. It’ll still be ideal for serving and storing.
Whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks are formed. Do not overbeat or your mixture will turn to butter. Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the top of the cake.
Decorate with your favourite fresh fruits.
Making a light sponge with lots of air pockets means that you soak up much more of the milk mixture.Using three different milks is what a Tres Leches cake is famous for. However, some people may think this kind of dessert is too sweet.Because of the three kinds of milk, fresh fruits and cream, this cake must be kept in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 daysThis cake will make 6 large or 12 small portions.