Tres Leches







So it’s a cake, soaked in whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk – topped with cream. Really?  This sweet, moist wonderfulness of a creation can only make you feel that God exists and bakes. I first tried this in the US, but it has a long story in its history (more about that below), a bit convoluted and not entirely clear. What is undoubtedly true, once you have made this your friends will always, but always want more.


You will need:

  • 12 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces plain flour (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 225g (1 cup sugar) and one tablespoon of sugar.
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 12 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces (a can) of evaporated milk
  • 14 ounces (a can) of condensed milk
  • 275mls (1 cup) whole milk
  • 550mls (2 cups) double cream



  1. Preheat oven to 180/350°F/gas 4.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
  3. In a small bowl whisk and combine plain flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. With a mixer cream the butter and slowly add 1 cup of sugar to butter until everything is combined. Add an egg one at a time, making sure that each egg is combined before adding the next egg. Then add 1.5 tsp vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined and pour the lot into the buttered and floured baking pan and smooth.
  6. Into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. Perforate cake all over using skewers or a fork. Stir together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk, then pour the lot over the cake. Don’t worry it will soak in. Refrigerate overnight (or for 8 hours).
  8. Before serving, whip double cream and 1 table-spoon of sugar, along with 1 tsp vanilla until thickened, then spread topping over cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. (When serving you can add a topping of berries if you wish)


While It’s Baking

So what is the history of this cake? Many have tried to find out, some even suggesting that it has roots in medieval cooking and soak cakes.  If we go that far, most things will end up with some roots there. But this is different, this would not be the cake it is without the milks that are used and for that you need to go to Nestle and Nicaragua. When Nestle placed a canning factory in Nicaragua they also put ideas for the use of the milk on the side of the cans. Now, you could argue the recipe was already around for them to use it (maybe – those soaked cakes of Europe) but they improved on it by using a thicker milk. Anyway, here is where we are with this welcome treat.



About Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home. Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here. Food is fun, it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it; but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in. Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument. Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour - and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone. Most of all, have fun making a meal of it! Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.
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