If you invite me over for dinner, I will never be rude. I will make you feel like you are the best cook in the world. You might even send me home with your recipes. Truth is: my mom raised me to always be polite to someone who has opened their home to me. But when you serve me a Tres Leches Cake (or Pastel de Tres Leches) made from a cake box and topped with Cool Whip, that’s where I draw the line. My excuse will be “I have no room for dessert,” but secretly in my head I’ll be saying, “Lord, help me!”
Tres Leches Cake (or Pastel de Tres Leches) is one of those Mexican desserts that will make you swoon (like the girls at a Beatles concert), but it has to be made right. So delicious and a great way to end a meal. It all starts with the cake. The problem with most Pastel de Tres Leches cakes is that the cake is too sweet. Then, the end product is like eating sugar over sugar. Bleh!
You also want the texture of the cake to be soft and tender. That means egg whites. Gently fold them to create the batter.
Do the hokey pokey all over the cake. This will help the milk absorb.
Next pour the milk mixture all over the cake. Let this rest in the fridge to absorb all the milky goodness.
Top it off with homemade whipped cream. It must be made with real whipping cream. You’ve got to whip it! Whip it real good! None of that stuff you find in the frozen food section.
Most places in Mexico will sell Tres Leches Cake (or Pastel de Tres Leches) sprinkled with cinnamon or chocolate powder. I like a few strawberries or raspberries. Not too many, just a few will do. You really want the milky flavors of the cake to shine and with bite of fresh fruit.. YUM! It takes this dessert to a whole new level. Tell me you wouldn’t like a slice of this cake.
Tres Leches Cake (or Pastel de Tres Leches)
- Butter and flour to butter the pan
- 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 14-ounce sweetened condensed milk can
- 1 12-ounce evaporated milk can
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- maraschino cherries strawberries, raspberries, or cocoa powder (for decoration)
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- Butter and flour bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar for 1 minute.
- Stir in milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, flour and baking powder.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar.
- Beat until firm.
- Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it.
- Fold in remaining egg whites.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.
- Run a knife along the edge of cake before removing from pan.
- Let the cake cool completely.
- Place cooled cake on a deep serving plate.
- Use a fork or toothpicks to pierce the cake in several places.
- Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream.
- Set aside 1 cup of the measured milk mixture and refrigerate for another use.
- Pour remaining milk mixture over cake slowly until absorbed.
- Whip the remaining whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons sugar until it thickens.
- Frost cake with whipped cream and garnish.
- Store cake in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
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