Recipe: Tres leches

Recipe: Tres leches

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Try Columbian born chef David Michaels' take on the tres leches.

Try Columbian born chef David Michaels' take on the tres leches.


Try Columbian born chef David Michaels' take on the Tres Leches.


TRES leches basically means three milks, so you can guess that you need three different milks and cream for this one.

This recipe is from Mexican descent but other variations can be found as far south as Chile.

It is basically a sponge cake or butter cake that is baked nice and fluffy then soaked with the three different infused milks. It is then topped with a whipped cream but what you choose to put on top is entirely up to you. You can try a meringue, ganache and fruits.


For the sponge

• 5 egg whites

• 5 egg yolks

• ½ cup caster sugar

• 1 tbsp vanilla extract

• 1 lemon rind

• 120 ml (4 fl oz) milk

• 200 g (7 oz) plain four

• 1 tsp baking powder

For the sauce

• 1 cup condensed milk

• 1 cup evaporated milk

• 1 cup thickened cream

For the icing

• 1 cup thickened cream

• 40 g (11/2 oz) icing sugar

• 1 tsbp vanilla extract


  1. The trick with this sponge is to get it nice and fluffy and make sure you use a 23cm (9 in) wide cake tin or baking dish that’s approximately 73/5cm (3 in) deep. Be sure to use nice fresh eggs and keep them at room temperature before whipping. This will allow for a fluffier sponge texture rather than using dense cold eggs.
  2. Separate your eggs and start with your whites. Do not allow any yellow to fall into the whites, as this will not get a fluffy sponge at the end. Whisk them with half of your sugar keeping the other half of the sugar for the egg yolks. Whip the egg whites for about 6 minutes adding the sugar slowly after the first 2 minutes. Once you can turn your bowl upside down and the whites don’t drop the mix is ready. This should take about 6 minutes.
  3. Next, get on to your yolks and repeat exactly the same process adding the extract and lemon rind. After 6 minutes your egg yolks should become a pale thick colour. At this stage you will need to add the cold milk and whisk for another minute or so.
  4. Once the yolks are done, grab your egg whites and fold them into your yolk mix using a plastic spatula adding the whites in 4 batches. Once smooth and creamy it’s time to pass your dry ingredients through a sieve and into your mix. Again this should be added in about 4 batches so that the batter does not become heavy or lose the air.
  5. Get a 23cm (9 in) cake tray ready by lining the bottom with baking paper. Tracing a circle around the tin so that the paper fits in nicely, pour your mix into the tin and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 45 minutes, placing your cake in the middle of the oven.
  6. To make the sauce, grab your 3 milks and bring them to a quick boil, using a spoon to combine.
  7. Once this is done allow to cool and rest aside. Once your cake has come out of the oven turn it upside-down onto a cooling rack. You will then need to get your presentation plate ready and place the sponge carefully onto it.
  8. Laying the cake with the holes side up, begin to pour “half” your sauce onto the cake. Once you have used up half of the sauce place the cake into the fridge for 2 hours. After the 2 hours have passed pour the rest of the sauce over the cake. Then put it back into your fridge. This will allow for the cake to absorb the liquid at a better rate rather than spilling all over the sides.
  9. When you are a couple of hours away from serving this delight it’s time to get ready your icing mix. Grab your thickened cream, icing sugar and extract and whip with an electric mixer on high until the mix is thick and fluffy. Do not over whip the cream or the mix will turn yellow and curdle. The whipping process should take about 2–3 minutes tops.
  10. Spread your mix over the cake and set for 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh fruits.

Note: Serve a piece of this cake with some canned peaches or good cup of coffee and be patient to get best outcome.​

Edited extract from Pablo’s Kitchen by David Michaels, New Holland Publishers RRP $29.99 available from all good book retailers or online