Tres Leches Cake, Because It's Monday

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor

Photo credit: Katharine Pollak, StockFood

Something about the words “three milks cake" (pastel de tres leches, in Spanish) makes one think, instinctively, it can’t be easy to make at home. It sounds like there are probably too many steps—“three milks!”—and that it’s too daunting to pull off.

But today is Cinco de Mayo, and among all of Mexico’s wonderful dishes, its spiced hot chocolates, tacos, and moles, there is nothing to take the edge off a Monday quite like tres leches.

It’s decadent and light at once, it’s visually stunning, and it is much, much simpler than you think. Do start the cooking process before you throw together those nachos, tacos, or whatever else is invoking the celebratory spirit of Mexico for you today, because this dessert needs at least an hour to chill in the fridge.

Eat it late, in small portions, with a warming nip of rum, and then eat more for breakfast. Because life is short. And it’s Monday.

Tres Leches Cake
From Everyday Food
Serves 12

6 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold whites into yolks until almost combined. Gently fold in flour (do not overmix).

2. Spread batter in prepared dish. Bake until golden and pulling away from sides of dish, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a small knife, scrape skin from top of cake; discard. Cool cake 20 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the three milks; pour evenly over cake. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

4. To serve, prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with sugar to soft peaks. Chill cake and cut into squares; serve topped with whipped cream.