This chilled dessert is the Mexican equivalent of Italy’s tiramisu or England’s trifle – translated as Three Milk Cake – this cake gets its name from the three types of milk – fresh cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk. These kinds of milk infuse the gluten-free sponge cake and create a super moist and tender texture. The only difference is the lack of alcohol, but don’t hold back, Tres Leches Cake readily accepts rum, tequila, sherry etc. – whichever you fancy, the sponge cake absorbs the flavours and alcohol brilliantly.

This dessert compliments a spicy or salty main dish, like fajitas or chilli con Carne. Although it has a heavy cream and sugar presence, this transforms into a lightly marinated sponge cake with a freshly whipped cream topping.  

Tres Leches Cake

For the gluten-free sponge cake:

For the Tres Leches marinade:

  • 200ml heavy (pre-whipped) cream
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 200ml condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of either rum, tequila or sherry (optional)

For the topping:

  • 300ml heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Fresh strawberries and blueberries, to garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Line a 25cm by 15cm baking tray with baking paper.

3. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks for 2 minutes.

4. Add 90g sugar and beat for 3 minutes or until it appears thick and resembles a lemon colour.

5. Fold in the flour, a third at a time.
6. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt on medium speed until soft peaks appear.
7. Gradually, add remaining 50g sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking on high until stiff peaks form.
8. Stir a third of the whites into the yolk mixture.
9. Fold in the remaining whites.
10. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

12. Cool for 10 minutes.
13. In a medium bowl, combine the cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk and vanilla (and optional alcohol).
14. Poke holes on the top of the cake with a toothpick.
15. Gradually spoon the milk mixture over the cake.
16. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Overnight is ideal.
17. For the cake topping: in a medium bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar, beat until stiff peaks form.
18. Spread all over the top of the cake.
19. Garnish with fresh strawberry pieces and blueberries.
This dessert is enough for 8 to 10 good-sized portions.

Chill the cake thoroughly before slicing the cake into portions. The cake will stay intact and look attractive on the plate.