THREE MILKS CAKE (TORTA DE TRES LECHES)

by Erica Dinho on April 7, 2009

This post is also available in Spanish

Torta de Tres Leches

Torta de Tres Leches or Three Milks Cake is a popular dessert in Colombia and Latin America. This cake gets the name from the three milks we use, condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream and it is what makes this cake so moist and delicious.
Every country has their own version for the frosting and in Colombia the cream of tartar frosting is very traditional.

Tres Leches Cake


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Ingredients

(Serves 10-12)

  • CAKE
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Three Milks Cake

Torta de Tres leches or Tres Leches Cake

THREE MILKS SAUCE

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

FROSTING

2 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Three Milks Cake

Directions

  1. preheat the oven to 350° F
  2. Grease and lightly flour a baking dish.
  3. To make the cake: In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. In a small pot heat the milk and butter, remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue mixing for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture, butter mixture and vanilla extract and mix for 1 more minute.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and with a fork make holes all over the top of the cake. Set aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. When the cake is cooling, make the milk sauce, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
  8. Pour the 3 milks sauce over the cake until it is all absorbed. Refrigerate for a least 3 hours or overnight before frosting.
  9. For the frosting, in a small pot mix the water and sugar, over medium high heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  10. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks are formed. While beating the egg whites, add sugar syrup and continue beating for 5 more minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat 1 more minute. Spread the frosting over the cake and refrigerate into ready to serve.
  11. Tres Leches Cake-mycolombianrecipes

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1 ~Carole April 7, 2009 at 9:24 AM

This looks delicious! I’ve printed it and can’t wait to make it.

2 Jen Schall @ MyKitchenAddiction.com April 7, 2009 at 9:29 AM

Looks fabulous… I can’t wait to try this recipe!

3 Jacktels Kochbuch April 7, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Hello,

extremely delicious Recipe. Compliment!!
One after-bakes shortly.

Greeting Jacktel

4 ARUNA April 8, 2009 at 12:02 AM

wonderful recipe…….simple but i’m sure it will b very delicious!!

5 oysterculture April 8, 2009 at 12:41 AM

This sounds delicious with some fruit on the side!

6 Erica April 8, 2009 at 6:56 PM

Thank you every one for visiting my blog. I appreciate all your comments.

7 Christelle April 21, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Great blog you have there, (great cake hum… :), I am not familiar with colombian food and I find it very definitely interesting and educative !

8 Dan August 8, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Thank you so much for these wonderful recipes. We have adopted 2 children from colombia and spent many months there. It is great to find so many flavors we remember from our stay and that will connect our children with the country of their birth.

Looking forward to making many of these over the coming months.

9 Erica August 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Hi Dan,
Thank you so much for your nice comment. Glad you like my blog.

10 Ellen September 3, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Hi Erica,

I am planning on baking this for the long weekend. I was wondering what do you usually bake this in ? 9 x 13 glass pyrex ??

Thanks
ellen

11 Erica September 3, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Hi Ellen,
Yes, I used a 9 x 13 baking dish.

12 Mansi October 15, 2009 at 7:02 PM

Hi Erica, just got here from ecurry’s blog! you have a great space!

Tres Leches is my absolute favorite, and your cake looks alluring too! btw, I’m back to blogging after my motherhood break, and hope you can find some time to make some goodies for my Sweet celebration event.

13 Amber October 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM

This recipe looks so good. I’ve tried another recipe I found that was mexican and my whole panamian family loves it. I think the main difference is the frosting but I def want to try yours next time I make it!

14 Stephanie October 26, 2009 at 11:58 AM

This recipe is amazing!! I’m not a baker but my sister is, so I asked her to make this cake for my husband’s birthday on October 17th. My husband who was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia loved it! Our Colombian friends were also very impressed and asked my sis to make the cake for their birthdays!! Thanks Erica for this site, I also made plantain soup a couple of weeks ago which my husband also LOVED! I can now make traditional Colombian dishes for my husband!

15 Erica October 26, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Stephanie,
Thank you for your feedback and your wonderful comment :)

16 Caroline November 20, 2009 at 9:02 AM

I am always a sucker for cake of any kind but this one looks particularly delicious. I love all your awesome recipes. Keep up the good work. :)

17 katelyn November 29, 2009 at 8:43 PM

It doesn’t say how much vanilla extract you need for the frosting!

18 Erica November 29, 2009 at 11:26 PM

Katelyn- for the frosting add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

19 de December 2, 2009 at 12:02 PM

What is a good beverage to serve with this cake??

20 Erica December 2, 2009 at 12:31 PM

De- I love this cake with Black coffee ,but you can serve it with white wine.

21 LA Gring January 1, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Hello, I would love to make for my husband here in Cali but could you give me the 3 milks in spanish. I know everything else in Spanish but for the milks. thanks

22 LA Gring January 1, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Also could you give me it in grams instead of oz for each one.

23 Erica January 1, 2010 at 9:02 PM

La Gring

1 lata de leche condensada
1 lata de leche evaporada
1 taza de crema de leche

24 La Gringa January 15, 2010 at 9:10 AM

I went yesterday to the store to buy the milk. I found leche condensada and I know about crema de leche. I couldnt find the leche evaporada. Could it be called something else. I want to make this for my Colombian but I dont want to mess up….

25 Erica January 15, 2010 at 9:15 AM

La Gringa- I usually buy a Nestle brand (Carnation evaporated milk) Leche evaporada. It comes in a can.

26 La Gringa January 15, 2010 at 11:02 AM

I had a friend just go to the local grocery store here in my barrio. They said they didnt sale that leche . Do you think I could find that for sure at Carrefour or Exito..Thank you

27 Erica January 15, 2010 at 11:14 AM

La Gringa- Go the Exito.

28 La Gringa January 15, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Thank you so much….

29 new mommy January 16, 2010 at 5:59 PM

hi i came a cross this site when i was looking for some sort of traditional Colombian dessert recipe for my boyfriends brother in law ,his birthday is at the end of January and i was wondering if there was any sort of sliced fruit i could use to decorate the cake ? something to keep with the Colombian theme?oh and there a certain pan size i should use?

30 Erica January 16, 2010 at 7:06 PM

New mommy- I used a 9 x 13 baking dish. I think if you use strawberries….it could be delicious! Traditionally this cake does not have any fruit, but you can try it ;-)

31 new mommy January 17, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Yah I kinda thought so but since I’m not colombian I wanted to make sure what about like a guva ice cream

32 Erica January 17, 2010 at 8:40 AM

new mommy-That sounds delicious!

33 new mommy January 17, 2010 at 1:31 AM

I was also wondering if any of your flan recipes were more traditional,which one is more of a taste of home

34 Erica January 17, 2010 at 8:42 AM

new mommy- all the flans I have here are traditional Colombian desserts, but traditional flan and coconut flan are very popular all around the country.

35 new mommy January 17, 2010 at 4:02 PM

thank you so much for all your help i cant wait to try this recipe hopefully it will look as delicious as yours.

36 Tangled Noodle January 19, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I’m so happy this link was on your latest post! I love Tres Leches and this sounds like a perfect recipe. Thank you!

37 Angie January 23, 2010 at 6:42 PM

HI! ive always wanted to make tres leches.. Im going to make this recipe but I bought “heavy whipping cream” can i still use that? is it the same as heavy cream? or is it media crema what I have to use> thank you

38 Erica January 23, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Angie- I use heavy whipping cream.

39 new mommy January 26, 2010 at 4:05 AM

hi erica,
i had a question. since the cake is best when left in the milk mixture for 24 hours is it ok to make the frosting when i make the cake,if so how do i store it,or am i supposed to make it when im gonna frost the cake?

40 Erica January 26, 2010 at 8:27 AM

new mommy- make the frosting when you are going to decorate the cake.

41 new mommy January 30, 2010 at 2:04 AM

hi erica i actually just baked the cake but im a lil worried that my cake didn’t absorb the milk mixture as it should.there still seem to be a considerable amount of milk around the cake, i know i made enough holes with the fork did i do somethingwrong?

42 Erica January 30, 2010 at 8:58 AM

new mommy- If you opened enough holes with the fork, I am sure is good.

43 new mommy January 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

im having trouble with my frostin the sugar keeps crystalising what can i do to fix it?

44 Erica January 30, 2010 at 5:50 PM

new mommy- Are you stirring the water and sugar often? Maybe your stove is stronger than mine….so just cook it the suagr and water for 2 – 3 minutes.

45 new mommy January 30, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Thank you it worked:) my cake seems denser then the one in your picture

46 new mommy January 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

My cake came out very dense can you give me some pointers on how to make it lighter

47 Erica January 31, 2010 at 9:01 AM

new mommy- It is hard to tell you, because I can’t see the cake. The texture of tres leches cake is a little wet.

48 new mommy January 31, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Its not the wet it didn’t seem to rise its very solid looking alnost like a browny would look

49 Nicole February 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Hi Erica

I am going to make the three milks cake for my husbands birthday. I am thinking about puting whipped cream on top and dulce de leche instead of the frosting. What do you think, would the cake still taste ok and does the cake sit in the dish or can it be taken out and put on a plate? Thank you. Nicole.

50 Erica February 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Nicole- The dulce the leche sounds delicious! Are you going to put whipped cream in the frosting too? or just in the milk mixture?

You can place the cake on a plate or just leave it in the baking dish! I do it both ways, but my husband likes the cake better when I leave it in the baking dish. :)

51 Nicole February 9, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Hi Erica

I was going to cover the cake in the milk mixture like you say and leave it over night. The turn it out on to a plate and cover it in dulce de leche and whipped cream.

I have never tried this cake before so I wasn’t sure weather it would be two sweet. My husband who is Colombian loves arequipe but it is very hard to buy here in Spain that why I am using dulce de leche.

Any suggestions you might have would be very much appreciated, I really want this cake to be perfect.

Thanks Nicole.

52 Erica February 9, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Nicole- You can try it! That sounds interesting and delicious! Let me know if he likes it…. I love arequipe too!

53 Ruby February 10, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I want to thank you for this recipe! the tres leche cake was a hit with my family! I love love love your website. My mother is Colombiana and these recipes are excellent for me. I’ve never lived in Colombia so this is great for me to make for my children and family. Keep up the great work! Felicidades en tu primer aniversario y gracias! estoy bien agradecida!

54 Erica February 10, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Ruby- Thank you so much for your feedback! Glad you liked the cake!!!

55 Lynda February 18, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Thanks for posting this recipe, Erica- I have had this cake at a local hispanic restuarant and loved it! I’ve been wanting to find a recipe for it to try it at home. Can’t wait! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

56 Chanelle February 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

WOW its the best!!! I have tried a few different recipes and this by far is the BEST!!!! Thank you soooooo much for it!!!! Yummy :)

57 Nicole February 24, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Hi Erica

I just wanted to say thankyou. I made the cake last night and it was to die for and my husband thought it was amazing. I made the sponge covered it with the three milks and left it in the fridge over night. Then covered it in dulce de leche and whipped cream with a little vanilla and spinkled a little coco powder over the top. It worked perfectly. Thanks again.

58 Erica February 24, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Nicole- Thank you so much for your feedback!Glad you liked it :)

59 David April 5, 2010 at 9:36 PM

We made this cake for a party and everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you!

60 Jordan June 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM

hey…i’m going to try to make this recipe for a class project..how many servings does this recipe make?

61 Erica June 10, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Jordan- About 12 servings.

62 Jordan June 10, 2010 at 4:05 PM

oh…i’m sorry i just saw the serving size above…I’m a blonde…thanks!

63 maria July 18, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Hi, I’m in England and we dont use cups to measure when baking so Im a little confused. Do you have any idea what the measurements are in weight, ounces or grams? My husband is from Bolivia and his mum makes this cake, I would love to make it for him :)

64 Beatriz from NJ August 30, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Hola Erica! Tengo que darte las gracias por esta receta. La hice el Sabado para una reunion and quedo de ataque!

Thank you so much for providing this recipe. I made it this past Saturday for a dinner party & it was it! Can’t wait to make it again!

Bea

65 Whitney October 3, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try it!

66 Anonymous November 12, 2010 at 7:37 PM

I made this cake for my mother in-laws birth day and everyone loved it! i had no problem with the icing or the cake. Everything came out great!

67 Anonymous November 18, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Delicious! The frosting makes it taste even better!

68 April December 5, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Thank you for publishing this recipe! However, I am living in Medellin, Colombia and I cannot find for the life of me Cream of tartar. I have went all over the city trying to find it. I have asked my husband (who is a Colombian but doesn’t bake) and he keeps telling me that they don’t have it here. I do not believe him obviously! Any information would be so helpful!

69 Erica December 6, 2010 at 7:22 AM

April-La encuentras como “Crema tartara” en cualquier supermercado, Busca en el Exito.

70 Maria December 29, 2010 at 5:22 PM

“I made this cake last night and all I can say is “WOW, WOW, WEEEEE, WOW! This is one amazing recipe. The cake is absolutely delicious! Easy to make. If I can do this anyone can!

71 Margarita February 11, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Hi Erica,
I’m doing a project on Colombia in my Spanish class and I was wondering if after I’ve made the whole thing and put on the frosting, would it still taste ok if I left it in the fridge overnight, like the night before I do my presentation. And also, would it last about four hours unrefridgerated, or should I try to find a fridge to put it in?
Thanks, Margarita

72 Erica February 11, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Margarita- You can add the frosting the night before. You should find a fridge to keep the cake!

73 Misty February 11, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Hi Erica,
I was looking for a cake recipe to bake for a friend’s birthday, who is from Colombia. I came across your blog and decided to make this cake for him. Everyone absolutely loved it, especially my friend who hadn’t had a Tres Leches cake in a while. Thank you for sharing your recipes and I look forward to trying out more dishes from your blog. The shrimp quesadillas look delicious!

74 Teresa April 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I have made it several times, once for a big get together. When I kept passing the guys who were going for seconds and thirds, several said it was the best cake they have ever had.

75 Hannah April 23, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Hi omg the cake sounds delious and i just told my mom t buy the ingrediants so i can make it for easter tomarrow
do you have any tips on makeing it

76 Cris LOpez April 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Quiero hacer esta torta para el cumpleanos de mi esposo, este lunes, mi pregunta es: en el frosting, cuando escribes whites al referirte a los huevos,significa solo las claras?

77 Erica April 29, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Cris- Si…..Solo las claras como para hacer merengue!

78 Karina May 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Hi Erica,

My mother is Colombian and I love pastel de tres leches. I was making the recepie but as I got to the frosting, It did not come out right. It was watery. Your recepie says use sugar. Which kind? granualted or powdered? My aunts and mom says to use powdred to have that thick consistency of a frosting. Granualted sugar just does not work. Can you tell me what you do?

79 Erica May 14, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Karina- For the frosting….I used granulated sugar…the secret is to beat the egg white to the right consistency!

80 Cory Joseph May 16, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Oh my, this was a great cake. I made this for a project/buffet at my school and it was a hit. Thank you so much.

81 Vanessa June 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I made this cake yesterday and it was really good.Moist, sweet and delicious.

82 Johana August 19, 2011 at 9:46 AM

I made this cake for my son’s 5th bday party everybody loved it!!!!! your instructions are so easy to follow! Thank you for sharing such a good recipe!

83 Erica August 19, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Thank you for your feedback!

84 Annabelle August 24, 2011 at 9:02 AM

I just made this cake and it came out perfect,for sure i will do it again.

85 Dolly August 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Hi Erica,

I never made a frosting before,but want to make this one, but can’t find tartar cream. Is tarta sauce, the same as the cream? If not what can I use.

86 Erica August 27, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Hi Dolly,

Cream of Tartar is a powder and you can find it at your local market (Spices Aisle).

87 Mercedes November 7, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Hola Erica:
Soy argentina viviendo en TN,US. Me encanta tu blog. Queria preguntarte sobre el merengue. Quiero hacer esta torta para el cumple de mi hija(#5). Quiere una mariposa, y estaba pensando como quedara si le doy color al merengue y le agrego detalles. Mi consulta es si quedara bien poniendole diferentes colores. Tambien tenia la idea de cambiar por mazapan como decoracion, pero quizas me lleve mas tiempo y dinero. Agradezco tu consejo.

88 natalie mejia December 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Hello!! I just found your blog and im thrilled!! I just finished making your recipe for empanadas and second ago finished tres leches cake. Your instructions were very easy to follow. Thanks for sharing and i am sure everyone will love the cake tonight!!

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