Tres leches cake

A tres leches cake (translation: three milks cake) (Spanish: pastel de tres leches, torta de tres leches or bizcocho de tres leches) is a sponge cake—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.

Tres leches cake
Dragonfly Restaurant ~ Dessert Ginger Tres Leche (8686592721).jpg
A slice of tres leches cake served at Dragonfly Restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Alternative namesTorta de tres leches,
Ponque de tres leches (Colombia),
bizcocho de tres leches,
pastel de tres leches
TypeSponge cake (or butter cake)
Main ingredientsCake base; evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream

When butter is not used, the tres leches cake is very light with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

Popularity and originsEdit

The idea for creating a cake soaked in a liquid is likely of Medieval European origin, as similar cakes, such as British trifle and rum cake, and tiramisu from Italy, use this method.[1] Recipes for soaked-cake desserts were seen in Mexico as early as the 19th century, and Patricia Quintana, a recognized international cook and expert in Mexican gastronomy, believes it came from Sinaloa, Mexico.[1]

Recipes appeared on Nestlé condensed milk can labels in the 1930s or 1960s (historians disagree and have evidence for both). Nevertheless, that may explain the cake's widely disseminated popularity throughout Latin America as the company had created subsidiaries in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.[2][3] The cake is popular in Central and South America, North America and many parts of the Caribbean, Canary Islands, as well as in Albania, North Macedonia and some other parts of Europe.[4] In Puerto Rico, tres leches cake is topped with whipped cream and sometimes also drenched with coquito (coconut and rum eggnog) or coffee.[5]


A decorated slice of tres leches cake served in India

A variety of tres leches known as trileçe has recently become popular in Turkey. One theory is that the popularity of Brazilian soap operas in Albania led local chefs to reverse-engineer the dessert, which then spread to Turkey.[6][2] It was later popularized by the then Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, who was spotted eating the dessert on the Bosphorus Bridge. The Albanian/Turkish version is sometimes made literally with three milks: cow's, goat's and water buffalo's, though more commonly a mixture of cow's milk and cream is used.[6]


  1. ^ a b Pack, MM (13 February 2004). "Got Milk? On the trail of pastel de tres leches". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Dan Nosowitz / (November 12, 2015). "How a South American Soap Opera Created a Turkish Dessert Craze". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Higuera McMahon, Jacqueline (8 August 2007). "Tres Leches cake goes one better". SFGate. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. ^ Squires, Kathleen. "A Dessert That Never Fails to Comfort: Tres Leches Cake". WSJ.
  6. ^ a b "Trileçe kazan dünya kepçe". Hürriyet. 1 March 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.