Pastel de Tres Leches (Daring Bakers September Challenge)

This is my first ever Daring Bakers Challenge (woohoo!)

For those that aren’t familiar with it, The Daring Bakers is a online community of bakers that come together once a month to try out a new recipe (in secret!). Everyone makes the same thing, and reveals it at the same time (on the 27th of the month).

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious: “Pastel de Tres Leches” or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy…

I have to confess, when I first saw the challenge I thought it seemed “easy” enough and was relieved as this was my first time participating in one! However, my first attempt was a complete flop, and if you follow my blog, you know I’m prone to cake disasters!

So the second time around, I calmed my excited-self down, read not only Inma’s recipe but also any others I could find on the Internet, and tried again.

I am beyond glad I didn’t give up; this is probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had! As I made this in my mum’s house, there was a good five minutes where the two of us just sat there in silence eating our slices, with no other sound in the room apart from “mmmmmm!”

Daring Bakers Sept Challenge Tres Leches Cake

Its so moist, you can see some of the “three milks” at the bottom of the plate when serving!

A few things to note:

  1. Make this cake when you’re not in a rush, as you need to give the sponge enough time (preferably overnight) to soak in the milks.
  2. While making the sponge, take EXTRA care when folding the ingredients together. This was the hardest part for me: overfolding will ruin your cake. Underfolding will ruin your cake! You need to strike the perfect balance, which is totally do-able if you just pace yourself and concentrate…
  3. Don’t be put off by the very large amount of liquids in the recipe! I was sure it couldn’t be right, surely it would be too much, but trust the recipe and make it exactly as directed. You will not be disappointed!

Classic Three Milks Cake
(Servings: 12)

Ingredients for the vanilla sponge cake:
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml/4 oz) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml/5 oz) plain flour (sifted)

For the three milks syrup:
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk
1 cup (240 ml) double cream

Topping and filling:
2 cups (500 ml) double cream (whipped)
Canned or fresh fruit (to decorate the cake)

Making the sponge:

  1. Preheat your oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks begin to form, then slowly add the sugar in small batches.
  3. Keep whisking until you get stiff peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks for 5-6 minutes until they are pale-coloured, creamy and puffy. Then stir in the vanilla
  5. Pour the egg yolks over the whites, gently folding until just combined. Try not to lose any volume from the mixture.
  6. Fold in the flour little-by-little, and mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared cake and bake for 25 minutes (or until the toothpick comes out clean).
  8. Let the cake cool while you prepare the three milks (see below)

Three milks syrup:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk and double cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue simmering for 5 minutes (gently stirring). Remove and let cool.
  2. Using a fork or toothpick, poke holes all over the cooled cake. The gently and evenly poor over the three milks liquid, and refrigerate overnight.*

*Note: if you use glass bakeware, you could pour the liquid over all at once. However, as I had removed the cake onto a plate, this would’ve resulted in a lot of liquid falling down the sides. Therefore I did this step in stages (i.e. poured a third, let the cake absorb it while in the refrigerator, then poured another third, and so on).

To decorate:

Evenly spread the whipped cream over the cake, and decorate with fresh fruit. I choose the last of this summer’s strawberries, but you could use any soft fruit you like, such as mangoes or cherries!


17 thoughts on “Pastel de Tres Leches (Daring Bakers September Challenge)

  1. myninjanaan says:

    omg your cake looks phenomenal! Yayyy you joined DB! 😀
    I’m going to make mine this weekend, because we’re going to my in-laws’ on Tuesday for the rest of the week. I figured I better make it when there are others around to eat it as well because otherwise I’ll eat it all LOL

  2. Asmaa says:

    Salam alaikum sister,
    Thank you for your visit over on my blog, MashaAllah this cake looks delish and beautifully decorated. I look forward to your future posts, inshaAllah

  3. Emaan says:

    Sounds a bit funky but looks really good! Must try it – I think we need a sample now that you’ve mastered the cake 😉

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