Tres Leches

Three Milks Dessert


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 8 to 10


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Tres Leches is a very traditional and delicious cake all around Colombia and the neighboring Latin American countries. Now there is even a newer version called Cuatro Leches (Four Milks) in fancier restaurants and homes, which has evaporated or powdered milk added too. But this traditional one is wonderful.



  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for preparing the pan
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • cups sugar

Three Milks Sauce

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 (13.5- or 14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (10-ounce) can of cream or 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan melt the butter in the milk, and set aside to cool.
  3. Beat the eggs in a mixer on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until they look very light and fluffy. Add the sugar and keep beating for 2 minutes more. Reduce the speed to minimum, add the sifted mixture, and last the melted butter and milk, and mix for 2 minutes or until well blended.
  4. Butter a 4 by 10-inch round cake pan; pour the mixture into the pan.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the boiling water and milk powder; mix well. Add the condensed milk, cream, and vanilla, and whisk to a smooth texture.
  8. Pour over the warm cake; with a fork make some holes into the cake so it absorbs all the sauce.
  9. Set the cake aside to let cool while you prepare the frosting.
  10. In a small pot over medium heat place 3 tablespoons of water, the sugar, and cream of tartar; bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  11. Beat the egg white in the bowl of a mixer until foamy, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot sugar mixture slowly into the egg white and beat for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix 1 more minute.
  12. Frost and decorate the dessert with this meringue.
  13. Refrigerate and serve cold.