Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pastel de Tres Leches or Tres Leches Cake (Halal)

In Spanish, tres means three, leches means milks. Tres leches is a cake moistened with three types of milk.

This is a common party cake in my home state of Texas, especially among Mexican-American families. I read that the origins of this cake are that it is based on traditional Latin American syrup soaked sponge cakes, but the tres leches concept was created by a canned milk company to promote their products during the 1950s. Versions of it exist all over Latin America, and some include coconut milk or alcohol. My recipe is a simple Tex-Mex version, and the tres leches or three types of milks are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and half-and-half.

To begin, you need to bake a yellow cake from a box mix. I use Betty Crocker's Supermoist Yellow cake. Bake this according to the instructions on the box in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking pan, but add a dash of alcohol free vanilla. I use Frontier brand, and I find that it is very delicious. Allow the cake to cool completely for several hours. Then, using a fork, poke holes all over the cake.

Take note of the holes poked in the cake. Feeling stabby?

For the leches, mix together:
3 tbs plain sugar
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) cinnamon
few drops of alcohol free vanilla
1 14 oz can of evaporated milk (I use Carnation)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
(or use 2 cups half and half, which is half cream and half milk)

Ladle this milk mixture over your sponge, ensuring that you moisten all parts of the cake. Cover cake and allow to absorb the milks overnight in the refrigerator.

The whipped cream frosting topping:
2 cups organic* heavy whipping cream
4 tbs powdered sugar
few drops alcohol free vanilla
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 tbs chopped pecans

Blend ingredients and using an electric beater, beat your whipping cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. Spread this on top of your milk-soaked sponge. Garnish with the coconut and nuts. You can experiment with garnishes of fruit, cajeta, caramel, chocolate shavings, or whatever suits you.

I wish I had a picture of the finished product, but on the day I was taking these demo pics, my kids came and smashed the cake with the cake server before I had a chance to snap a picture. Mine is a very home-made, non-fancy look, though. The end result is a sweet, super moist but not soggy, delicious cake!

*I use regular heavy whipping cream in the tres leches mixture but I go for a superior tasting organic heavy whipping cream for the whipped cream frosting to achieve the best taste. Organic cream is more expensive.


Masalabou said...

This looks delicious!
In the spirit of reciprocity (the the tandoori) here is a good Bread and Butter pudding recipe, good for using up stale white bread. You don't have to try it! I am not good at switching between cuisines, my curries used to be awful, now they've got better my European cooking often goes off the boil... But I might have a go at this in the Christmas holidays...I think I halved the quantities as 8 yolks seemed rather a lot. Then you're left with 8 whites to use up (meringues/slimmers' omlette?!)

Bread and butter pudding recipe


56g (2oz) unsalted butter
12 medium-thick slices of softened white bread (without the crusts)
8 egg yolks
170g (6oz) caster sugar
a couple of drops of vanilla essence
300ml (10fl oz) milk
300ml (10fl oz) double cream
28g (1oz) sultanas
28g (1oz) raisins
14g (1/2 oz) candied peel (optional)


1. Pre-heat oven to 175/180C, 350F or gas mark 4
2. Butter a 3-pint (1.7 litre) shallow dish.
3. Spread bread with butter and cut each slice into 4 triangles.

For the custard

1. Whisk egg yolks, caster sugar and essence in a bowl.
2. Put the milk and cream into a pan, simmer and then stir into the egg yolks.
3. Layer one third of the bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with half the sultanas, raisins and candied peel. Repeat once more and then finish with a final layer of bread. Do not add any fruit to this layer as it tends to burn if it is on top of the pudding.
4. Pour the warm egg custard over the bread and bake straight away.
5. Place the dish in a roasting tray, three quarters filled with warm water and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. (I think I just put it in on a lower heat, gas mark 2 or gas mark 3)
6. Pre-heat grill to medium. Remove the dish from the roasting tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Slide under the grill until nicely glazed.

luckyfatima said...

Thanks Masalabou! I will give this authentic UK pudding a try!

Anonymous said...

Nada como un pastel tres leches para empezar el día!

Anonymous said...

Hi - sorry not been on the site recently.
I've started a website on cook ahead. not desi based though I may do your tandoori recipe (attributed to you of course!)
take a look

naz khan said...

looks so tasty i have made this before and always turns out fantastic thanks