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Tres leches cake with bitter chocolate

This Latin American classic gets its name from the three milks used to soak the featherlight sponge cake – evaporated, condensed and whole milk.

By Emma Knowles
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking (plus soaking)
Tres leches cake
Tres leches cake

This Latin American classic gets its name from the three milks used to soak the featherlight sponge cake - evaporated, condensed and whole milk. Whipped cream and seasonal fruit are typical toppings; we serve ours with a scattering of grated bitter chocolate and cocoa for a touch of bitterness to cut through the sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 120 gm butter, melted and cooled, plus extra softened, for greasing
  • 5 eggs
  • 165 gm caster sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 225 gm plain flour (1½ cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 375 ml evaporated milk (1½ cups)
  • 200 gm condensed milk
  • 250 ml milk (1 cup)
  • 300 ml thickened cream, whipped with ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grated bitter chocolate and Dutch-process cocoa powder, to serve

Method

Main
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 170C, and butter and line
    a 15cm x 30cm cake tin (or a 22cm-square cake
    tin) with baking paper. Whisk eggs and sugar in
    an electric mixer until pale and tripled in volume
    (4-5 minutes). Sieve in flour and baking powder,
    add vanilla and a pinch of salt, fold to combine,
    then fold in melted butter. Pour mixture into
    prepared tin, smooth top and bake until puffed
    and golden, and a skewer inserted withdraws
    clean (25-30 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, combine the three milks in a jug
    and set aside. Remove cake from oven, pierce all
    over with a skewer, then gradually pour milk
    mixture over cake, allowing it to be absorbed
    before adding more. Set aside to soak and cool
    (2-3 hours or overnight). Serve topped with
    whipped cream, grated chocolate and cocoa.