A spectacular Tres Leches Cake. There are many versions of this cake, but I wanted to make it as close to what we eat in Santiago, Chile: soak sponge cake, Dulce de Leche in between the layers, and meringue covering the cake. It came out fantastic. Remember to refrigerate it and serve it cold—a perfect summer cake.
Chilean Tres Leches Cake, known as “Torta de Tres Leches” in Spanish, is a popular dessert in Chile. This cake is a variation of the classic Latin American tres leches cake.
The name “Tres Leches” translates to “three kinds of milk,” it refers to the three types of milk used in making the cake: heavy cream, sweet condensed, and evaporated milk.
Here’s how a Chilean Tres Leches Cake is typically prepared:
- Cake layers: The cake itself is a light and airy sponge cake. It’s usually baked in a round pan. Three layers are the most common presentation.
- Three kinds of milk: The “three kinds of milk” are typically a combination of sweetened-condensed, evaporated, and heavy cream. The three milk are mixed to create a sweet, creamy liquid.
- Piercing the Cake: Once the cake is baked, it is pierced with a fork or skewer. This allows the milk mixture to seep into the cake, saturating it and giving it its signature moist and creamy texture.
- Filling: The cake is filled with dulce de leche between the cake layers in Chile.
- Topping: Covered with meringue and torched is the traditional way in Chile.
The result is a sweet, moist, decadent cake that is incredibly popular in Chilean cuisine. It’s a delightful dessert for special occasions and celebrations, known for its indulgent creaminess and rich flavor.
While Tres Leches Cake originated in Central and South America, including countries like Mexico and Nicaragua, it has been embraced in many variations worldwide. The Chilean version is just one of the many delightful ways to enjoy this classic dessert.
Other Chilean layer cakes with Dulce de Leche:
- Torta Pompadour Banana thousand layers
- Easy Pompadour with puff pastry
- Panqueque manjar nuez Dulce de leche walnut layer cake
- Traditional Milhojas Thousand layers cake
- Easy milhojas cake (no-bake)
- Torta Alfajor
- Torta de Amapolas Poppy seed layer cake
- Torta Mixta Raspberry Dulce de leche Chocolate cake
- Torta Manjar Nuez Walnut Dulce de leche cake
For the cake,
adapted recipe from the book Sky High
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter and at room temperature
to assemble the cake,
- 1 can (354 grams) of evaporated milk
- 1 can (397 grams) of condensed milk
- 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 jar (380 grams) of Dulce de Leche
To decorate the cake,
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F or 180 C. Prepare 3 molds of 20cm diameter, cut circles of parchment paper and cover the bottom of the pans.
- Place a pot with 2 cm of water on the stove, lower the heat when it starts boiling to a simmer.
- In a stainless steel bowl, beat the eggs until mixed well, one minute with a round wire whisk. Add sugar while continuing to beat. Place the bowl on the pot with the simmering water and continue beating until the sugar dissolves. It takes about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and beat the eggs with a mixer at high speed until the mixture is of the consistency of soft peaks or ribbon stage—about 5 minutes.
- Place the flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a sieve and sift a third of the mixture over the batter. Incorporate with enveloping movements by hand, repeat two more times. Incorporate the melted butter with soft motions; it is essential to be gentle with the batter because it does not have baking powder.
- Divide the batter between the 3 pans. I weigh the molds to make sure they are even (300 grams each). Bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are browned, and when you bury a stick, it comes out dry and without crumbs. Allow cooling entirely in the molds, pass a table knife over the edge of the cake, and invert, peel the silicone paper.
- Mix everything except the Dulce de Leche by beating with a balloon whisk. The volume is going to be about 4 cups. Place the Dulce de leche in a decorating bag with a flat tip.
- Place one cake on the tray that you are going to use to serve the cake. Moisten slowly with the spoonful with 1/3 of the reserved mix of Tres Leches (1 1/3 cup for each cake). Place a thin layer of Dulce de leche, as seen in the photo. Cover with another cake, moisten and then put the layer of Dulce de leche. Finish with another cake and moisten.
- In a large pot, place 5cm of water and put to boil for the water bath. When it is boiling, reduce the heat to a minimum. Place the egg whites, sugar and, vanilla if desired in a metal bowl that can be placed on the pot to assemble the water bath so that the bowl does NOT touch the water. With a manual balloon whisk, mix all the ingredients. Stir all the time until the sugar dissolves. This is fast, 3-5 minutes. To be sure that the sugar is dissolved, take a little and rub it between your fingers.
- Remove from the water bath and, using a mixer, whip at high velocity until the meringue is cold—about 10 minutes.
- Cover the cake with the meringue, and using a kitchen torch, caramelize the meringue.
- Refrigerate until serving.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Sweets
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Chilean
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 414
- Sugar: 56.3 g
- Sodium: 136.7 mg
- Fat: 10.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 5.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 70.8 g
- Fiber: 0.3 g
- Protein: 10.1 g
- Cholesterol: 118.3 mg
Keywords: tres leches cake, chilean cake