Tres leches cakes get their name from the sweet, rich three-milk mixture that soaks into the cake layers - in this recipe, a combination of evaporated milk, condensed milk and almond milk. "It may seem like there's a lot of sauce," says Pati Jinich, "but the cake will absorb it all. And the more the cake sits in the sauce, the better it will be."
Light cake layers, rich in nutty almond flavour, are soaked with a generous amount of three-milk mixture, then sandwiched with jam and slivered almonds and topped with whipped cream in this version of a much-loved Mexican dessert.
- 1½ cups (180 g) cake flour
- 1 cup (96 g) almond meal (almond flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup (99 g) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup (198 g) sugar
Tres leches soak
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 can (340 ml / 12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1 can (395 g / 14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (340 g) apricot jam or marmalade
- 1 cup (114 g) slivered almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
- 2 cups (454 g) thick (heavy) cream
- ¼ cup (28 g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
- 2 tsp lime zest
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 1-2 hours
Standing time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 8 hours
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease two 23 cm x 33 cm (9 in x13 in) pans; line with parchment and grease the parchment. If you only have one 9”x13” pan, you will need to bake the batter in two batches.
To make the cake, in a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until creamy and pale. Add the oil, almond milk, and almond extract and continue whisking to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture and mix gently until completely combined.
In a separate large bowl, using a whisk or a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, stirring until no streaks of white show.
Divide the batter among the two pans (about 560 grams per pan), gently smoothing the top. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick comes out moist but not wet. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely.
To make the tres leches soak, whisk together the almond milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.
To assemble the cake: Once the cakes have cooled to room temperature, transfer one 23 cm x 33 cm (9 in x13 in) layer to a large serving platter. You can also assemble and serve the cake from a clean 23 cm x 33 cm (9 in x13 in) pan if you don’t have a large platter.
Poke the cake all over with a fork, and slowly pour on about a cup of the tres leches soak, then spread the apricot jam over the surface. Sprinkle the toasted, chopped almonds over the jam. Place the second cake layer on top of the first layer and again, poke the cake all over with a fork.
Slowly pour half of the remaining tres leches soak over the cakes. Let the liquid seep in for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the remaining tres leches soak over the cakes, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
To make the topping: When ready to serve the cake, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and lime zest until the cream holds a medium peak. Spread over the top of the cake and serve.
• Refrigerate any leftover cake, covered, for up to a week.