This is a twist on Mexico's tres leches cake, made with four milks including rich caramel. You can use many different fruits in this - I used plums and apricots are we had them fresh from my garden. 






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (4 votes)

Tres leches is not a cake. Tres leches is a lifestyle! And my pastel de cuatro leches con ciruelas y chabacanos is a twist on the classic Mexican dessert, with four different milks, and big chunks of juicy fresh fruit. The lovely thing about this cake is it that you don't have to be neat. You don't have to peel the fruit and make it beautiful, you just want lovely big chunks in there. 


  • 8 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups full-cream (whole) milk, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra to flour tins
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can ( 395g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can ( 375 ml / 12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups cajeta or dulce de leche (see Note)
  • 6 plums, pitted and thinly sliced (about 2 cups) 
  • 6 apricots, pitted and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups thick (whipping) cream
  • ¼ cup icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • Unsalted butter, to butter pans

Cook's notes

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.


Soaking and cooling time: About 2 hours

1. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 180°C (350°F). Butter and flour two 23 cm x 33 cm (9×13in) baking tins.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until creamy, thickened and intensely yellow. Incorporate the oil, ¼ cup of the milk, and the vanilla and continue beating until well mixed. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In another large bowl, with a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, add the sugar and continue beating until they hold stiff peaks. Taking turns, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture and the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture until well incorporated. Scrape the mixture onto the two prepared pans.

4. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes until a toothpick comes out moist but not wet. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool.

5. Meanwhile, make the milk mixture in a bowl by combining the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and the remaining 1 cup whole milk. Mix well with a whisk.

6. Once cakes cool to room temperature, poke holes in both cakes with a toothpick or fork. Pour half the milk mixture onto one of the cakes. Let the milkmixture seep in for at least 10 minutes.

7. Drizzle the cajeta or dulce de leche all over the wet cake. Place all the sliced plums and apricots on top. Top with the second cake. Pour the rest of the milk mixture on top and let the cake soak up the sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to eat.

8. When ready to eat, whip the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the cake and serve.



• Cajeta is a Mexican caramel with a nutty, deep flavour – you can read more about it in this article by Pati Jinich and get Pati’s cajeta recipe here, or use purchased dulce de leche.

• You could also use other fruits such as mango, berries or banana.