• Vanilla tres leche cake with double cream and mango (Petrina Tinslay)Source: Petrina Tinslay

This recipe is the food dept’s version of a traditional Latin American cake. The base of this dessert is a beautiful fluffy sponge soaked in a combination of cream and two milks, piled high with double cream and mango slices or your favourite spring and summer fruits.






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  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 395 g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, thinly sliced
  • coconut flakes, toasted, to serve (optional)

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.


Chilling time overnight

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Lightly grease and line the base of a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake pan. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt four times.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in half of the sugar and continue to beat for 1-2 minutes until glossy. Set aside.

In another bowl beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy, gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and continue to beat for another 1 minute.

Using a large metal spoon, gradually fold the yolks into the whites, being careful not to over-mix.

Sift half of the flour over the egg mixture, and gently fold through. Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and gently fold through, being careful not to over-work the mixture or you will loose the air, which is what makes a beautiful light sponge.

Gently spoon the sponge mixture into the prepared cake pan and gently smooth over the surface. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door, especially not in the first 45 minutes. Doing so with deflate the sponge.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cake pan for 15 minutes. Don’t remove the cake from the pan. While the sponge is cooling, combine the cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and remaining vanilla in a large jug, whisking to combine.

Once the cake has cooled, use a skewer to poke holes over the whole top of the sponge, this will allow the cream and milks to be more easily absorbed. Pour over half of the cream and milk mixture and allow it to absorb. Pour over the remaining mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Turn out the cake onto a platter and cut into 16 small squares. Serve with a dollop of double cream, mango slices and coconut flakes, if using.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.