Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches–“three milks”–is one of the favorite desserts of Central America, especially Nicaragua. Every cook has her own wrinkle on the recipe. It’s so good that its range has been spreading, into almost every kind of Latin American restaurant, and just-plain American ones. It’s really a pretty straightforward cake. What makes it different is that the layers are drenched with the mixture of the three milks. It should be so wet that it gets hard to eat with a fork.


  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. Ronald Reginald’s Melipone vanilla, or Mexican vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 8-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a small bowl.

2. In a larger bowl, blend the butter and the sugar until fluffy and a pale yellow color, with no grittiness. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is completely combined with the sugar-butter mixture before adding the next one.

3. Beat in the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until it disappears into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Blend in 1/2 cup of the milk to the batter.

4. Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about a half-hour, until it no longer feels warm. Slice the cake across to make two layers.

6. While the cake is cooling, combine the remaining whole milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and coconut milk.

7. Put the bottom layer of the cake on a platter. Pour half the milk mixture over the cake. Spread on about a third of the marshmallow cream. Top with the second layer. With a fork, pierce the top of the cake a dozen or so times. Pour over the remaining milk mixture. Cover with the remaining marshmallow cream.

8. Refrigerate the cake until completely cool (it doesn’t have to be ice-cold). Cut into squares and serve carefully.

Serves eight.