Chow Town

Tres leches cake is a cool summertime treat

Tres Leches cake with berries
Tres Leches cake with berries

Versatile and refreshing, Tres Leches is one of my favorite summer recipes! This sponge cake is a popular Central American dessert and it gets its name from the three milks it is soaked in: condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream.

Sponge cakes are light and fluffy because of all the air whipped into the eggs. For this reason, they are very delicate and can be tricky to make because the batter can easily deflate if even slightly overworked. However, this recipe is very forgiving and easy to make because it calls for a good amount of baking powder. It turns out fluffy every time! I like to serve it very cold, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Tres Leches Cake

The Sponge Cake:

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3 large whole eggs, divided

pinch of salt

1 cup of sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

Tres Leches Soaking Mixture:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1 can of evaporated milk

1/2 cup of heavy cream (may substitute for half and half or regular milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pirex dish. In a bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and set aside. Whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until white and opaque. Increase the speed and gradually add  1/4 cup sugar until it forms firm peaks. Reserve. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar on high until thick and pale yellow. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites. Add  1/2 of the flour mixture and fold gently. Add the vanilla to the milk, and pour into mixture all at once. Add the rest of the flour and fold gently until combined, being careful to not deflate the batter. Pour into greased pan and bake it for approximately 25 minutes.

Combine all three milks in a bowl and pour over cake while it is still hot. Refrigerate it overnight. To serve, whip one pint of heavy cream with two tablespoons of confectioner's sugar to soft peaks. Spread over cake. Top it off with fresh fruits. Serves 10.

Marcella V. Ibarguren is the owner of the Brigabon Candy Co., which specializes in the Brazilian treat brigadeiros. Find the company at and @brigabon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“Delicious Dump Cakes,” a new cookbook by local home economists Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore is due out in May and features many delicious recipes including Brownie Turtle Pecan Dump Cake. Here, Wyss shows it really is easy to make a dump cake.