Three-Milk Cake

(Torta de Tres Leches)

Well. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

I’m not sure it’s necessary to bore you with details, but since some concerned friends did actually email/text/tweet me asking if I was okay after such a long silence on my blog, I thought I owed everyone some sort of explanation.

When I left a previous job, B and I planned to travel overseas, but I got side tracked by an offer to work in a restaurant for a couple of weeks, covering the Pastry Chef’s shifts while he was on holiday. The couple of weeks turned into something like 5 months (the PC did come back, but he spent some time at the stoves, being the multi-tasking genius that he is). During the 5 months, I discovered the meaning of the words complete+and+utter+exhaustion and why a physiotherapist can be your new best friend. I also rediscovered the true meaning of teamwork. The dedication, passion and camaraderie that this kitchen team bring to the workplace every day, is incredibly unique and is what I will miss most now that I have left.

That said, it’s very exciting to finally be on holiday. We’re off to New York and San Francisco, where a lot of eating is planned and I’m looking forward to meeting up with fellow baking enthusiasts like Anna, Caitlin, Hilda and Aran.

While I reacquaint myself with my kitchen at home, here is a cake recipe I’ve been meaning to share. I made Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra’s Torta de Tres Leches a few months ago and fell instantly in love with it. So much so that I was spurred to come up with a dessert inspired by its flavours and textures. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this dessert, but if you ever come across it in a particular restaurant, you might recognise it straight away. It is a dish that is meant to be soothing, soft and yielding to the palate and that celebrates the flavour of milk in its many forms : milk, butter, buttermilk, sour cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, powdered milk and yogurt all feature, as well as white chocolate. I think the end result almost comes close to replicating that sense of wonderment I got when I ate my first slice of :

Torta de Tres Leches :
(recipe from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra)

Cake :

3 eggs
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons milk

Milk Mixture :

200g condensed milk
125ml sour cream
150ml evaporated milk
125ml milk

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line a 20cm (8 inch) tin with baking paper.

Use an electric mixer to whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract until thick and pale.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then fold into the mixture. Next, gently but thoroughly mix in the milk. Scrape the batter into the baking tin and level the top. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until dark golden brown. It will be cooked through before that, but the extra browning – slight overbaking – adds to the flavour in this case.

While the cake is baking, combine the condensed milk and sour cream thoroughly. Add the other two milks and set aside.

Turn the baked cake out onto a cooling rack and immediately cover the bottom and sides generously with tinfoil. Re-invert into the baking tin so that the tinfoil lines the tin. Prick several holes in the cake with a skewer and slowly pour the milk mixture over the warm cake, from the centre outwards. Do this in three batches, allowing the previous additions to be absorbed. It will look like too much liquid, but don’t be alarmed : the cake will soak it all up. Leave to cool. Chill until ready to serve.

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  1. Crustabakes said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    WOW, thats a lot of different types of milk! How very interesting! i hope to try this cake soon. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Reemski said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    Yay for holidays! In case I don’t speak to you before you go, I hope you both have an amazing trip, and eat your self happy!

  3. Sonia{7spice} said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    I have been meaning to try this since ages. Now, I’ve one more source to try from. Thanks for sharing. That cake piece is making me tempted! 🙂

  4. penny aka jeroxie said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    Is that whipped cream on top? 3 milk… I like this! And seems simple enough for a novice baker like me.

  5. Howard said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    Welcome back to the internet! Hope you have fun on your holiday and come back with even more awesome ideas for desserts.

  6. Wei-Wei said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

    Mmm, tres leches cake! I saw a version on the Pioneer Woman. It looks delicious! I hope you are doing well and not TOO burnt out…

  7. faithy said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    Glad you are back! I’ve just been wondering what happened to you and about to drop you a tweet asking, hey, how come no updates and here it is! 😀 Now that you’re traveling more..keep us updated with your hols and photos! 😀

    I’m not too sure if i do like tres leches after i tried it once as i found it too milky. Now that you say it’s so good, perhaps i’ll try again with this recipe. 😀

  8. shez said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    I’ve been checking your blog intermittently, in hopes that I would see signs of life. I’m so glad you’re back, even if briefly before holidaying (how enticing does that sound!), and that you’re leaving your “short stint” with happy memories and good vibes.

    Travel safely! Hope you come back feeling like you’ve been away and rested for years 🙂 x

  9. shaz said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    Happy hols and happy trails Y! Glad to know that there’s lots of fun in store for you. And you made cake for us befoer you leave, ta! 🙂

  10. Val said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    I have just one thing to say. I love you, you are awesome.

  11. InTolerantChef said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

    I love the sound of this cake, the depth of flavour from all the varieties of milk should be really interesting, Yumm…

  12. Laura said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

    Y, glad to see you back.

    If you have any time left, I am in SF as well, and would love to meet you as well.

  13. bake in paris said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

    Y, it is good to have you back….. It has been a long long while…..

    Three milk cake, what a choice for the first posting after your holiday….. Look forward to seeing more of you 🙂

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  14. the caked crusader said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    Yay – you’re back! Cake looks divine.
    Hope you’re recharging your batteries!

  15. Anh said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    enjoy your trip Y!

  16. Esz said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

    Wow that looks delicious! And so simple. Thanks – bookmarked!

  17. Inner Pickle said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

    THERE you are! That cakes looks damn amazing. And happy holiday to you – hope you have a fab trip xx

  18. Christy said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    First, I agree with all that Val said.

    It’s good to have you baaacckkk!! I know we spoke on Twitter DM last night, but there wasn’t any post yet so I was thinking ‘la la la….’ when the page loaded and a new photo appeared.

    I have just one word for it: Gottamakethiscakenow.

    PS. say hi to Aran for me when you see her.

  19. Tangled Noodle said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 1:35 am

    Safe and fun travels! Usually, it’s others who put together a little send-off the the voyagers, but this time, you’ve made a treat for us. I love tres leches cake and would love to try out this recipe!

  20. shirley@kokken69 said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 1:41 am

    You’ve survived the stint – that’s amazing! The cake looks lovely – it has to be after your stand in stint for a pastry chef :)… Enjoy your holidays in the US.

  21. Grace Boyle said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 2:09 am

    The more moist, the better! This looks delicious. Although I just covered a vegan pumpkin pie on my blog, I’ll have to swing back (I love dairy!) to create this. Thanks for posting it, my mouth is watering 🙂

  22. Megan Gordon said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 2:38 am

    Wow! Tres Leches Cake is one of my all time favorites (maybe we chatted on twitter about this at some point?!) And if you have time for a cup of joe in San Francisco, I’d love to meet up. Just let me know…

  23. Chez Us said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 5:47 am

    Gorgeous cake. I have always wanted to make a Tres Leches cake and just as you inspired me with delicious carrot cake, you have done it again with this!

    We all need a break every so often. I am glad to hear you are back on the blogging scene and heading out for a much needed vacation! Enjoy! By the way if you need recommendations for places to eat in San Francisco, let me know. And while in NY, you should try to get into The Little Owl – one of our favorite NY hangouts!

  24. Caitlin said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 10:02 am

    Am I allowed to squee? Because that’s what I want to do. Not only am I counting down for my wedding (5 days!), I’m counting down to NYC and seeing you (2.5 weeks)! So yes. I think squee is the only appropriate response 🙂

  25. anna said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    Ooh I LOVE Tres Leches! Never made it and can’t eat it often because it’s just too much dairy but oh wow is it ever good. And I can’t WAIT to see you. 😀

  26. Thip said,

    November 2, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    Let me know if you need any recommendations in San Francisco. I’m so glad you make it. 🙂
    p.s Giants just won the world series. :)))

  27. Helen (grabyourfork) said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 12:11 am

    oh i love tres de leches. i discovered it at a chilean bakery and fell in love at first bite! am sure you will have an amazing holiday – enjoy the break. you deserve it!

  28. Asha@FSK said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    Yoohoo!! you are back!! and looking fwd to meeting you in NYC!

  29. Lisa said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 7:59 am

    yayy you’re back! I thought you’re already on holiday since I saw some tweets and twitpix. But it is more exciting to knwo you’re going on a long one soon so have fun!!! And lookign forward to reading yoru adventures! much love 🙂 Lisa

  30. UrMomCooks said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    This cake has a fanatical cult-like following in the state of Texas! So much so, that I am very excited to have a brand new version to share!!!

  31. Kasey said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Glad to see you back–what a delicious-looking cake! If you need any suggestions for places to eat/check out in San Francisco, let me know!

  32. Alison said,

    November 3, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    This looks very delicious. have a wonderful trip!

  33. Su-yin said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 8:20 am

    It’s good to have you back. 🙂 Have a fantastic holiday, you totally deserve it! x

  34. Helene said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    Oh my that looks delicious. I have family coming and that would be perfect.

  35. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    The cake must be beautifully moist soaked with milk. Good to hear you’re finally on holiday. Have a great trip!

  36. Angie's Recipes said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

    Yummy! Love the milky mixture.
    I wish you a pleasant and flavourful holiday!

  37. Grace said,

    November 6, 2010 @ 2:14 am

    This looks absolutely delicious! Enjoy your holiday!

  38. Sophie said,

    November 6, 2010 @ 4:29 am

    M,……!!!!!!!! What else can I say???

  39. cathy x. said,

    November 6, 2010 @ 11:33 am

    hmm what exactly is this so called “squee”? is it an abreviation for squat+wee? ..maybe i spent a little too much time in china 😛


    bye bye 🙁

  40. Taz said,

    November 8, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    Oh boy, this looks delicious! Definitely giving this recipe a shot.

    Have a great holiday.

  41. grace said,

    November 11, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

    enjoy your time off! i suppose we don’t appreciate vacations as much as we should until we face total exhaustion…
    i love a moist tres leches cake–you’re back with a bang, and i’ve missed you and your goodies!

  42. Gaia said,

    November 12, 2010 @ 3:21 am

    ooh, my God. This cake is perfection!

  43. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said,

    November 18, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    Sounds like your trip is well deserved and long overdue! Glad you’re posting again & enjoy NY!

  44. Aparna said,

    November 23, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

    It really has been a while since I last dropped by here (or anywhere else!). 🙂
    This cake is something I have been planning to make forever. Guess its time I actually got down to doing it.
    Have a wonderful vacation.

  45. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said,

    December 2, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    I love this cake-it’s so delicious! And sounds like you had a great time in the US!

  46. betty said,

    December 16, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    i tried this cake 2 mths ago and LOVED IT! couldnt bare to make it at home though as it’d be up to me to finish it all lolz

  47. christmas sweets said,

    December 18, 2010 @ 4:18 am

    Oh wow, i really like this recipe off your blog. I rarely, or never?, have a milk cake, period. But using different forms of milk? I’ dying to try it now. Thanks for this wonderful recipe once again.

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