Chilean Three Milk Cake (Torta Tres Leches)

This cake is one of the few foods that Chile has in common with the rest of the South American continent. This well-loved cake of Latin America is a small contribution to the country known for endless interesting and unique factoids:

  • Chile is the longest country in the world from north to south at 2,653 miles and its coastline is one of the world’s longest and narrowest – with a width of just over 125 miles.
  • Monte Verde is the oldest-known site of human habitation in the Americas, 16,500 B.C.
  • Puerto Williams is considered the southernmost village in the world.
  • Torta tres leches most likely originated in Mexico or elsewhere in Central America, but over the years it has become very popular in Chile and connects this isolated and fascinating country to the rest of the Americas

Tres Leches Cake – Three Milks Cake

This may look like a plain old sponge cake, but tres leches translates as ‘three milks’ in English, and refers to the three different kinds of milk in which the sponge is soaked (whole milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk). After soaking in this mixture, the light and fluffy sponge takes on a melt-in-your-mouth texture, complemented by a soft whipped cream and fresh fruit topping.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chile, South American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 12
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Stand or hand mixer.
  • Wire whisk, large bowl
  • 13-by-9-inch round cake pan

Ingredients

  • cups All-purpose flour
  • tsp Baking powder
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 large Eggs, at room temp; yolks and whites seperated
  • ½ cup Granulated sugar
  • 1⅛ cup Granulated sugar
  • cup Whole milk
  • 12 oz Can evaporated milk
  • 14 oz Can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • cup Heavy or whipping cream

Instructions

  • Prepare for Baking – Heat oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan lightly, leaving a 1/4-inch border that remains ungreased. Do not butter the sides of the pan; you want the cake to “climb” up the sides of the pan as it bakes.
  • Make Cake Batter – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1/2 cup of the milk, lower the speed, and then mix in the flour mixture just until combined. Scape everything back into the big bowl and rinse out the mixer bowl. With whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy about 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar while beating. Continue to beat the mixture until you have shiny, medium-stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir a big scoop of the egg white mixture into the batter to loosen it, then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining whites into the batter without deflating them. 
  • Bake Cake – Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack to cool slightly.
  • Infuse Cake with Milks – Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Using a skewer or a toothpick, poke holes about 1/2 inch apart all over the cake. Cut the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake, about a cup at a time, allowing 5 to 10 minutes for it to soak in before adding more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours).
  • Serve – To serve, whip the cream, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar to soft peaks. Top the cake with the whipped cream. Serve.

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