Tres leches is a Spanish word meaning three milks. Tres leches cake is a delicious dessert soaked in three different types of milks; condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. You may well be thinking that it must be quiet rich, heavy and dense but actually it is quiet light and moist with air bubbles in it. Tres leches cake can either be made as a butter cake or a sponge cake. As you would expect the sponge version of Tres Leches is even lighter.
Origin of the Cake
The origin of the cake is not known but the idea of a soaked cake is mostly likely of European origin. British rum cake, savarin and tiramisu, the Italian cakes also use the same concept of cakes being soaked in liquids. The famous food brand Nestle also claims that it evolved the recipe of tres leches cake during the mid 40s. Although not too many people would realize this but sweet condensed milk has been around since the 19th century. The lack of refrigeration at that time would result in fresh milk not lasting long, condensed milk was invented to increase the life of milk and it was a famous ingredient for Mexican desserts. In 2004, famous ice cream brand Haagen- Dazs also introduced a tres leches flavored ice cream in the market. It contained tiny pieces of tres leches cake in tasty ice cream. The idea, however, was discontinued after sometime.
Tasty Topings for Tres Leches Cake
The cake after being soaked in the three milks is often flavored with vanilla, making it a sumptuous and mouth watering treats. A good tres leches is moist to the fullest instead of being mushy and strongly flavored.
Tres leches cake can be served with or without any toppings but topping give it extra bite and taste. A popular topping for the cake is “Caveat” . Cajeta is a sugar and goat milk based caramel source. Sometimes it is used to transform tres leches to cuatro leches i.e. from the traditional three layer cake to a four layer. This is more of a Tex Mex serving idea rather than the traditional Spanish.
As for the soaking liquid, its flavor can be enhanced by adding brandy or tot of rum to it. You can also try Kahula or irish cream. Toasted coconut will work well too and for sure you would love to flavor the milk mixture with nuts or fruit extracts.
For a southern style flavor, you could add peaches slices to the soaking milks and drained pecans to the batter. For a Caribbean touch, how about adding coconut milk to the three milks and little bit of rum?