September 23, 2012 2:00 PM
Tres Leches Cake
POSTED IN: TV Show Recipes , Pati's Mexican Table
TAGS: cake , dessert , EP206 , jinich , pati , recipe , tres leches , vanilla
Print This Page | Print Recipe | COMMENTS (19)
Pastel de tres leches
Serves 10 to 12

Cake Ingredients:
9 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Sauce Ingredients:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Butter a 9x13-inch pan, lining the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the pan.

Pour the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer and beat on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they hold soft peaks. Slowly stir in the sugar and continue beating until they hold harder or stiffer peaks. Turn off the mixer and, with a spatula, move the egg white mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Rinse the mixer bowl and its whisk. Now, pour the egg yolks into the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the yolks become creamy and puffy and their color has toned down to an almost cream color rather than a loud yellow. Stir in the vanilla and continue beating for another minute.

Pour the egg yolk mixture onto the egg white mixture and, with a spatula, in circular motions, combine them into a homogeneous single batter. Do so gently, trying not to lose too much volume gained from beaten egg whites. Fold in the flour, scraping the bowl with the spatula so that all the flour is well mixed.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and place into the oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. It can be a bit moist, but not wet. The top of the cake should be tanned or golden brown.

Once it cools down, turn it onto a platter. Remove parchment paper, cover the top with an upside-down platter and invert again. The platter should be large enough to hold the cake and the vanilla sauce you are about to prepare. Using a fork, or two, poke holes all over the cake so that it will better absorb the vanilla sauce.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the vanilla sauce over the cake. It may appear like too much sauce, but it will all be absorbed!

In the bowl of your mixer, whip up the heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture holds up stiff peaks. Spread the whipped cream all over the already-wet cake and place it in the refrigerator. You can decorate the cake with berries or any other topping of your choice.


I made your Tres Leches cake this afternoon and it is delicious. I don't think I know of another cake that can be said to be refreshing, but this is a keeper of a recipe.

The only thing I would change was the time it takes to get the egg whites to soft peaks. My mixer is a bottom of the line stand KitchenAid mixer and it only took two minutes to get to soft peaks with eggs at room temperature.

ann p. | September 27, 2012 8:50 PM

Hola Ann, It is so great to hear that you think my tres leches cake recipe is a keeper! And thank you for the insight on the length of time it takes to get the egg whites to stiff peaks. It always helps me to hear feedback from the person using my recipe. Let me know if you try anything else.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from ann p. | October 2, 2012 1:40 PM

I think I'll have to pass on this cake, or use some no calorie sugar in place of the granulated sugar, since it already has the sweetened condensed milk. As a new diabetic have to watch sugars and carbs. Granted the cake reads as a really yummy one, but trying to be good and follow my nurse practitioner's orders.

Lauralee Hensley | October 6, 2012 8:15 PM

Right now I use a lot of your recipes in my kitchen. I love the tomatillo jam with lime. The chochoyotes that are small dumplings of masa in that rich broth with meat is just wonderful ( I looked it up - the amarillito mole recipe); I think I could eat that once a week and never tire of it. The chicken with brown sugar,chipotle and tomatillo has a problem: I cook enough to have leaft overs, but there aren't leftovers (ever). Your Immaculate Comception empanada filling is great but I make it in empanada dough taht is a lot lower in fat (so my husband can dip them in melted queso and not drown in fats). Not only did I make your Chicken with Tamarind, I found a seed in my tamarind paste and it's now a two foot tall tree growing in a pot in my kitchen window.

So, Pati, I think can call myself a fan of yours and of your recipes. Thank you for the fun you've given us.

ann p. | October 14, 2012 11:37 PM

Hola Lauralee, I'm sorry you will have to pass on the Tres Leches Cake. Maybe you can try my baked plantains with only a little bit of sugar or honey for dessert:

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Lauralee Hensley | October 17, 2012 12:04 PM

Pati! I love your show and watch it on both my local PBS Channel and (from time to time) on their Create Channel.

I have watched other Mexican Cooks and your show is the most vibrant, fun and interesting.

Today, I learned how to make REAL Tres Leches Cake. I've had the real deal and some from folks who don't really know how to make it. As a baker, I like to be authentic when possible. Soooo, I'll be making Tres Leches Cake now. The right way!!!

Thank you!

Linda Ann | October 27, 2012 1:35 PM

Ann P., hola! You have no idea how much it means to me that you are trying all these recipes. And you've just inspired me to grow my own tamarind tree!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from ann p. | November 5, 2012 1:20 PM

Hola Pati,
I've been studying Spanish language and culture and I must say this is my favorite recipe! Absolutamente sabroso. I am going to prepare it for one of my classes - Can't wait!

Alex Idoux | November 10, 2012 12:58 PM

Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.

When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great

Felipa | November 12, 2012 3:41 AM

Hola Alex, I am thrilled that you are going to prepare my tres leches cake for your class. Thank you for telling me! Good choice of studies as well. All the best to you.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Alex Idoux | November 15, 2012 5:11 PM

Felipa, Thank you so much for taking a moment to bring this issue to my attention! We are looking into it.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Felipa | November 21, 2012 11:33 AM

Hi, Pati:

My husband (of Mexican descent) and I both watch your show---and love it! I try many of your recipes, and they have all been delicious. My husband says that my cooking, based on your recipes, brings back fond memories of his childhood when his "Abuela" cooked for him. Thank you so much for your wonderful show---so informative, and so much fun! Oh, I'm intrigued by that HUGE stand mixer you use---what is it?

Sandra | November 30, 2012 8:48 PM

Wonderful recipe, Pati! Thank you for sharing. I had a problem with losing some volume on the egg whites when I added the sugar but, other than that, the cake turned out delicious. I noticed someone with an earlier post had the same problem and I wonder what I could have done differently.

I'm looking forward to your book release. I have it preordered through Amazon. I'm curious though, is there somewhere that I can either purchase or just watch your show? Thanks!

Natalie | December 2, 2012 1:03 AM

Hola Sandra, It's wonderful to hear you are using my recipes, and it's bringing back memories for your husband of his abuela's cooking. The mixer you mention is made by Viking. Thank you very much for watching the show!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Sandra | December 3, 2012 11:00 AM

Hola Natalie, Thank you so much for pre-ordering my book!! I don't have DVDs of the show released for sale at this time, but you can watch episodes everyday on CreateTV at 6:30pm, 9:30pm and 3:30am EST. For the cake, it's natural the egg whites will loose some volume as sugar is added. The key is to add the sugar slowly with the mixer still going at a medium-low speed. Once all the sugar is added, you can turn up the mixer and let it go until the egg whites form stiff peaks. I hope this helps!! I appreciate you writing me with your question!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Natalie | December 3, 2012 11:11 AM

Hi Pati,

I've been watching your show on Create as well as my local PBS channel for a while now. I happened to catch it today and saw you making this cake. It was perfect timing since I've been looking for a special dessert to make for my husband's graduation. I can't wait to get started on it today!

Naimah | December 18, 2012 2:39 PM

Hi Pati! I caught your show on PBS and I'm going to try this cake at our Christmas Dinner!
I have a 2 questions - the cake still rises without using baking powder or soda? And no salt?

Thanks, Pati! Love your show,

Vivian | December 21, 2012 10:28 PM

Hi, I want to make this cake for my husband's birthday. He's been asking me to make one for a long time. What size can is the evaporated milk? It comes in small 4 or 5 oz. cans & larger 12 oz. cans.


Erin | December 29, 2012 4:02 PM

Hi Erin, It's a 14oz can sweetened condensed milk and a 12oz can evaporated milk. I hope your husband enjoys the cake!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Erin | January 2, 2013 6:16 PM