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Experience the tastes of Latin America simply by making this cake at home! A sponge cake is soaked in a combination of milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk for a treat your taste buds are going to LOVE.
“Hello Reader! I try my hardest to research recipes as best as I can before posting to ensure I am representing each culture correctly. If this recipe is from your country and I have made a mistake or you have suggestions for how to make it more authentic, I would love to hear! Please leave a comment below letting me know what should be different, and I will rework the recipe. It is always my intention to pay homage and respect to each cultural dish that I cook. Thanks for reading!”
Table of Contents
This Easy Tres Leches Cake is a sponge cake that is soaked in a combination of 3 different milks: heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. It’s then topped with whipped cream and sometimes served with fruit on top!
And while its name is well known, Matt has affectionately taken to calling this cake our “Milkshake Cake” because the milk mixture makes it taste like a “milkshake on a plate.”
This recipe is famous amongst many countries in Latin America, including Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and even Mexico!
As is tough with many recipes that are loved around the world (especially this Homemade Pistachio Baklava Recipe), it’s hard to know exactly where Tres Leches Cake came from and how it evolved to where it is today.
Most think that the concept for a soaked cake originated in England during the middle ages as a way to enjoy cake that had gone stale. Examples of this are Portuguese Rum-Soaked Cakes and this Easy Tiramisu Recipe.
While an actual recipe for Tres Leches cake didn’t show up in cookbooks until the 1970s, a lot of people speculate that the recipe was created by Nestle as a way to sell more of their canned milk products. Most agree that Tres Leches originated and gained popularity in Nicaragua but has spread across Central America, South America, and the Caribbean since.
Why Make this Recipe
- 3 Milk Mixture: There is nothing quite so wonderful and eating your cake soaked in a sweet, delightful milk mixture. It really levels up this dessert!
- “Visit” Central America: If you want to experience the beauty of other cultures but can’t get all the way to Central America, we can bring Central America to you! Bring the tastes of the region to your kitchen by making this recipe at home.
- Repurpose Another Cake: If you recently had a birthday celebration but didn’t finish all of the cake, use this method to give your cake a second life! Add the 3 milk mixture to the cake and you can enjoy it for another 5-7 days.
What Do I Need to Make this Recipe?
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the recipe at the bottom for quantities.
- Milk: I recommend whole milk, but 2% will work as well. I would stay away from skim or 1% milk as the fat content isn’t as high, which will lead to a less-rich cake.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: This can be found near the whipped creams in the grocery store.
- Evaporated Milk: This can normally be found in the baking aisle near the canned milks.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This can normally be found in the baking aisle near the canned milks.
How to Make this Recipe
Step 1: Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to combine. Set aside.
In two separate bowls, separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Set the whites aside.
Add ¾ cup granulated sugar into the egg yolk and use an electric hand mixer to beat until pale and smooth. Add the milk and mix to combine.
Add the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold the mixtures together. Do this gently and don’t overmix. Set aside.
Use a stand mixer to electric hand mixer to beat the egg whites. When soft peaks form, add the remaining granulated sugar, a little bit at a time. Continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.
Make the Batter
Add the whipped egg whites into the flour and egg yolk mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold them together. Do this gently so as not to deflate the egg whites.
Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Then pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, allow the cake to cool completely.
Step 2: Make the Whipped Cream
In a large bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer until a stiff whipped cream is formed (about 5-6 minutes). Set aside.
Step 3: Assemble
In a bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy whipping cream. Whisk until fully combined.
When the cake is cooled, use a fork to poke holes all around the cake. Then, pour the 3 milk mixture over the entire cake.
Allow the cake to sit for 3-4 minutes until the milk mixture is fully absorbed into the cake (or at least until the top has soaked in). Then spread the whipped cream on top of the cake.
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!
- It is most common to use whole milk in place of the heavy whipping cream in the milk mixture. I used heavy cream because I like how it made the milk mixture thicker, but you can use either.
- Some people prefer to make their Easy Tres Leches cake with white cake or pound cake instead of sponge cake. If this is what you prefer, you can use your favorite recipe and then just follow the instructions for the whipped cream and the milk mixture.
- If you don’t want to make homemade whipped cream, you can also buy cool whip, though it will change the flavor slightly.
- Many people like to top this Easy Tres Leches Cake with Maraschino cherries
Did you like this Easy Tres Leches Cake Recipe? If so, make sure to check out these other recipes I picked out just for you:
- Brazo de Reina (Dulce de Leche Cake)
- Canadian Christmas Fruit Cake
- German Black Forest Cake
- Swiss Roll Recipe with Raspberry Cream Filling
If you make this recipe at home, leave a review/comment on this post letting us know what you thought! And don’t forget to share a photo of your finished product on Facebook and Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork.
Top 6 how long does tres leches cake last in the fridge edited by Top Chef
Tres Leches Cake Recipe | Martha Stewart
- Author: marthastewart.com
- Published: 02/18/2022
- Review: 4.74 (568 vote)
- Summary: I am going to attempt to make 2 treks leeches cakes for Christmas. How long will the cake keep before serving and should I bake each separately or can I bake
- Matching search: “Hello Reader! I try my hardest to research recipes as best as I can before posting to ensure I am representing each culture correctly. If this recipe is from your country and I have made a mistake or you have suggestions for how to make it more …
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Tres Leches Cake – Jo Cooks
- Author: jocooks.com
- Published: 04/04/2022
- Review: 4.56 (200 vote)
- Summary: Aug 18, 2022 While the cake is cooling, prepare the milk sauce by whisking all the sauce ingredients together. Pierce the entire cake with a fork. Finally,
- Matching search: The 3 milks used in the sauce are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk. But that’s not all, to make this cake a bit boozy, I added about 3 tbsp of rum in my milk sauce. Trust me, you will want to do this if you’re not serving …
Tres Leches Cake – Carlsbad Cravings
- Author: carlsbadcravings.com
- Published: 11/28/2021
- Review: 4.19 (309 vote)
- Summary: Tres Leches Cake should be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator. It is good for up to five days – if it lasts that long!
- Matching search: Heavy cream or “heavy whipping cream” as it is labeled, is the thick, fat-rich part of milk, which rises to the top when milk is fresh and is skimmed off before homogenization. It is rich, indulgent and can be used in many applications such as pasta …
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Tres Leches Cake – Baking with Blondie
- Author: bakingwithblondie.com
- Published: 05/06/2022
- Review: 4.19 (231 vote)
- Summary: Fridge. I know I’m a freezer-lover, but this time the fridge needs to do it’s … So, long story short, if you’re going to stack a tres leches cake THREE
- Matching search: Sure, you can always do the full 1 cup of each of the tres leches (evaporated, condensed, and heavy cream or whole milk), and it will definitely have more of that “soaked” milk you see often with it all pooling at the bottom, and that’s totally your …
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Should tres leches be refrigerated?
- Author: allfamousbirthday.com
- Published: 01/28/2022
- Review: 3.79 (585 vote)
- Summary: · How long is Tres Leches good for in fridge? … This cake can be stored in the fridge and saved for up to 4 days. It is best when eaten within the
- Matching search: The most likely theory is that tres leches—at least its inspiration—originated in England around the Middle Ages. Considering its form, tres leches can be categorized as a trifle cake, which originated in England around the Middle Ages. Soaking a …
The Best Tres Leches Cake Recipe – Live Well Bake Often
- Author: livewellbakeoften.com
- Published: 04/29/2022
- Review: 3.59 (281 vote)
- Summary: Jan 18, 2021 Storage Instructions: Leftover cake may be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Eggs: I recommend using room
- Matching search: The three milks used in this authentic tres leches cake recipe are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. Once the milk mixture has been poured over top of the cake, the whole thing is chilled and gets topped with sweetened …