Three milk cake/ Pastel de tres leches

By Recipes extracted from Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos

Three milk cake/ Pastel de tres leches
This milky cake reminds me of all the ʻquinceañeraʼ parties I attended when I was a teenager. Fifteenth birthday parties are lavishly celebrated in Mexico and pastel de tres leches always makes an appearance. With vanilla whipped cream and delicious fresh fruit, it is the perfect celebration cake. Feel free to decorate it with your favourite toppings. Go wild!


  • 185 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch table salt
  • 5 Free-range eggs
  • 230 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted then cooled, plus extra for greasing

 Milk topping

  • 395 ml condensed milk
  • 375 ml evaporated milk
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 250 ml (1 cup) reduced-fat cream
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla essence

To decorate

  • 200 g canned whipped cream
  • 200 g strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 50 g peaches in syrup, drained and sliced

Three milk cake/ Pastel de tres leches Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Grease a 23 cm (9 in) round cake tin and dust it with flour.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. One by one add the eggs to the bowl, incorporating each egg before adding the next, then mix using electric beaters on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar and vanilla, beating for 2 minutes or until you have a fluffy, yellow batter. Add the cold melted butter, then reduce the speed to low and beat for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Gently tap the tin on your work surface to remove any air bubbles, then transfer to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the cake has a light golden crust and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
  5. To make the milk topping, combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth without any lumps.
  6. Using a spatula, gently loosen the cake, then invert it onto a deep tray or serving plate. Use a fork to poke small holes all over the surface of the cake, then slowly pour over the milk topping, allowing the cake to absorb some of the topping before adding more.
  7. Cover the cake with a thick layer of whipped cream and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Decorate the top with the strawberry and peach slices, then cut into slices and serve.

Recipes extracted from Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos, published by Smith Street Books, RRP AU$ 45.00 / NZ$ 55.00

Photography © Alicia Taylor, Food Stylist © Deborah Kaloper


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