September 27, 2013

Pastel de Tres Leches (Daring Bakers' Challenge)

Pastel de Tres Leches...this is one of those cakes that's been on my cake backlog forever even though I'd never eaten it before and I had no idea whether or not it was any good. The concept of this cake - which involves soaking sponge cake in milk - is so novel and interesting. When I saw that this was the subject of the September Daring Bakers', I was beyond excited.

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

Inma's recipe called for fresh or canned fruit to adorn and enhance the cake. I decided to add a bit of a crunchy twist and use almonds baked with cinnamon and sugar. These were really tasty, even just to eat the handful.

I loved this cake. It reminded me of the rice pudding that my dad used to make for me when I was young. The syrup was infused with a warm, subtle, cinnamon flavor from the cinnamon stick. I think the flavor from cinnamon sticks may be smoother than that from cinnamon powder, because this was so especially, deliciously, cinnamon-y.  Thanks for a great challenge, Inma!

Pastel de Tres Leches (with Cinnamon Almonds)

Ingredients for Cake
5 eggs (separated)
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Ingredients for Syrup
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Cinnamon Almonds
8 ounces sliced almonds
1 egg white
2 teaspoons water
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Topping
2 cups heaving whipping cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. To make the cake, preheat your oven to 350° F.  Line a 8" square (or 9" round) cake pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper and pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites (save the yolks!) on medium speed. When soft peaks form, add the sugar in a slow stream.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and vanilla extract on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until the yolks are light and fluffy.
  5. Pour the yolk mixture over the whites and carefully fold the yolks into the mixture.
  6. Slowly, sift the flour over the egg mixture, a little at a time. Fold the flour into the mixture, trying to lose as little air as possible. Repeat until all of the flour has been incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 25 minutes). Remove and allow to cool.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the syrup mixture. Heat the three milks and the cinnamon stick over medium-high heat until boiling. Allow to boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  9. Once the cake and syrup is cool, torte the cake so that you have two even pieces. Place each cake piece in a dish with sides. Using a pastry brush, brush the syrup equally over the cake pieces. Use all the syrup (it will seem like a lot, but it's ok). Cover the cake and store in the refrigerator overnight.
  10. To make the almonds, preheat the oven to 275° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  11. Mix the egg white and water with a fork until frothy. Mix with the almonds until they are evenly moist. Toss the sugar, cinnamon, and salt with the almonds. 
  12. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the cookie sheets. Bake for 45 minutes, removing the sheets every 15 minutes and breaking up any almonds that are sticking together. Remove and allow to cool.
  13. To assemble the cake, beat the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Remove one of the cake layers from the refrigerator. Frost the top with whipping cream and sprinkle with cinnamon almonds. Place the second cake layer on top and frost with the remaining whipping cream. Cover with cinnamon almonds. Make sure to store in the refrigerator until serving.


  1. Your photos of the cake are really good! :-)

  2. This has also been on my to-bake list! I will have to try your recipe.

  3. I got to eat this one! It tasted fantastic. The texture was really soft and luxurious, and the crunchy sweet almonds were a great addition. Everyone at the party really loved it, people will all different backgrounds. Bit hit. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. your cake looks really good!

  5. Love your photos, they give off such an ethereal feel! From a fellow DB :-)

  6. Lovely job!! I like the addition of the crunchy spicy almonds! Delicious!


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