Traditional Pastel de 3 Leches {Recipe}

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tres leches pastel cake recipe

Traditional pastel de tres leches, or three milks cake calls for condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk. In many Latin American countries, this cake is a must at weddings and quinceañeras and paired with seasonal fruit and nuts.  It’s dense, moist, fluffy and sweet; a perfect combination to showcase at celebrations and family gatherings.   Many bakers add rum, cognac or rompope to the milk mixture to balance out the sugar.  I went a step further and drizzled it with dulce de leche (cajeta or caramel ice cream topping).


  • Cooking spray (or butter for greasing)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 – 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp dark rum or Rompope (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dulce de leche (or caramel ice cream topping)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • 10-12 strawberries sliced



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray or butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Separately beat eggs and ¾ cup of sugar until thick.  Add vanilla and flour mixture and mix on low speed until well combined, fold in melted butter.

Pour batter on baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden.  Test by inserting a toothpick in center and toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven.

In a medium bowl, combine milks and whisk until well combined.

Place cake on a deep serving tray and gently poke holes with wooden skewer or fork.  Pour milk mixture evenly, making sure liquid makes its way into the holes.  Continue to let cake cool.

Whip cream and ¼ cup sugar (and dark rum, optional) until peaks form.  Frost cake with whipped cream, top with almonds, drizzled dulce de leche (or caramel ice cream topping) and sliced strawberries.

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