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Old 12-22-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
Tres Leches is always too dense... help!

I have used the following recipe for making Tres Leches, and I have had the following issues every single time.

What in the world am I doing wrong?

1) Right after I take the cake out of the oven, it looks great; nice golden color. Right before my eyes, as it cools, it starts to shrink. I will shrink leaving about 1/8 to 1/4 inch around the edges.

2) The next day, when I test the cake, it is very dense; no air pockets at all; like fudge. The bottom 3/4 or more of the cake was like this, while the very top was more of the expected soft, light sponge cake.

I've read that a dense cake can come from adding too much flour and/or over mixing. I'm using Gold Medal app purpose flour, and it states on the bag that 3 1/3 cup = 1lb. This comes out to 1 cup = 4.8 oz. I just did a test, measuring out the same way I did last night, and I actually came out with 4 oz. Could too little flour cause the cake to be dense?

Here is the recipe I am using.
I got it off the internet; could there be something missing or something generally wrong with it that you can see?

I am using a hand mixer and a metal cake baking pan.
I used fat free milk..

I don't know what they mean by 'add the flower mixture alternately with the milk'. Does this mean add some flour, then milk, then some flour, then milk? If so why?

As far as folding, how do I know when I'm done? Should all the white disappear?

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
9 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
9 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350; Grease and flour 9x13 pan
2) In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light/fluffy
3) Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition
4) Stir in vanilla
5) Sift together flour and baking powder
6) Add flour mixture alternately with milk; beat well after each addition
7) In large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until whites for stiff peaks
8) Gently fold egg whites into cake batter using rubber spatula
9) Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan
10) Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean
11) allow to cool
12) In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups heavy cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk
13) Pour mixture over the cake until it won't absorb any more. There may be 1/3 to 1/4 left over. It's okay.
14) Combine whipped cream and sugar; spread over cake
15) Refrigerate cake until serving.
16) Pour leftover milk mixture onto plates, set cake slices on top.

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Old 12-22-2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,297
Yes, adding flour and milk alternately means just that.
After folding, streaks of white should remain. Maybe you are over beating it.
Maybe try another recipe next time so you can compare.


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Old 12-22-2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NY
Posts: 321
ive never made it, but the Good Eats tres leches cake looked really good....maybe give it a try
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,201
OK, a couple of things I can see. This recipe is tricky because the "lift" is coming from the beaten egg whites and any little thing will make your cake fall. Think souffle. If the cake starts to deflate as soon as its out of the oven, you're sunk. Look up souffles and see if you can find some hints to keeping them light and fluffy.

I'm not good at souffles. If it were me, I would look up another tres leche cake. If you want to look on DC I think Dina posted one. It might be a flan though. I'll look up a link for you if you like.

Sorry I couldn't be helpful with tips about keeping it from falling.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:21 AM   #5
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,201
]Alton Browns Tres Leche Cake
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:44 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Posts: 30
Pastel Tres Leches Cake Recipe (Three Milk Cake)

I have used this recipes several times with very good success. -Cindy

Pastel Tres Leches (Three Milk Cake)Recipe by Nestle Foods.


6 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 can (14 oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can (7.6 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ Media Crema, or 1 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
Grease and flour 9-inch spring form pan.

BEAT egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar in large mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Combine egg yolks and remaining sugar in medium bowl; beat until light yellow in color. Fold egg white mixture and flour alternately into egg yolk mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to wire rack.

COMBINE sweetened condensed milk, media crema, evaporated milk, brandy and vanilla extract in medium bowl; stir well. Prick top of cake thoroughly with wooden pick. Pour 2 cups cream over cake. Spoon excess cream from side of pan over top of cake. Let stand for 30 minutes or until cake absorbs cream. Remove side of pan.

BEAT cream, sugar and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread over top and sides of cake. Serve immediately with remaining cream.
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:57 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Dallas, TX or thereabouts
Posts: 111
I think I still have a recipe around here somewhere that was in the paper a few years ago. It is a recipe by a well respected local Latino baker/bakery and is supposed to be excellent. I have not made it personally as it is way too involved for me. I'm not into fancy/complicated dishes; but saved this recipe for the day in the future when I might change my mind. Gotta admit it does sound good!!

Maybe I need to call/visit the shop and see if they sell it by the slice so I can try it before investing all of the time and effort. Who knows, I might not even care for it?
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 63
I make this cake a lot and have never had any problems let me give you MY recipe that works for me. I have this and a picture on my blog but I can not post links yet so check back later here is the recipe though.

5 eggs
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

milk sauce:
1/2 can (6 ounce) evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, flour, baking powder and cream of tatar. With a hand mixer mix until smooth and frothy. In a 13inch x 9inch baking pan pour batter and cook for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium sized mixing bowl add evaporated milk, condensed milk and 1/2 cup cream. Whisk together and place in fridge until needed.

3. When caked has cooked and cooled carefully poke holes all over. Pour milk mixture all over the cake. Place in the refrigerator over night.

4. In a steal bowl add 1 cup heavy cream and sugar. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. With a hand mixer on high mix until peaks form. You can frost each piece or entire cake.

Yields: 20 servings
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Old 12-27-2009, 03:18 PM   #9
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Dallas, TX or thereabouts
Posts: 111

Not exactly what you were asking for; but how about a recipe for Cuatro Leches Cake ?? This recipe gets rave reviews in the Dallas areea.

Here is a link to the web site which I posted cause I thought some would like to see what else was available from this outstanding bakery. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to access the cake recipe from this page?
La Duni Restaurant


But not to worry. Here is a direct link to the recipe.

Enjoy !!

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