Baking | Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake … Daring Bakers soak up cake!

“The great thing about cake is it doesn’t feel like work. You forget about work. Kids, adults, they all get the same look in their eye when they’re decorating cakes… that’s the magic right there.”
Duff Goldman

Mango Pastel de Tres LechesPastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake … a cake that impressed and how! Love the Daring Baker challenge this time. having missed the earlier two challenges, I went straight into it very early this month. I did think it could turn out soggy, but no! Turned out to be one of the best cakes ever!

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!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches 4My earliest memories of Tres leches goes back to a visit to Dallas in 2007. The Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake was very popular among the Indian community there. Maybe in many ways it reminded folk of a popular Indian sweet, the milk cake. While visiting some Indian friends there, they were very excited to serve it up.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches I was disappointed. It was sadly soggy and not worth all the fuss. Thereafter have seen references on and off to the cake, but it’s never been interesting enough to make one at home. Until now of course! Just the introductory lines were good enough for me to take on the challenge. ‘Decadent & Delicious?’ Yes please! Searched my mind for ideas, searched the net for variations. Not much out there.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Tres leches are simple cakes, delicious nonetheless. Me being me, had to go a step further. Fruit had to feature in here somewhere, somehow. I decided to get brave and make a layered Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake. Of course I did some important pre planning, some in the head and some on the simmer!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches The Pastel de Tres Leches is a cake that is very popular in Central and South America. It is a super moist, light, airy and super delicious sponge cake soaked in the three kinds of milk {evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream}. Tres Leches is a very light cake {especially if made without butter}, with many air bubbles in its crumb. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches This recipe slightly adapted from an interview given by one of Mexico’s best Pastry Chefs, Paulina Abascal, to the magazine Revista Secretos de la Pastelería Caserais, produces a super moist yet light Tres Leches. True to the word, this was declared as one of the best cakes we’ve eaten. Light, moist and delightfully flavourful, the mango just added the oomph!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Mango Pastel de Tres Leches The three milk mixture is a combination of condensed milk {I always have some on hand}, evaporated milk and cream. While the west consumes tonnes of evaporated milk every year, it’s not a popular concept in India. It was time to make some. Evaporated milk is merely normal milk boiled down to reduce its water content. Simple!

Homemade evaporated milkSimple enough, and with a little pre planning, a cakewalk! Did the sponges on day 1; made the evaporated milk too. Assembled everything on day two, and we cut the cake on day 3! The cake needs a little while to soak in all the good milk, to get matured in flavours. I layered the sponge with fresh diced mango and whipped low cream {stabilized with gelatin}. You can always used canned fruit, peaches, tropical fruit bits etc.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Since it needed an overnight rest, I was kind of confident that the cream would set. Of course I was thrilled to see that it all came together beautifully when I demolded it the next day! It will behave even better in the winter. I’ve got to make this cake again. I did have left over milk mixture as expected, even after giving the layers a generous soaking.

Tres Leches Wholewheat Lemon Pound CakeI was tempted to make an iced milk shake out of it, but then a pound cake came to mind. Since it had been flavoured with lemon extract, I made a Tres Leches Wholewheat Lemon Pound Cake, basically soaked the warm cake in the remaining tres leches concoction. FAB!! Even that was appreciated and how! Will share the recipe soon!

Thank you Imma for offering this delicious challenge. We loved it to bits. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the recent Momofuku’s Crack Pie challenge, maybe more! Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here to see what the rest of the Daring Bakers have been soaking up!

[print_this]Recipe: Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake 
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Summary:  Three-Milk Cake it is a super moist, light, airy and super delicious sponge cake soaked in the three kinds of milk (evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream). Tres Leches is a very light cake (especially if made without butter), with many air bubbles in its crumb. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30mins plus chilling

  • Vanilla sponge cake
  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • 125g vanilla sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 140g all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)
  • For three milks syrup
  • 1 can (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (340 gm) evaporated milk
  • 240g low fat cream {20% fat}
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Topping and filling
  • 400g low fat cream {20% fat)
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp gelatin {dissolved in 2 tbsp milk}
  • 1kg mango, peeled diced {to fill and decorate the cake)


  1. Vanilla Sponge Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 9” (23 cm) round cake pan
  3. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  4. Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes.
  5. When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches.
  6. Whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla.
  8. Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.
  9. Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain. Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  11. Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
  12. Let it cool
  13. Once cool, split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk soaking liquid.
  14. Three milks syrup
  15. In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
  16. Once it is cool, add the rum or any other flavoring you are using
  17. Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
  18. Topping
  19. Whip the cream, when soft peaks form, add the sugar little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 mins.
  20.  Decoration
  21. Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit and decorate the top layer with whipped cream and the fresh or canned fruit.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  • 2 years ago

    Sublime! You have worked your magic again, Deeba.
    Ansh | Spiceroots´s last blog post ..Borani Banjan – Layered Afghan Eggplant DishMy Profile

  • I think mangoes make a perfect choice to fill the cake
    We all loved this cake and it was really easier than what the steps make it sound at first
    As always, breath taking pictures
    Sawsan@ Chef in disguise´s last blog post ..Tres leches cakeMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Deeba, this is such a beautiful cake. Adding mango & coconut to tres leches makes it all the more irresistible!
    Coco in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..A Beautiful TableMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Once again am salivating Deeba.It looks divine.Not only the recipes am in awe of your pictures.just wondering if you could give us some handy tips on photographing as well…:)

  • 2 years ago

    Your cake is beautiful! Mango sounds like a delicious flavor. Nice job on the challenge!
    Kim´s last blog post ..Daring Bakers – Tres Leches CakeMy Profile

  • Abha Mehrotra
    2 years ago

    The cake looks delicious but where did you get mangoes at this time of the year?

    • 2 years ago

      I made this very early in September while I still had 3 kilos of mangoes stashed away in the fridge. Until last week we were getting mangoes from across the border in our local bazaar.

  • 2 years ago

    Deeba your cake is exquisite!! Your creations are always so impressive. The lemon pound cake sounds wonderful as well.
    Korena in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..Daring Bakers: Pastel de Tres LechesMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Your cake looks amazing!! Mangoes and tre leches cake is a very delicious combination indeed :)

  • 2 years ago

    Lovely <3

  • 2 years ago

    Deeba this looks glorious and you know how we eat with our eyes! It looks like a very straightforward recipe (which is totally my thing!) and breaking the assembly down over a few days makes it very manageable. Mangoes not as widely available here in the UK at the moment so I was thinking of raspberries (the last hurrah before autumn really kicks in), a drizzle of runny chocolate icing and sprinkle of toasted almond slivers…

    I second a post on photography – your pictures are so utterly gorgeous. And how I would love to see your props cupboard!!
    Selma´s last blog post ..Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate SquaresMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Love your cake – the height is fabulous and I think mango would be a great match to the tres keches!
    Jas@AbsolutelyJas´s last blog post ..Got Milk?My Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Droolworthy clicks, this cake looks super delicious.Do drop by sometime.
    Nayna Kanabar´s last blog post ..Caribbean Rice.My Profile

  • 2 years ago

    I missed doing this, but now I want to, may be really soon! Envy you for the mangoes, can imagine the milky cake would have tasted fabulous with them, yumm!
    Suma Rowjee´s last blog post ..Common Basic Baking Terms – Part 3My Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Looks devine! Was curious if you are also going to post the whole wheat lemon pound cake recipe? Thanks!
    flynthings´s last blog post ..Nos.tal.giaMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    lovely cake!

  • Kamal
    2 years ago

    Hi Deeba,
    To get this quantity of evaporated milk how much milk do u start with and for how long do u boil ( or simmer) it for?

    • 2 years ago

      Hi Kamal, you have to basically reduce the milk to around half the quantity. I began with about 750ml of full fat milk since I was using low fat cream in the end.
      Simmered for about 45 minutes at least I think. Use a large open saucepan as it evaporates faster, and reduces chances of bubbling over. Hope this helps.

  • 2 years ago

    Very pretty and tempting! That is a cake I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try/bake.



  • 2 years ago

    Such stunning photos! I really enjoyed this challenge and love your “twist” on it :-)
    Habiba´s last blog post ..Pastel de Tres Leches (Daring Bakers September Challenge)My Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Mango is so delicious- great choice!

  • 2 years ago

    mango is so delicious – great choice!
    sandie´s last blog post ..Tres LechesMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    This is delicious. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

  • Ananya
    2 years ago

    Amazing recipe Deeba. One question though, did you whip the gelatin with the low fat cream for the topping? Also, which Indian brand of low fat cream did you use? Amul? TIA

  • lake lady
    3 months ago

    really no baking power or levening. Mine came out at an inch height made it hard to layer. Picture looks like more than a single cut in half for a two layer?

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