Hispanic Heritage Month Recipe: Nicaraguan Tres Leches | Polk County Moms

Tres Leches is a traditional Nicaraguan dessert. It is a sponge cake soaked in 3 types of milk – condensed, evaporated, and cream. This recipe I am sharing was given to me by my aunt, Vilma who makes the best Tres Leches ever. It is time-consuming but it is also very much worth it.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
  • 1 9×13 baking dish – greased and floured


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer beat the 6 egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Alternate between adding the sugar and egg yolks until they are well incorporated. In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder. In another bowl add the vanilla extract to the milk. On a lower speed alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the eggs. Make sure to begin and end with the flour mixture. Once all ingredients are well incorporated, pour into a baking container and bake at 350 degrees. Length of time will depend but it will roughly be 30 to 40 minutes


How to make the syrup

2 cans of condensed milk
2 cans of evaporated milk
4 egg yolks (egg whites will be used in topping)
Optional – flavoring extract or rum

Beat all ingredients together. Set aside

How to make the meringue:

4 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
½ cup Karo syrup (light only)
¼ cup of water

Add ¼ cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of Karo syrup (light) to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling gradually add one egg white at a time and begin whipping until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Putting it all together:

Once the cake has cooled poke holes throughout the cake and pour the syrup mixture on top. It should be a very wet cake. Then spread the meringue over the top. The meringue should have a soft consistency similar to marshmallow fluff. To decorate add colorful sprinkles and space out sliced maraschino cherries.

Note: This is a very, very, very wet cake. The syrup at the bottom is usually poured over every serving.

*Please note: Consuming raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions. This syrup can be made as directed but without eggs, if you prefer.

Any suggestions or feedback on this recipe?

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