I came across tres leches cake when I was looking for a dessert to serve after mole poblano. However, I decided against it and made a passionfruit cheesecake instead. Because it is a cake, I thought it wouldn’t be puddingy enough. But I was wrong, it’s incredibly sweet, creamy and rich, the best way I feel I can describe it is that it is like condensed milk in cake form. With cream on top. So yeah, pretty pudding-like. I’m glad I did make it in the end, even if it wasn’t for any particular occasion.
It’s an interesting recipe. You make a cake, similar to a chiffon cake, as it is lightened by beaten egg whites. The cake also doesn’t contain any butter or oil, which was a new thing to me. Once it is cool, you pour over a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream, in stages, so it gets a chance to fully sink in, then leave to absorb. Top with softly whipped, sweetened cream and maraschino cherries, and there you have it. It definitely tasted better after a night in the fridge, it had firmed up somewhat- although it was still good right away. It also kind of reminds me of Indian desserts- very sweet and milky. Which has lead me to think a version with rosewater and cardamom as flavourings would be delicious, if inauthentic.
There are loads of recipes for this, I used this one (scroll to the bottom for the recipe). I also added the optional splash of rum to the milks, which I liked- I think it stopped it from being too much like nursery food. Some other recipes suggested Triple Sec instead, which might be nice, although I think I would prefer the deeper taste of a spirit. I was a bit concerned about the quantities of evaporated and condensed milk- this recipe just refers to ‘a can’ of each, and as it is an American site, sizes of can could well vary. Doing a bit of research, the quantities of these should be about the same, so I used a 410g tin of evaporated milk, a 397g of condensed milk, and the specified ¼ cup of cream. It made slightly more than my cake would absorb, but it tasted great.