Colombian Christmas Cake : Tres Leche Navideno

Spending time away from home at Christmas can be hard, and when I was living in Colombia I wanted to bring as much of Colombian culture as I could into my own Colombian Christmas. Sitting with my amigas I asked what is a traditional recipe that signifies Christmas in Colombia to them, like Christmas pudding at home to me. One answer that I always received, and a recipe that most families make, was Tres Leches, or Three Milk Cake.

Tres Leches is so named for the three different milk products used: sweetened condensed milk, thickened cream and evaporated milk.

This cake, my version, is not exactly the same as a lot of varieties I have tried but it does hold true to the principal of Tres Leches, which is a moist, milky cake. The trick is to not to over soak the cake in the milk mixture or it will become mushy and fall apart.

Tres Leche Navideno

Ingredients:

The Cake:
6 eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Three Milk Mixture:
1 can of condensed milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 can evaporated milk
Flavouring i.e. Vanilla extract, Amaretto, or anything else you like.

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Beat the egg whites until stiff with the salt then add ¼ cup of sugar, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the other ¼ cup sugar. Then add to the egg yolks the sifted flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. Finally, add the beaten egg whites. to the mix.

Pour the mixture into a large, greased, and bake for twenty minutes or until light brown.

Pour the mixture into a large, greased, cake tin and bake for about half an hour or as I did into two smaller ones and bake at 170 degrees (fan-forced) for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Three Milk Mixture:

Mix the milks, and any flavourings, together.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, allow to cool and then poke with forks over the top of the cake.

Slowly pour the milk mixture over the top allowing the mixture to soak into the cake. When about half the mixture has soaked through cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

To Serve:

Serve chilled and dress the cake either in the traditional way, with whipped cream, or alternatively cover with fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries or anything else that takes your fancy.

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