|Alternative names||Torta de tres leches, pan tres leches, bizcocho de tres leches, pastel de tres leches.|
|Type||Sponge cake (or butter cake)|
|Region or state||Latin America, Caribbean, Southern Europe|
|Main ingredients||Cake base; evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk|
A tres leches cake (lit. 'three milks cake'; Spanish: pastel de tres leches, torta de tres leches or bizcocho de tres leches), also known as pan tres leches (lit. 'three milks bread'), is a sponge cake—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.
When butter is not used, tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.
Tres leches cake is a uniquely traditional Latin American cake.
Recipes for soaked-cake desserts were seen in Mexico as early as the 19th century, likely a result of the large cross-cultural transfer which took place between Europe and the Americas. Nicaragua is one of the countries where tres leches cake has become popular. Recipes appeared on Nestlé condensed milk can labels in the 1940s, which may explain the cake's widely disseminated popularity throughout Latin America as the company had created subsidiaries in Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela in the 1930s. The cake is popular in Central and South America, North America, and many parts of the Caribbean, Canary Islands, as well as in Albania, North Macedonia, and some other parts of Europe.
A variety of tres leches known as trileçe/trileće became popular in the Balkans and Turkey around 2015. One theory is that the popularity of Brazilian soap operas in Albania led local chefs to reverse-engineer the dessert, which then spread to Turkey. The Albanian version is sometimes made literally with three milks: cow's, goat's and water buffalo's, though more commonly a mixture of cow's milk and cream is used.