The History of Tres Leches Cake

Written by j. clark
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The History of Tres Leches Cake
(Jeff Kramer: Flickr.com)

The tres leches cake, a sponge cake covered with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk, is a favourite treat at celebrations throughout Central America and, now, the United States. Its origins are difficult to pinpoint, however, with a number of Latin nations---as well as a Swiss food conglomerate---given credit for its creation. "It seems to be like a child with too many fathers," wrote Jacqueline Higuera McMahon of the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Born in Nicaragua?

A number of recipe sources place the origin of the tres leches cake in Nicaragua. "It is thought to have come from Nicaragua by most historians," says What's Cooking America, while What's 4 Eats adds: "The famous cake of three milks ... is believed to have originated in Nicaragua." At Netcooks.com, the cake's entry is listed as "Tres Leches: Originally from Nicaragua." (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/TresLechesCake.htm) (http://www.whats4eats.com/desserts/pastel-de-tres-leches-recipe) (http://www.netcooks.com/recipes/Desserts/Tres.Leches.html)>

However, such attributions come generally in the passive voice and without specific supporting information. While far from conclusive, other, more specific evidence indicates a historical connection to Mexico.

Corporate Connection

European Roots

Variations

From Cake to Ice Cream

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