5 Top Tres Leches Cakes Around LA

What’s not to love about a really good tres leches cake? Sponge cake drenched in three milks — usually sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream, but some might use whole milk — it’s rich, creamy, comforting and wonderful. Although it’s known more as a Latin American dessert, you’ll find tres leches on a lot of menus these days, from popular wine bars to meat-centric strongholds in the middle of the city. Here are five to try around town, including a few new ones joining the crème de la crème of tres leches cakes.

B.S. Taqueria: When chef Ray Garcia opened his ode to Mexican cuisine, which blends his culinary talents and family recipes, tres leches cake had to be on the menu. He worked with pastry chef Roxana Jullapat (Cooks County) on the recipe, which produces an ethereal cake soaked in three milks and topped with brown sugar meringue and macadamia nuts.

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Esters: The menu for the new wine bar in Santa Monica (in the same building as Cassia) comes courtesy of Rustic Canyon’s Jeremy Fox and chef de cuisine Jun Tan, who also happens to be the pastry chef at Rustic Canyon. Tan is baking fun little cakes in jars, one being tres leches. The jar isn’t just for show: The vanilla cake is baked in the jar and then soaked in condensed milk, whole milk and buttermilk, and topped with soft whipped cream and a touch of nutmeg. The best news is that the wine bar is now open all day, every day, no need to wait until dessert after dinner for this one.

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Animal: While the menu has morphed and changed over time, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s first restaurant on Fairfax has kept a few standards, and thankfully the tres leches cake is one. It’s a simple square of buttery yellow cake soaked in the requisite condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream, with a sweet, creamy icing on top. Instead of a pool of milk, it sits on a swirl of dulce de leche sauce. It’s sweet but it won’t hurt your teeth from being too sugary — and it’s very addictive.

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Milk: The sweet shop is known for its ice cream and meringue ice cream sandwiches, but also for beautiful cookies, brownies, cakes and other confections, including a great version of tres leches. Squares of moist cake layered with pastry cream come drenched in a vanilla bean milk and topped with beautifully piped whipped cream. It also disappears rather fast. Find it at both the original Beverly Boulevard and newer Silver Lake locations.

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Porto’s Bakery: Many birthdays have been sweetly celebrated with a tres leches cake from this Cuban institution. And fighting the lines at the original Glendale, the larger Burbank or the Downey location is fine once you get one of the mini tres leches along with your potato balls. Topped with caramelized meringue, the individual mini cakes are sturdy, not crazy sweet and yet still super decadent.

Source: Zagat