Turkish Style Tres Leches / Trilece

Trilece Piece

Finally I managed to take a photo of a slice of Tres Leches served. As everyone was so busy eating it, I have not had a chance to take a photo of it for a long time. Here it is as promised.

Some say it is really challenging to prepare. I agree that there are things you must be careful about, but there are no surprises really if you follow all the steps and be a bit patient about the caramel.

I will not comment about the origins of the dessert about which continent or country it is originated from.  However I am pretty sure that it came to Turkey from Albany. There are so many people that are from Albany origin living in Turkey; that this can have no question about it. This dessert has become very popular in Turkey recently. I suspect some celebrity had it on tv and suddenly it is in every house and in every restaurant’s menu. 

Here is my tested, tried, approved recipe for it.

To start with you need to separate egg whites and yolks. 5 eggs are needed. I have to confess my 13 year old son has taught me this very practical method. First I resisted, but then it is so much fun and so easy, that I always use this method now. You take a small sized plastic bottle, squeeze it slightly and when you remove the pressure it swallows the egg yolk in. There you have the egg yolk separated.

Egg Separating Egg Yolk Separated Egg Yolk

Now all you need to do is add a pinch of salt to the egg yolks and mix with a mixer until it becomes a thick white foam. The rule is if you turn the bowl upside down and the foam doesn’t spill; it is ready. I am not that courageous, so I just bend the bowl slightly if the foam stays still, it is enough for me.

Whitened egg yolkThen add a glass of sugar to the egg whites, mix shortly. Finally add the already slightly whisked egg yolks and add to the egg whites. Mix again with an electrical mixer very shortly. Now you can set aside the electrical mixer and take a wooden spatula in your hand – you will not use the mixer again as you wouldn’t want the fluffiness of the egg whites go away.

When you add the flour and the remaining ingredients make sure that you mix only as much as necessary to mix the flour. Try to mix softly moving the spatula from bottom to top. When the mixture is smooth pour it into your oven dish. It will not be a too liquid mixture, so you might need to shake it slightly to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Then put it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 160 degrees Celcius. It is important that you do not under or over cook. Check with a toothpick whether the cake is ready. When you dip the toothpick in the cake and the tooth pick comes out clean; it means that the cake is cooked.

The cake

The cake will be a very light one. So if you choose you can even have it as a cake. If you choose to make the dessert; then cut the cake to small square and make at least 4 little hole with a tooth pick in every square.

The milky mixture is not cooked. You just mix all the ingredients and mix until the milk is bubbly. When the cake is slightly cooled pour it gently all over the cake. Try not to pour the bubbles though.  It might seem too much, but the cake will quickly absorb it all. Then it will be a milky cake. When you cut to serve there will be milk in the bottom, and this is how it should be.

When you put the cake to the oven, it is about the right time to start with the caramel. It needs patience and time. The more you wait and mix, the better result you will get. First start with the sugar and the butter. Put them in a skillet over low heat. Keep this as it is – without mixing until the sugar melts totally. Then add cream and milk, while mixing quickly. The sugar might harden at this stage. Do not worry it gradually melts again.  Continue almost continuously after you add the cream and milk until you obtain a smooth caramel texture.

Melting the Sugar and Butter Adding Cream and Milk Caramel


When the cake has absorbed the milky mixture you are ready to pour the caramel on top. If there are milky bubbles on top of the cake, either just pat or clean them away with gently with your hand before pouring the caramel. There, your dessert is ready to serve.

Turkish Tres Leches

Put the dessert into the fridge and serve cold. Some prefer to serve the caramel warm at the very last moment. That is with a cold milk cake with warm caramel sauce. Totally up to you. Enjoy.

Turkish Style Tres Leches / Trileçe
Print Recipe
Very milk, light dessert.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Turkish Style Tres Leches / Trileçe
Print Recipe
Very milk, light dessert.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
The cake
For the milky mixture
For the caramel sauce
Servings: servings
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Lightly butter a baking dish.
  2. Separate the egg whites and yolks. Put the whites is a large mixing bowl. The yolks in a smaller one.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Mix using a mixer until you obtain a snow-like thick mixture.
  4. Add the sugar add mix again with a mixer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Mix the egg yolks in a separate bowl with a mixer. Then add the egg yolks to the egg whites slowly and while mixing with the mixer.
  6. First sieve the flour, baking powder and the vanilia in a separate bowl. Then slowly add to the eggs, while mixing with a wooden spoon this time. Mix from bottom to top, try not to loose the fluffiness.
  7. When you obtain a smooth mixture, pour it into the baking dish. Pour the mixture to the oven dish make sure the mixture is spread to the dish evenly. It may be necessary to shake slightly to make it even.
  8. Cook until the cake is cooked. Check with a tooth pick. When you dip it in and out of the cake and the tooth pick comes out clean; it means that the cake is cooked. It will take about 40 minutes.
  1. It takes quite some time for the sugar to be caramelized; so as soon as you put the cake in the oven you can start preparing the caramel.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a skillet. Wait paitently, over low heat, without mixing, until these become a brown mixture. Once the sugar has melted you can mix.
  3. Add the milk and the cream slowly, while mixing really fast. At this stage the sugar might turn stiff, don’t worry it will melt again. Mix until you obtain a caramel texture. You need to be patient for this, it does take time, but eventually your effort will pay off.
  4. When the caramel and the cake is ready, pour it on top of the cake evenly. You might want to pour it on the cake just before serving, having the cake cold and the caramel warm is very fancy, but not a must.
Milky Mixture
  1. In a deep bowl mix the milk and the milk powder until they are bubbly.
  2. Add the cream and mix for another 2 minutes.
  3. This mixture is not cooked.
  1. When the cake cools; cut the cake to serving size squares. Also make about 4 holes in each square with a tooth pick.
  2. Then pour the milky mixture evenly on all the cake. The cake will completely absorb the milky mixture very quickly.
  3. Most probably there will be bubbles left on top of the cake. When all the milky mixture is absorbed. Pat them down with a spoon or similar. If there are still some remaining, clean them away gently with your hand.
  4. Pour the caramel on top to cover all the cake. Serve cold.
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Posted in Desserts, Quick / Easy
20 comments on “Turkish Style Tres Leches / Trilece
  1. Marijana says:

    You have a very nice collection of recipes and some great ones too. Let me just correct you re Tres Leches if I may..Tres Leches is not albanian by any means,it is from Latin America as its names also can tell. I know in Turkey everybody all of a sudden says it comes from albania or elsewhere in balkans, they even changed the name to ‘tri leche’ so funny:)The reason people think it came form albani is because it is true it got popular there first due to latin telenovelas on tv:) And original tres leches has an ingredient – condensed milk that makes it so special, it is very difficult to find it in Turkey so the tow cakes are very different. Just thought you might want to know..keep up the great work!

    • Nese Yurtcu says:

      Dear Marijana, Thank you for your comment. Yes I believe it is from Latin America, but when there is something really delicious everybody claims it their own-and I am trying to keep away from that. That is why I just said it has come to Turkey from Albania as it is very popular there also and it it closer to Turkey. Thank you for all your support, keep following. Warm regards.

    • Sara says:

      In fact it is really called tri leche because it comes from Italian not Latin America

  2. Manuela de Castro says:

    I am going to try to bake this soon as I recently tried it in Turkey and loved it! Just a quick question – which cream do you use? is it single or double? The vanilla you use, is it vanilla extract or essence? and is your oven on fan assisted oven at 160 or not? I look forward to hearing from you!
    Kind regards

    • Nese Yurtcu says:

      If you are still in Turkey, I used SEK branded cream. On the package it is written that it is an UHT Cream, 200 Ml. In 100 ML, it has 335/1400 kcal/kj, Protein is 2, Fat 35, Carbonhydrate 3. I used powder vanilla with sugar Dr Oetker. A pack contains 10 gram. My oven is turbo at 160 Celcius degrees. Please let me know how it turnes out. Warm regards, Nese

  3. Juli says:

    Thank you Nese for this recipe! This looks really delicious – must try it soon. Best wishes from the Netherlands!

  4. María Uhlmann says:

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes!?

  5. Alaa says:

    Thanks so much darling! It really looks so yummy. I’ve been looking for a recipe for the treliche because my sister ate it when she was in a visit to Turkey and she loved it.. I’m gonna make yours but can you please write the ingredients in cups not grams.. Thank you so much.

    • Nese Yurtcu says:

      Hi Alaa, pleased that you will try my recipe. Here are the ingredients with cups. Enjoy. Warm regards, Nese
      The cake
      • 5 eggs medium
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 3/4 cups Flour
      • 1 table spoon vanillin 2 packets
      • ½ tea spoon baking powder
      • 1 pinch salt
      • 1 tea spoon butter to grease the oven dish
      For the milky mixture
      • 3 cups milk
      • A bit less than 1 + 3/4 cream
      • 150 g milk powder
      For the caramel sauce
      • ½ cup brown sugar
      • 1 tea spoon butter
      • A bit more than 3/4 cup cream
      • ½ cup milk

  6. Wanda says:

    We ate something similar at the local Turkish Center and I wanted to duplicate it.
    Your recipe is even better than the one we ate!
    Your instructions are clear and this is delicious!

  7. Meshel says:

    I have been using your trilece recipe for the past year and it always comes out delicious. thanks so much

  8. George says:

    Hi from Greece! First of all i would like to thank you for sharing your recipe. It has clear and accurate instructions, and as a result it is very easy to cook.
    I ate this delicious dessert during my last visit in Instabul, and I was looking forward to taste it again, so yesterday i gave it a shoot.
    The final result was very close to what i expected, so definitelly your recipe is great! To be honest, something went wrong with the amount of the vanillin i used, and the cake went a little bitter than it had to. Next time i will add less. I will, also try another type of sugar, because the final colour of the caramel was rather light-brown, than dark-brown as shown on the pictures above.
    Thank you again and keep the good work!

  9. Natasha says:

    Recently we travelled to Istanbul and a friend said we must try trileche at Hajji Mustapha. My husband fell in love with it and has been nagging for me to find a recipe and try it. Last saturday we visited our local Turkish restaurant and had some but it wasnt anything like we ate in Istanbul. So on Sunday I tried your recipe and it was amazing. Almost as good as the one from Hajji Mustapha. Thank you for sharing

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