For the Cake
- 6 Large Eggs
- 300g Sugar
- 400g Flour
- 2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
For the Milk
- 1.5 Pints Milk
- 410g Evaporated Milk
- 400g Double Cream
For the Caramel
- 450g Sugar
- 120ml Water
- 50g Cornflour
- 240g Butter
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
Albania is known for it’s honey or sugar soaked desserts and this Albanian three milk cake is a very welcoming difference. Soft, sweet and milky, refreshing all year round. I enjoy making it, although this Albanian dessert recipe can be really challenging to prepare. If you follow my step by step guides and be patient about the caramel, the outcome is delightful.
It is a traditional Albanian dessert that has spread all over Europe, celebrity chefs are releasing their own versions of it and I’ve often heard it being reference to ‘a Balkan cake of mystery’. At a guess this is due to the different combinations of milk that can be used and the real unknown certainty of where the dessert recipe really did originate from.
After being taken from Albania to Turkey it became a popular dessert in Turkey and Istanbul with a big craze picking back up for it in 2014, all restaurants and cafes had it on offer.
The traditional recipe for the Albanian Trilece dessert goes back as far as the Ottaman era, if not further and was made with three milks: Goats milk, Cow’s milk and Buffalo milk. Today, the three milk cake recipe is more commonly a mixture of cow’s milk and cream.
My recipe uses two milks and a cream, back in Albania we make our own cream which is just as nice!
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line the bottom of a baking tin with grease proof paper and butter the edges. The best size is 30x20cm and about 6-8cm deep (minimum).
Prepare the Cake
Split the Eggs into yolks and egg whites and then in a mixing bowl whisk the egg whites until soft white peaks are formed. A good way to test is to turn the bowl upside down to ensure the mixture holds.
While whisking add the sugar bit by bit until it is all mixed in and the mixture has become a soft, smooth, shiny white texture.
Whisk in one at a time the egg yolks. The mixture should become yellow/orangish in colour.
Gently mix in the vanilla essence.
Sieve the flour and baking soda into the mixing bowl. Fold the mixture quickly but gently until a batter is form - this will be quick thick and sticky.
Pour into the baking tin and smooth out - tap the tin to help it flatten. Place in the oven for 25 minutes and teh cake should be a golden brown when removed. Place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes and keep the baking tin to one side.
Prepare the Milk Coating
Once the cake has cooled give the milk, evaporated milk and double cream a quick mix together in a bowl.
Pierce small wholes all over the bottom of the cake with a skewer. Pour half the milk into the original baking tin and place the cake back in.
Pierce small wholes all over the top of the cake with a skewer and then pour the rest of the milk over the top. Place the cake in the fridge for 2 hours.
Prepare the Caramel
Pour the sugar into a saucepan and leave to melt over a gentle heat. While melting, mix the cornflour with some water to form a thick mixture and leave to one side. Once the sugar starts to melt you can stir a couple of times. Once it is fully melted, stir gently until it becomes a dark golden brown in colour.
Remove the melted sugar off the heat and add the water and stir - careful this will spit hot liquid everywhere. I always do this in the garden on an old towel - to do it this way ensure everything is set up so you can get to the towel and back to the heat quickly.
Place back on the heat and add the butter and cornflour. Mix continuously until the butter is fully melted.
Add the salt to the caramel and mix for a few more seconds. Pour immediately over the cake and leave to rest for 10 minutes before placing back in the fridge for an hour.
Before serving, slice the cake into 16 slices and serve in a sallow bowl or plate with rims. As you put your spoon into the cake the milk will squirt out, then the rest of the cake will soak it back in again!