This authentic Tres Leches Cake is called as such because after it’s baked, you soak the cake with 3 different types of milk! Whole milk, sweetened condensed milk & evaporated milk make this cake super moist, and a whipped cream frosting takes over the top! This is an excellent cake for milk lovers!
So, I’m not a cake person. As a matter of fact, I’m quite an anti-cake person. I seriously considered substituting my wedding cake with a 4 tiered cheesecake, just because I really don’t like cake. I ended up caving just for tradition’s sake, but if you ask me what the cake tasted like, I can’t tell you. It was a gorgeous cake though!
Tres Leches Cake happens to be the only cake I can’t say no to. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s drenched in a mixture of whole milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream? Yeah, I think that’s definitely it. I guess that technically makes it a quatro leches, but who’s counting?!
Want more delicious milk-based dessert recipes? Check out these tasty sweets, also from Delish D’Lites!
- Flan De Coco (Coconut Cream Cheese Flan)
- Arroz Con Dulce (Rice Pudding)
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)
- Natilla (Puerto Rican Custard Dessert)
- Flan De Cafe (Coffee Caramel Flan)
- Sugar Cookie Flan (Flan De Galleta de Azucar)
- Arborio Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche)
Note: This recipe was adapted from the The Pioneer Woman.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup heavy cream
For the icing:
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, add the egg yolks & 3/4 cup of granulated sugar.
Beat the egg yolks until they turn become velvety and pale yellow.
Add in 1/3 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and stir the mixture together.
In another bowl (make sure it’s super clean), add the egg whites. If the bowl has any greasy residue, it could prevent the egg whites from whipping.
Whip the egg whites for a few minutes, until they form soft peaks. Add in 1/4 cup of sugar, then whip the egg whites until they’re very fluffy and form stiff peaks.
Add the egg yolk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Stir the mixture together until it’s just combined.
Then, fold in the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the mixture too much.
Pour the batter into a 9×13″ pan that’s been lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray. I like draping the parchment over the edges of the pan, so that they form “handles”. It makes pulling the cake out super easy.
Smooth out the batter with your spatula.
Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, until it’s golden brown. A good way to check if it’s done is by inserting a clean toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done.
Allow the cake to cool completely, then remove the cake from the pan. Run your knife along the edge of the cake that’s touching the glass, and then use the parchment handles to pull the cake out of the pan.
Place the cooled cake onto a large platter. Don’t worry if the cake tears a bit when you pull it out of the pan, you’re going to cover that up with whipped cream anyway.
Mix up the tres leches mixture by combining 1 can of condensed milk, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Shake it up to combine the mixture.
To make the icing, pour 1 3/4 cups of cold heavy cream into a mixing bowl along with 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Whip the mixture until it’s stiff and fluffy (about 1 minute on high speed). Place the whipped cream in the fridge, you’ll need a little later.
Now to the fun part! Poke a bunch of holes in the cake, using a fork or a toothpik. Then, slowly pour the tres leches mixture over the cooled cake, making sure to douse it evenly. I find that using a basting brush is a good way to work the milk mixture into the edges of the cake. You want to use all but about 1/2 cup of the liquid. Save the rest for serving, if you want. Let the cake soak up the milk mixture for about 30 minutes before frosting it.
Once the cake has absorbed most of the liquid, dollop the whipped cream on top.
Use a spatula to spread the sweetened whipped cream into the cake. You can cover the sides as well, or leave them exposed. It’s really up to you.
Now you’re ready to serve! Just slice up a square, and devour!
Torta De Tres Leches (3 Milks Cake)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 can 12 oz evaporated milk
- 1 can 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Whipped Cream Frosting Ingredients
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
For The Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving flaps on either side of the pan to form “handles”. Spray the parchment with cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff.
Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in a baking rack, then turn cake out onto a rimmed platter.
Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small jar or pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork or toothpick several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture—use a basting brush to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can. Save the remaining 1/2 cup for serving, if you want.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for at least 30 minutes.
For the Whipped Cream:
To ice the cake, whip 1 3/4 cups heavy cream with 1 tsp of vanilla extract & 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar until it's thick and spreadable.
Spread the whipped cream over the surface of the cake. Cut into squares and serve.
Can I make this cake, including the whipped cream frosting, a few hours ahead of time?
I love Whole Food’s Tres Leches, I use to live across the street from a Whole Foods and I would buy it often. I recently moved and the closest one is now 30 minutes away from me, so I decided to try and make my own tres leches. This recipe taste EXACTLY like the Whole Foods one. They’re identical. Delicious! It was so much easier to make than I thought too!
Can this cake be frozen? Would like to make ahead and then frost with whipped cream before serving.
Yes the cake can be frozen prior to soaking with the milk.
Question: what do you do with the remaining .5 cups milk mixture that doesn’t get used?
Recipe sounds great!
I was just wondering if it’s okay to use 1% milk instead of whole milk? My mother’s stomach doesn’t handle whole milk well so I was thinking it could be an alternative.
Yes, you can also substitute with non-dairy milk like almond or coconut.
Is it possible to make this recipe into cupcakes? Thanks!
Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.
Jannese i wanted to tell you that I’m from Florida also. Born in Bradenton in 62. Lived in Fort Myers till 2018 then moved to Indiana. Florida will always be home to me, but I have to be here a little while longer. It’s too hot in Florida anymore, but it’s too cold up here. Lol
I’m going to try this recipe but i have two questions. 1. I’m thinking this cake needs yo be refrigerated after its done.
2. Can this cake be baked in a different size pan. I don’t have room in my fridge for a 13×9 and if it can what would they be and will the time I’m oven be different?
Hi! Yes the cake must be refrigerated. If you change the size of the pan, you can test the doneness of the cake by sticking a toothpick in it and if it comes out clean, then it’s done.
OmG this recipe is amazingggg!!! My family love it! The cake is so soft, and the misture of the 3 milks is so delicious.
Delicious cake! I have made it 3 times now. Super easy too!
I’ve made this twice now. Once for my mom’s 50th birthday, and again tonight because there were no leftovers for me on my moms birthday! So good. The first time I added toasted shredded coconut on top, 2nd time I used coconut milk condensed milk instead of regular. We just love coconut in my family. Love that the recipe is simple and easy to follow. It was a hit with the whole family. Thank you!
OMG! AMAZING Recipe! I have to say I was very scared to make homemade tres leches but this recipe came out perfect and was easy to follow. I was so impressed with the flavor and how big the cake came out. I added some final touches like fruits and this cake was amazing! The whole family was “mmming” the whole time. Sooo good, thank you!
Thank you so much! It’s a family favorite here as well!
Is this cake enough firm to decorate with fondant????
No, unfortunately not.
how many people does this serve
At least 12, depending on how big your slices are.
Hi, can we use cake flour instead of all purpose? And if yes, how much?
Yes you can. It would be the same amount.
Good recipe. But this cake is VENEZUELAN. Not Mexican.
The origin of this tres leches cake is one of the most controversial. The most documented and most recent origin is from Nestlé which began marketing condensed milk in Mexico and Central America and was posting the tres leches cake recipe on the back of the cans around World War II. This commercialization helps to explain the popularity of this recipe in Latin America for the past two generations. A well-documented study by a Texan journalist traces the origins to several sources. The European influence in Latin America is undisputed and tres leches cake was probably originally inspired by desserts like the British trifle, the Portuguese sopa dourada or the Italian tiramisu. The Caribbean has added liquor with their different versions of rum cakes.
I used your recipe for the cake part but did a different icing for the cake and it was big hit at the baby shower for my daughter. The guests all loved it. Thank you
Thank you Lynn!
How much whole milk? It has a question mark by it.
Hi Erin, thanks for asking! I just updated it, it’s 1/3 cup.
Hey Jennese, Ive made this cake so many times and my family love it. Its not too sweet. I do have a question can I use this receipt for cupcakes and if so how long would I leave then in the oven?
I like tres lesche and I also love to bake I will give this a try-:)
Thanks Joan! Enjoy 🙂
I LOVE tres leches cake!! it is my favorite. Im not a baker but i might just have to give this one a try.Thanx
Hi Angelica! I’m not a baker either, but this is totally worth the trouble! So authentic, it tastes just like the tres leches from my fave Latin restaurant! Go for it!
Excellent.!!! I made 3 different recipes and this is the best. I going to save this recipe for the rest of my life. Was perfect and delicious
Thank you so much. ❤
Thank you Martha!