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Tres leches cake 8-min copy

Tres Leches Cake had always sounded rather intimidating to me. A traditional Mexican recipe that required three different kinds of milk? I figured it must be pretty complicated to make. So you can imagine my surprise when I actually read through a Tres Leches recipe and discovered it’s really quite simple. Let me walk you through the process and I think you’ll agree!

Tres leches cake 1-min
Tres leches cake 3-min

You’ll start things off with a basic vanilla or yellow cake recipe. This homemade version is easy to throw together with kitchen staples and has great texture, but you could use a box mix in a pinch. You’ll bake the cake as usual and then pierce the top with a fork all over. These little holes will help the milk mixture seep in and fully absorb into the cake. At this point, you’re going to want to let the cake fully cool to room temperature.

Tres leches cake 4-min
Tres leches cake 9-min
Tres leches cake 5-min

As it cools, you can start on your tres leches, or mixture of three milks. While it might sound fancy, these are milks you’re likely quite familiar with: whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Standard items at nearly every grocery store. The milks get mixed together and then poured over the cooled cake. It might seem like a lot of liquid at first, but give it time and it will all absorb! Once your cake is fully saturated, you’ll top it all off with a layer of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Easy as that, you’ve made a beloved Mexican treat!

Tres leches cake 7-min
Tres leches cake 10-min

Serves 12

30m prep time

30m cook time

Rated 4 out of 5
Rated by 35 reviewers
  • ½ cup butter, 1 stick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, slowly add dry ingredients to the wet.
  4. Transfer batter to the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until an insert toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Pierce the top of the cake with a fork all over and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Pour the milk mixture over the cooled cake and allow time for the liquid to absorb.
  7. In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla together until peaks form. Spread whipped topping over the cake once all the milk has soaked in.
  8. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top if desired. Keep cake refrigerated and serve chilled.

Recipe adapted from

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