Tres Leches Cake is one of my favorite Mexican desserts! It’s a deliciously rich and moist, milk-soaked cake that always gets compliments every time I make it. It’s sweet and refreshing, and even picky eaters love this Mexican cake!
The Best Tres Leches Cake Recipe!
Tres Leches Cake has got to be one of the world’s best kinds of cake! Mabye I’m just biased because I’m a huge fan of sweetened condensed milk and cream, and you get both in this cake. If you’ve never had Tres Leches Cake, now is the time to make it!
It’s a perfectly rich, sweet, satisfying cake and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. If you search for recipes on the web, you’ll find about half contain one stick of butter the other half container no butter. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
That’s just offensive. I’m totally kidding, but when there’s a choice I say butter all the way! Butter makes everything better. It adds a wonderful richness and flavor.
This is an authentic Mexican cake I save for special occasions. I absolutely love it! And I think I’d have to say this version is even better than what you buy at Mexican restaurants.
This is an easy cake recipe I’ve been meaning to share for the last few years every time Cinco de Mayo rolls around, but somehow I always get caught up with other things and seem to forget. So, I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten around to sharing it, and just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
Another thing I love about making tres leches cake at home is that it’s a lot cheaper. Why pay $8 dollars a slice when you can make a full cake at home for practically the same price?
What Does “Tres Leches” Mean?
The spanish words “Tres leches” translates to “three milks,” so it’s just a simple (dry) cake, which is baked then soaked in a generous milk mixture.
Tres Leches Cake Ingredients
- Cake flour – base
- Baking powder – leavener
- Unsalted butter, vanilla (regular or real Mexican), salt – flavor
- Granulated sugar – sweetener
- Eggs – binding and lift
- Sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, milk – moisture and richness
How to Make Tres Leches Cake
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter a baking dish.
- Sift cake flour and whisk in baking powder and salt.
- In an electric mixer cream butter with sugar until fluffy.
- Mix in eggs (1 at a time) and vanilla.
- Blend in flour in additions.
- Spread in pan and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Cool.
- Poke cake all over with fork.
- Blend milks (only using 1/2 cup cream), pour over cake.
- Chill 12 hours so it has time to absorb milks.
- Top with sweetened whipped cream.
What Type of Milk Should I Use?
Any dairy milk other than skim will work. You don’t want to use skim milk because it’s fat-free, meaning it’s not as rich and has less flavor.
Can I Substitute All-Purpose Flour?
Cake flour is best for this tres leches cake recipe, as it offers a better texture and more absorption.
Do I Have to Use All Three Types of Milk?
Yes, it wouldn’t be three milk cake otherwise! The three types of milk work together to create a sweet, moist cake. You need all three to create the perfect tres leches cake.
Tips for the Best Tres Leches Cake
- Don’t skip the 12 hour soaking time. Otherwise the cake won’t be the same.
- Keep it cold. This cake is always best served well chilled, plus those milks need to be refrigerated anyway.
- Top with fresh strawberries or cinnamon for even more deliciousness!
More Mexican Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Cheater Fried Ice Cream
- Mexican Wedding Cookies (AKA Snowballs)
- Churro Bites
- Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)
Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake is one of the best Mexican desserts! It a deliciously rich and moist, milk soaked cake that always gets compliments every time I make it. It's sweet and refreshing and even picky eaters love this tempting cake!
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) cake flour* (scoop and level to measure)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups (295ml) milk (anything but skim)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 2 cups (473ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Fresh sliced strawberries or cinnamon, for garnish
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, set aside.
Sift cake flour into a medium mixing bowl. Add in baking powder and salt and whisk 20 seconds, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy.
Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until well combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Add in flour in 3 additions mixing just until combined after each addition. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer and scape down sides and bottom of bowl and fold until evenly incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer (it will seem like a thin layer).
Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 24 - 28 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, about 45 minutes. Once cool pierce cake many times all over with a long-pronged fork.
For the milk mixture: In a large mixing bowl whisk together milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, the sweetened condensed milk and the evaporated milk until blended.
Pour evenly over cake then cover and chill at least 12 hours** or up to 2 days.
For the topping: In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer (or using the stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment) whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Add in sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread over chilled cake.
Cut cake into slices and serve cold garnished with strawberries or dust with cinnamon if desired. Store cake in refrigerator.
- Cake flour offers a better texture here and better absorption. You can generally find it by the all-purpose flour in the baking isle.
- Be sure to allow at least 12 hours for the milks to soak into the cake otherwise it won't have enough time to soak in.
- Recipe source: loosely adapted from allrecipes.