Tres Leches Cake

05.03.2017

Tres Leches Cake has got to be one of the worlds 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! 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. 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. Also a Mexican cake is better with Mexican vanilla right? Mexican vanilla actually has quite a different flavor from traditional vanilla so if you can get a hold of some I’d definitely recommend it. I added the link to the one I use in the notes in the recipe if you want to try it.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

This is a cake I save it for special occasions. I absolutely love this cake! And I think I’d have to say this version is even better than what you buy at restaurants! Plus it’s a lot cheaper, why pay $6 – $8 dollars a slice when you can make a full cake at home for nearly that price?

Tres Leches Cake

This is a 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. This recipe are the ratios I’ve found I like. I also like to use cake flour in place of all-purpose flour for a better texture, plus I think it absorbs better. Then I like to use a combo of regular milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream (so I guess this would maybe technically quatro leches) – though you can substitute 1 3/4 cups half and half in place of the 1 1/4 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream. If you celebrate Cinco de Mayo and need a dessert, or if even if you you don’t May 5th is the perfect excuse to make Tres Leches Cake! I hope you love it as much as my family does. You can find me savoring each and every bite!

Tres Leches CakeTres Leches CakeTres Leches Cake

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Tres Leches Cake

Yield: About 15 - 20 slices

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) cake flour
  • 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 real Mexican vanilla*

Milk mixture

  • 1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk (anything but skim)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Topping

  • 2 cups (473ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp real Mexican vanilla
  • Fresh sliced strawberries or cinnamon , for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the cake:
  2. 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.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy (it should appear nearly white. Scape bowl throughout mixing process if you paddle attachment doesn't). 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).
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 24 - 28 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 45 minutes. Once cool pierce cake many times all over with a long-pronged fork.
  5. For the milk mixture:
  6. 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.
  7. For the topping:
  8. 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.
  9. *This cake is best with Mexican vanilla but if you don't want to buy it an already have the regular on hand that may be substituted. If you do buy it be sure to buy one that is 100% vanilla as many of them are imitation. I use this one here
  10. Recipe source: loosely adapted from allrecipes

This post contains affiliate links.

15 comments

  • Priya Shiva: Tres Leches Cake is Awesome ! May 4, 2017 at 1:45am Reply

  • Marye: Good idea ! I really enjoy this cake – since we first tried it – at a bakery! Made many trips to that Bakery!

    Yum. May 4, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

  • Sara @ Last Night’s Feast: Wow this looks amazing! happy Cinco de Mayo!! May 4, 2017 at 11:46am Reply

  • marlene kiley: Will try this yummy cake recipe. Question: Where can I purchase the Usumacinta Pure Mexican Vanilla Extract, 8.4 Ozs. in Canada? May 4, 2017 at 5:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just buy it from Amazon, the same link I added in the recipe :). May 4, 2017 at 8:15pm Reply

  • Juliana Ramsey: This looks amazing, Jaclyn! This cake sounds as good as it looks!! Hope you have a great Cinco De Mayo!! Also how did you get those pretty swirls on the frosting?? Thanks!!
    XOXO May 4, 2017 at 6:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just used the back of a spoon and sort of waved back and forth heading from side to side on an angle (if that makes sense :)). I hope you get a chance to try it soon Juliana! May 4, 2017 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Nancy: I am in the process of making his cake right now. It appears as though it did not rise more than 3/4 of an inch. Is it supposed to be this way? I followed all the instructions and I am a bit concerned. May 7, 2017 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: This cake is short and doesn’t puff up a lot, that is how tres leches is supposed to be. It’s fairly dense so it can hold up well to all the milk mixture. May 7, 2017 at 10:06pm Reply

    • Nancy: Thank you for the reply Jaclyn. We have devoured every last morsel! It is amazing and certainly held up well :-) This is WAAAYYY better than the store bought variety I’ve had before. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us<3 May 9, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

      • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed it Nancy :)! May 10, 2017 at 10:41am Reply

  • Gale LoForti: Do you sift the cake flour first before measuring the amount of cake flour needed. Or do you measure the amount of cake flour then sift the flour? May 13, 2017 at 11:56pm Reply

  • Chanell: Hi there! Okay, so quick question! Most of the recipes I’ve found call for you to separate the eggs, beat the yolks in one bowl, the whites in another, then fold the whites in. I notice that your recipe doesn’t call for us to do that and I wonder, does your cake not rise as much? Strictly asking out of curiosity!

    I’m debating on which recipe to use and your help is so appreciated! Thanks! :) May 28, 2017 at 12:54am Reply

  • karen: Just made this for fathers day ~ and everyone LOVED it! thanks so much for sharing!! June 18, 2017 at 6:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad it was a hit! June 22, 2017 at 10:43am Reply

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