Tres Leches Cake

This easy and incredibly delicious tres leches cake is made with a combination of 3 types of milk! A classic Mexican dessert that everyone will love, it is simple, lightly sweet, and refreshing.

The fluffy sponge cake is like a lighter version of angel food cake soaked in a delicious sweetened milk syrup. It’s always the first thing to disappear at potlucks, so I make sure to sneak a piece before the crowd comes.

Topped with fresh whipped cream and your favorite fruit, it’s a crowd pleaser that’s perfect for your Summer get-togethers. My favorite toppings for the warm months are raspberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced peaches! In the colder months, I opt for a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar atop the frosting!

Best of all is that this recipe is made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. If not, the ingredients will cost you less than $8 at the supermarket.

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake (Three Milk Cake)

Before You Get Started Baking:

  • Gather the rest of your ingredients and all tools or equipment before starting so that they’re on-hand for quick preparation.
  • Recipe Yield: 12 Servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Rest Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours

Suggested Equipment

  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • 9” x 13” baking pan
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • 3 Medium mixing bowls
  • Rubber spatula
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients (for the Cake)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (divided into 3⁄4 cup and 1⁄4 cup)
  • 5 large eggs (yolks and whites separated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄3 cup whole milk

Ingredients (for the 3 Milk Syrup)

  • 1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1⁄4 cup whole milkFor the Frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Coat a 9” x 13” pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Separate the eggs into two separate medium-sized bowls.
  5. Add 3⁄4 cup of sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix on high speed using a hand mixeruntil the yolks are pale yellow and creamy.
  6. Add 1⁄3 cup of whole milk and the vanilla extract to the bowl with the egg yolks and stir tocombine. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and fold together only untilcombined. Don’t overmix!
  7. Use the hand mixer to beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks are formed. Whilebeating the egg whites, gradually add the remaining 1⁄4 cup of sugar. This should take between4-5 minutes.
  8. Fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the batter and fold together until fully combined. Besure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl!
  9. Pour the cake batter into the greased baking pan and use a spatula to smooth the batter into aneven, neat layer. Put this into the oven and bake for 25-25 minutes, or until a toothpick shoved into the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake should be lightly browned when it is finished baking and should have a bounce to the touch.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit until it is entirely cooled. The cake will shrink slightly when it cools down. Poke holes into the cake gently using a fork. This will help the syrup mixture soak into the cake.
  11. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk. Slowly pour this mixture over the top of the cake, making sure to cover all the edges and corners.
  12. Put the syrup-coated cake into the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 1 hour. You can let this rest overnight if you have time to spare. The cake will soak up the syrup mixture and become a moist, delicious dessert.
  13. While the cake is resting, make the cake frosting by using your hand mixer to whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed until stiff peaks form and the frosting is thick. This should take between 1-2 minutes.
  14. Spread the frosting over the soaked cake using a spatula. Cover tightly and refrigerate the cake until it is time to serve. Garnish with fruit of your choice before eating!

Tips and Tricks:

  • For optimal baking and perfect cake texture, keep the oven door closed during the cooking time and center the baking tin on the middle rack.
  • Cold eggs will be easier to separate into yolks and whites.
  • Let the baked cake rest at least 30 minutes before poking any holes and pouring the syrupmixture over the top.
  • Bake in a glass casserole dish for the best results. You can serve the cake right out of it!
  • You can freeze the baked cake, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months. It is recommended to freezethe dry cake by itself prior to poking holes or soaking it in the 3-milk syrup. To prepare, thaw the frozen cake base overnight before soaking, then frost, garnish, and enjoy!