Not the Most Beautiful Cake but Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Let’s cut to the chase; the Tres Leches Cake is not the most beautiful, but it tastes good. Tres Leches means 3 milk, and this cake uses exactly that: 3 different kinds of milk. It’s a great cake to make for Cinco De Mayo, but honestly, you need no excuse to make a cake.

Tres Leches Cake Recipe

What are the 3 kinds of milk?

  • sweetened condensed
  • evaporated
  • whole milk

Essentially it’s a fancier sponge cake that originates from Latin America.

When you first look at a Tres Leches Cake, you might think it “looks too advanced.” It’s actually not as hard as you may believe.

I made a Tres Leches Cake back in high school and in college for extra credit. Well, in high school, my mom mostly made it, and I attempted to help. I was never good at Spanish (I studied so hard, but the language did not come easy).

So a couple of years for our end-of-the-year party, my teacher offered extra credit to anyone who made a dish to bring. Of course, I always took them up on the offer because I needed all of the extra credit I could get. I haven’t had the cake since.

Why make a Tres Leches Cake?

  • Do you want a super sweet cake?
  • Do you like milk? Seriously, you cannot get more milk in a cake than this recipe.
  • Do you want a fun but unique cake that is different from the basic vanilla or chocolate?
  • Do you want a sponge cake but cooler?
  • Finally, the Tres Leches Cake is perfect for Cinco De Mayo.

I think that is enough SEO storytime about a Tres Leches Cake recipe. Because you know, food blogging is all about SEO stories!

Tres Leches Cake Recipe

So with that, let’s dive into the Tres Leches Cake Recipe:

Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Course Dessert



  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 large Eggs (separated)
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup Melted butter

The Tres Leches Topping

  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9 x 13" baking pan with non stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Separate eggs and egg yolks.
  • In a second large bowl beat together egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar. You want the mixture to be stiff but dry. Then beat in vanilla and set aside.
  • In a third large bowl using a hand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Add dry ingredients to yolk mixture and beat together. Once combined, add in milk and melted butter and beat until combined. Gently fold in egg whites until all is combined.
  • Pour batter into greased pan. This will be a more shallow cake than many!
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean. This took exactly 30 minutes.

Tres Leches Topping

  • In a medium bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk, and vanilla.
  • Once the cake has cooled, use a fork to poke holes all over the cake. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake.
  • Cover the tres leches cake and place in refrigerator until all of the mixture is absorbed. This will take an hour but allowing it to absorb overnight is even better.


  • Beat together heavy cream and sugar until whipped cream style frosting is formed.. This takes about 5 minutes. Frost cake and serve.
Keyword cake, dessert

Tres Leches Cake Notes:

  • It’s better to make the cake in advance. Why? It can sit and chill and absorb all of the milk. Like wine, this cake gets better with time. When you first pour in the milk mixture, you might think, “this is a disaster,” but it will absorb. The three times I’ve made this cake, I’ve thought, great, now I have a soup cake. But the magic happens in your refrigerator as it chills.
  • It’s also better served cold. This isn’t your “traditional cake,” so serving cold is better.
  • This is not a looker cake. If you are looking for the most beautiful cake out there or Pinterest worthy, you might need to find another recipe. Kidding…maybe.


It is still one of my favorite cakes, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a unique and easy cake! Making it as an adult 15 years later, I didn’t realize it wasn’t the most complicated cake ever. I just assumed it was because it saved me from failing Spanish class (twice!).

I’ve been finding my recipes on Pinterest, and you can see all of my recipes here.

Tres Leches Cake Recipe me

Questions for you:

How did you celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

Have you had a tres leches cake before? 


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