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This Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is a fun and flavorful twist on the classic! A light and airy chocolate sponge cake is soaked in a chocolate three milk mixture and topped with swirls of chocolate whipped cream.

Slice of chocolate tres leches cake served on a plate with a bite taken out.


 

Why we love this Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

This easy to make chocolate cake is perfect for serving up at birthday parties or Cinco de Mayo. It’s also a wonderful complement to your favorite Mexican over Tex Mex dinner. This chocolate version is a take on our Tres Leches cake, which always receives rave reviews!

  • Texture: airy sponge cake with just the right amount of milks leave you with a moist, tender cake that isn’t soggy.
  • Flavor: we’re incorporating chocolate at every level of this cake recipe to leave no doubt in your taste buds that this is a chocolate cake! From the cake to the milks to the whipped cream topping and the garnish on top.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make a chocolate tres leches cake laid out on the counter.

One of the highlights of this recipe is the airy sponge cake. This cake is extra airy to help it soak in all the milks that will be poured over the top. Whipping the egg whites is crucial to obtaining the perfect texture to this cake!

  • All purpose flour
  • White sugar
  • Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Powder
  • Milk
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs

Whats in the signature 3 milk mixture?

This cake is called Tres Leches due to the signature 3 milk mixture that is poured over the top! While you will see recipes call for different types of milks, the classic combination is made of:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Heavy Cream

And for this particular cake we are adding some of the cocoa powder to make a dreamy chocolate milk.

Chocolate milk mixture to pour over the cake.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

The cake is topped with decadent luscious swirls of fluffy chocolate whipped cream. Making homemade whipped cream is quick and easy. It can be done by hand if needed, but I recommend using a stand or hand mixer to make the process easier. The chocolate whipped cream only requires:

  • Heavy Cream
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

How to Make

Cake batter being mixed and chocolate being added.
Whipped egg whites, then egg whites added to a chocolate cake batter.
  1. Divide the eggs, combine the egg yolks with sugar and vanilla.
  2. Add in the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder. Then add milk, stir to combine.
  3. Whip the egg whites with a hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the whipped egg whites to the cake batter. Be gentle when folding in the whites since this is what will give our cake a light and airy texture.
Chocolate sponge cake with holes poked from a fork, then chocolate milk being poured over top.
  1. After the cake has baked and cooled, poke holes all over the surface, this allows the milk to soak into the cake.
  2. Pour the chocolate milk mixture over the top.
  3. Cover and let the cake chill for several hours or overnight.
  4. Top the cake with homemade chocolate whipped cream mixture made of heavy cream, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
Soaked chocolate cake, then a bowl of chocolate whipped cream.

Make Ahead & Storage

  • Make Ahead: this cake does need time to soak, and is best prepared the day before serving. However, if you need to prepare it more in advance the cake can be caked and stored covered at room temperature for up to 2 days before soaking and topping.
  • Storage: Due to the milks in the cake, this cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 4 days. However, this cake is best enjoyed within the first 48 hours.
  • Freezing: You can freeze this cake. BUT you can only freeze the actual cakeBefore you drench it with the milk mixture. So after the cake has been baked, freeze it like you would any cake. Then when you are ready to use, bring to room temperature, drench with the milks, let it soak overnight, then top with the whipped cream.
Plates of chocolate tres leches cake on plates.

More Mexican Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 16
Author: Serene
Tender and moist this fun, flavorful Chocolate Tres Leches is easy to make and always gets rave reviews!
Slice of chocolate tres leches cake on a plate.

Ingredients 
 

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour 98g
  • ½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (Dark cocoa powder) 60g
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 10g
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 2g
  • 5 large eggs divided
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk

3 Milk Mixture

  • 2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder 15g
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • cup whole milk

Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder 15g

Garnish

  • 1 ounce dark chocolate finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium size bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir together with a fork.
  • Separate the eggs, whites in a medium size mixing bowl and yolks in a large mixing bowl. Combine the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar, stir together until fluffy.
  • Add in the vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stir to combine, will be dry
  • Add in the milk. Stir to mix.
  • Whisk the egg whites with a hand or stand mixer, once the egg whites start getting foamy and white in color add in the last 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue whisking or mixing on high speed until smooth, white, and stiff peaks form, approximately 10 minutes. 
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  • Grease a 9×13 cake pan. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • In a large measuring cup combine the milks and cocoa powder needed for the milk mixture. Whisk together. (sift the cocoa powder to make this easier)
  • When the cake is cooled to room temperature. Poke all over the top with a fork. Then pour the milk mixture over the entire cake. (if there are lumps of cocoa powder in the milk mixture, you can pour the milks through a fine metal strainer as you pour over the cake). 
  • Cover the cake and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  • After the cake has chilled and soaked in the milks, prepare the whipped cream. Add the heavy cream to a large mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until cream starts to thicken, then add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Continue mixing on medium to high speed until soft peaks form.
  • Spoon the whipped cream onto the cake, spread with a spatula or butter knife.
  • Top with finely chopped chocolate. 
  • Keep cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Cake is best served cold. 

Notes

  • Dutch Process Cocoa: this is a dark cocoa powder and will give a darker color to the cake and also more chocolate flavoring. 
  • Make Ahead: if you need to prepare it more in advance the cake can be baked and stored covered at room temperature for up to 2 days before soaking and topping.
  • Storage: Due to the milks in the cake, this cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 4 days. However, this cake is best enjoyed within the first 48 hours.
  • Freezing: only freeze the actual cake. Before you drench it with the milk mixture. After baking, wrap the cake and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use, bring to room temperature, drench with the milks, let it soak overnight, then top with the whipped cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 539IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Photography by the talented KJandCompany.co


Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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