Tres leches cake. This easy to make tender cake is drenched in a three milk mixture, topped with fluffy whipped cream, and can be topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh fruit for a truly authentic Mexican dessert. 

This authentic Tres Leches Cake recipe is simple to recreate. A quick whipping of the egg whites ensures that we get a light airy cake, perfect for soaking up the three milk mixture that will be poured over top. The perfect ending to any meal, especially some Mexican favorites such as: Beef Tacos, Chicken Tacos, or Cheese Enchiladas.

A beautifully cut out slice of tres leches cake, showing the milk pooling at the bottom of the cake.

I’m so excited to share with you one of my all time FAVORITE dessert recipes. This cake is such an easy, yet impressive dessert to make. It is the perfect ending to any meal.

The cake is light and airy, then drenched in a truly decadent mixture of three milks.

After we let the cake soak overnight, we will top with sweet and fluffy whipped cream. The perfect crown for this regal dessert. Whenever my husband and I go out for Tex Mex, or a Mexican meal, I never feel complete without ordering a slice of tres leches cake to take home with me. And y’all, this cake is even better when made at home from scratch, so I’m definitely excited to share this recipe with you today!

Swirls of whipped cream on top of a tres leches cake.

How to make Tres Leches Cake

  1. Prepare the cake batter. This is a simple cake batter that uses one small trick to ensure a light and airy cake. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and take the extra time to whip the egg whites with a little bit of sugar. Fold the egg whites into the batter to create a fluffy cake batter. This helps the cake soak in the milk mixture.
  2. Drench the cake in a 3 milk mixture. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and regular milk in a measuring cup. Poke holes in the cake with a fork. Then pour the milk mixture over the top of the cake.
  3. Cover and chill. This is the point where we need to let the cake soak in all that delicious milk. The cake needs to chill in the fridge and soak for at least 4 hours, I prefer overnight. This ensures the cake soaks up as much of the milk as possible.
  4. Top with whipped cream. After the cake has soaked and you are ready to serve, whip up some heavy cream and spread it over the top of the cake. This tres leches cake doesn’t use frosting, but a light and fluffy whipped cream topping instead. At this point you can give a sprinkle of cinnamon, or top with some fresh fruit if desired right before serving.
A fork poking holes into the top of the baked cake for tres leches cake.

What milks are used in Tres Leches Cake?

The milks used in this tres leches cake recipe are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and regular milk (can be whole milk or 2%). Some recipes will substitute heavy cream or half and half in place of the milk. I don’t find it necessary in this recipe, since it’s decadent enough without it. 

A measuring cup filled with three kinds of milk for a tres leches cake.

How do you store this cake?

Due to the milks in the cake, this cake does need to be stored in the refrigerator. Cover the cake, to help keep in the moisture, and store in the fridge. 

How long does this cake keep?

This cake can be stored in the fridge and saved for up to 4 days. It is best when eaten within the first 48 hours. After the 4 day, the cake does become slightly soggy.

The milk mixture being poured over the top of the tres leches cake.

Can I freeze Tres Leches cake?

Yes!! You can freeze this cake. BUT you can only freeze the actual cake. Before you drench it with the milk mixture. So after the cake has been baked, you can 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.

Cut tres leches cake in a cake pan showing the milk pooling at the bottom of the pan.

More Dessert Recipes To Try:

A slice of tres leches cake, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry with a bite missing.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake. This easy to make tender cake is drenched in a three milk mixture, topped with fluffy whipped cream, and can be topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh fruit for a truly authentic Mexican dessert.
4.67 from 3 votes

Ingredients

Cake Batter

  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup white sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk

Milk Mixture

Whipped Topping

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir together with a fork.
  • In a large bowl combine the egg yolks(separates the egg whites into another medium size bowl), with 3/4 cup of white sugar. Stir together until fluffy.
  • Add in the vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stir to combine.
  • 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.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  • Grease a 9×13 cake pan. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • In a large measuring cup combine the milks needed for the milk mixture. Whisk together.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Serve the cake with a sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh fruit if desired.

Video

Notes

Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, best if eaten within 48 hours. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 302kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Sodium: 182mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 717IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 1mg
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The recipe Tres Leches Cake first appeared on The Recipe Critic.