This authentic Tres Leches Cake recipe is simple to recreate. This light and airy vanilla cake is drizzled with a decadent three milk mixture creating an incredibly moist and tender cake! A tasty, sweet ending to any Mexican or Tex Mex meal.

All about this Tres Leches 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.

  • Sponge Cake: separating the eggs and beating the egg whites allows us to create a light and airy cake that is perfect for soaking up the milks.
  • Perfect Texture: using the perfect amount of milks to pour over the top gives a moist tender cake without being overly soggy.
  • Toppings: switch up the toppings on this cake to include fresh fruit or cinnamon. This allows it to be the perfect dessert for all your Mexican or Tex Mex meals.

Ingredients Needed:

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

How to Make (step-by-step):

How to make tres leches, dry ingredients, and sugar being mixed with egg yolks.
  • Step 1: Prepare the dry ingredients.
  • Step 2: Separate the eggs and mix the egg yolks with sugar to create a thick, creamy mixture.
  • Step 3: Add the vanilla to the wet ingredients.
  • Step 4: Stir the dry ingredients into the wet to create a smooth batter.
Adding vanilla to the wet ingredients. Dry being added and mixed together.
Smooth and creamy batter. Egg whites being whipped to stiff peaks.
  • Step 5: Stir together the wet and dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
  • Step 6: Whisk the egg whites with a stand or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Step 7: Combine the egg whites with the cake batter.
  • Step 8: Mix until batter is smooth.
Stiff egg whites added to the cake batter and mixed until smooth.
Tres Leches cake after being baked, then being poked with a fork and three milks being poured over the top to soak.
  • Step 9: After baking the cake, use a fork to poke into the cake, this helps the milks soak into the cake.
  • Step 10: Evenly pour the milk mixture over the top of the cake.
  • Step 11: Top with fluffy whipped cream, then cover the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Soaked tres leches cake being topped with fluffy whipped cream.

Expert Tips:

  • Eggs: separating the eggs and beating the whites to stiff peaks is what helps this cake get a sponge like texture perfect for soaking up the milk mixture.
  • Soak Time: after the cake bakes it will seem slightly flat, pouring the milks over the top and allowing at least 4 hours of chill time in the refrigerator will allow the cake to soak in all of the milk, expanding the size of the cake and giving a tender, moist bite.
  • Spread Batter Evenly: once you pour the batter into the cake pan, spread the batter into a nice even layer to create a even cake top. This will help the milk pour evenly over the top which helps it to soak evenly into the cake.
Tres Leches cake with slices cut out and being served with strawberries.

FAQ’s:

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. 

How do you store Tres Leches 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 4th day, the cake does become slightly soggy.

Can I freeze Tres Leches?

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.

Homemade tres leches, three milk cake, topped with fresh strawberries.

More Tex Mex Dessert Recipes To Try:

Homemade tres leches, three milk cake, topped with fresh strawberries.

Tres Leches Cake

4.97 from 31 votes
This easy to make Homemade Tres Leches Cake is tender and drenched in a three milk mixture. Topped with fluffy whipped cream and fresh fruit, it can also be topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a truly authentic Mexican dessert treat!

Ingredients

Cake Batter

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

Milk Mixture

Whipped Topping

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

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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: 1, 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
Did you make this recipe?Tag @HouseofYumm on Instagram and hashtag #houseofyumm!

Recipe first published February 5, 2019. Updated April 15, 2022 with new images and information.

Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co