tres leche cake

Tres Leche Cake

It was love at first bite when I tasted tres leche cake last year.  Have you tried this cake?  It is so good!

It’s a sponge cake with a glaze of three types of milk (hence the name tres leche cake).  The glaze soaks in and makes the cake amazingly delicious.  Then it’s topped with a whipped cream frosting.  Yum!

Tres Leche Cake recipe

Since tres leche cake is from Latin America, it makes sense that I first tried it while I was away on a business trip in the southwest.  My immediate reaction was that I wanted to learn how to bake it for my family because they would love it too.  But I had my doubts about my ability to make it.  This cake was so good that I thought it was probably super complicated.

Fortunately, when I looked for a recipe, it appeared easier to make than I had imagined.  I landed on a recipe from the Food Network’s Alton Brown and decided to give it a try.

I’m so glad I can make this cake for my family now.  It quickly became my hubby’s favorite dessert.  He asked for it as his birthday cake this year.

I adapted the recipe from Alton Brown’s version since his measures the ingredients by weight (ounces), and I’m used to measuring by volume (cups).  Here’s the recipe I use.

Tres Leche Cake
For cake
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher (coarse-grained) salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
For glaze
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or use whole milk)
For whipped cream topping
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use a 13x9 pan and lightly oil and flour the bottom, then set aside.
  3. Combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside.
  4. Use a mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer) to beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy.
  5. Add the sugar for the cake gradually, mixing on low speed.
  6. Add the eggs, mixing them in one at a time.
  7. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  8. Add the flour mixture in three batches, just until combined.
  9. Spread the batter evenly in the cake pan. (It will appear to be a small amount of batter.)
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. The cake should be lightly golden and should pass the toothpick test. (A toothpick inserted in the middle and pulled back out should not have batter on it when it's removed.)
  11. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then poke small holes all over the top of the cake using a toothpick, skewer, or fork.
  12. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and half-and-half. (Whisk together in a large measuring cup or bowl with a pour spout so the glaze is easy to pour onto the cake.)
  13. When the cake has cooled, but is still warm, pour the glaze over the cake and let it soak in. It's best to pour it over in a few batches, letting the glaze absorb before adding more. Stop adding the glaze when the cake stops absorbing it. (About ½ cup of glaze may be left - discard leftover glaze.)
  14. Make the whipped topping by mixing the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together on low, then increasing to medium speed after it begins to form peaks. Continue mixing until thick. Spread the whipped topping on the cake after it has cooled completely.
  15. Serve after the cake has had several hours for the glaze to soak in. Use fresh fruit as a garnish on top if desired.
  16. Store the cake in the refrigerator.
This cake stays in the pan since it has a milk glaze that absorbs into the cake, and it must be stored in the refrigerator, so a cake pan with a lid is ideal.
When adding the glaze, the cake may seem soggy if all of the tres leches glaze mixture is used. Be sure to stop adding the glaze when the cake stops absorbing it. Don't force all of the glaze onto the cake.

Tres leche cake is a yummy dessert for any occasion.  It’s great with strawberries on top as a garnish.  Enjoy!

This tres leche cake recipe is linked up at some of these link parties.

21 thoughts on “Tres Leche Cake

  1. AvatarStephanie

    This looks delicious! I would love for you share it on my Tasty Tuesday recipe link up here! Everything gets pinned and I would love to have you!

  2. AvatarKim Anderson

    This is my most favorite dessert in the whole world. I always feel like I have to go to the local cuban restaurant to get a slice but since I love DIY projects and recipes I’m going to have to try this one out. Thanks for sharing!

    1. LisaLisa Post author

      It’s great to have a whole pan and not be limited to just the slice at the restaurant! I have to remind myself not to eat too much since this isn’t a low-calorie dessert. :)

  3. AvatarNatashalh

    My (Cuban) fiance is always asking me to make tres leche, but I never do. I know he would eat all of it at once and then complain about how he’d just eaten too much! Some day I’ll have to give in, though.

  4. AvatarStephanie

    Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again next week!

  5. AvatarKaty @ Purposely Frugal

    Mmmm! My Mexican friends always make this for celebrations and it’s one of my favorite cakes ever!

  6. AvatarWinnie

    It looks DELICIOUS !!
    I’ve never made tres-leche-cake, and actually never tasted it
    I’d looooooove to :)

  7. AvatarShanice

    Yum! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams , starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

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  11. AvatarShanice

    Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream’s City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

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