Milk Tres Leches Cake

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During my travels to Mexico, I was introduced to a cake that immediately became a family favorite. I recall the bustling local market in Oaxaca, where an elderly lady named Rosa sold this delicious dessert. She handed me a slice, and the first bite was a heavenly mix of creaminess and fluffiness. Eager to replicate this culinary masterpiece at home, I scribbled down Rosa’s recipe, and now, I’m sharing it with all of you!

What makes this cake exceptionally memorable is the tale of Rosa’s grandmother who learned the recipe from her neighbors. This dessert was a bridge that connected families and cultures. Every bite tells a story of traditions passed down and the rich blend of ingredients that the Latin American region offers.

What Is Tres Leches?

Originating from Latin America, the Tres Leches cake, translated as ‘Three Milks Cake,’ is a sponge cake soaked with a tantalizing trio of milks. Even though the cake absorbs all the liquid, it retains a light and airy texture, a characteristic that sets it apart from other desserts.

Which Milks Are Used in the Tres Leches Cake?

The allure of the Tres Leches cake is undeniably the three distinct milks that infuse the sponge with their flavors:

  • Regular Whole Milk – The foundational milk which provides the base.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Adds a rich sweetness to the blend.
  • Evaporated Milk – Gives the cake a creamy texture without the watery consistency.

How to Prepare Milk Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients for Milk Tres Leches Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) of evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar (for the whipped topping)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (for the whipped topping)

Directions for Milk Tres Leches Cake

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  3. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients, ensuring a smooth batter forms.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then pierce it generously with a fork.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Drizzle this mixture over the cake, letting it seep into the pierced holes.
  6. In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, the remaining sugar, and vanilla until thick peaks form. Spread this whipped topping over the moistened cake.
  7. Refrigerate the cake for a few hours before serving. This allows the milks to further infuse the sponge and gives the cake a richer taste.

FAQs about Milk Tres Leches Cake

How long can I store the Tres Leches Cake in the fridge?
A well-covered Tres Leches Cake can last in the refrigerator for up to five days. Ensure it’s wrapped tightly to retain its moistness and flavor.

Can I freeze the Tres Leches Cake for later use?
Certainly! But it’s recommended to freeze the sponge cake without the whipped cream topping. When you’re ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator and then apply the whipped cream for a fresh taste.

Are there any variations to the traditional Tres Leches Cake?
Yes! Some people love adding flavors like coconut or chocolate, and others might top it with fresh fruits or cinnamon. The versatility of this cake is one of its charms.

Is Tres Leches Cake suitable for those lactose intolerant?
Given that the primary ingredients are different kinds of milk, it may not be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. However, lactose-free versions of the milk can be experimented with.

What’s the best way to serve Tres Leches Cake?
Chilled! The cake tastes best when served cold, making it a perfect summer dessert.

Can I use skimmed milk instead of whole milk?
While whole milk is traditional, skimmed milk can be used. However, it might slightly alter the cake’s creamy richness.

Why is my Tres Leches Cake too soggy?
It’s crucial to ensure the cake is adequately pierced and given enough time for the milks to soak in. If it’s too soggy, it might have been over-soaked or not allowed to rest long enough.

Do I need to refrigerate the cake immediately after preparation?
Yes, refrigerating allows the milks to permeate the sponge, making the cake moist and flavorful. Plus, it sets the whipped cream topping.

Milk Tres Leches Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 20


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 fluid ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.
  • Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until well blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Pierce cake all over with a fork; let cool to room temperature.
  • Mix whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together in a bowl; pour over the top of the cooled cake and allow to soak in.
  • Whip cream, remaining 1 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until thick. Spread over the top of the filling. Keep cake refrigerated until serving.
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