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Creamy tres leches cake recipe

Creamy tres leches cake recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Traybakes
  • Cake traybakes

Tres leches cake just got creamier with this stunning traybake cake. Soft, airy cake is lovingly saturated with a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and coconut milk (hence the "tres leches", three milk). Great for special occasions like birthdays, but allow plenty of time for the cake to soak and chill in the fridge.

Hampshire, England, UK

11 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 (397g) tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 170ml evaporated milk
  • 120ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 350ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 110g sweetened desiccated coconut flakes (optional)

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:4hr chilling › Ready in:5hr

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas 3. Grease a 33x23cm Swiss roll tin.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the caster sugar together until pale and creamy. Carefully, fold a third of the whites into the yolk to add some air, then continue adding the rest of the whites taking care not to overmix. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold in until no evidence of the flour remains. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  3. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until firm and golden brown on top.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the three milks and the rum together until well combined.
  5. Remove cake from the oven and poke lots of little holes in the cake with a skewer. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin. Do not remove the cake from the tin.
  6. Once cooled, pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake and allow to cool fully to room temperature. Cover with cling film then place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours, or overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, remove the cake from the fridge and whip the double cream, icing sugar and coconut together until thick. Either spread on top of the cake in the tin to slice and serve, or add a few dollops onto a slice once plated. Enjoy!

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract beat well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.

Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.

Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Recipe Summary

  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • Fluffy Frosting
  • Garnish: grated lemon rind

Beat egg yolks, butter, and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until mixture is creamy.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg yolk mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites until stiff fold gently into batter. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pierce top of cake several times with a small wooden skewer. Stir together condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream gradually pour and spread over warm cake. (Pour about 1/4 cup at a time, allowing mixture to soak into cake before pouring more.) Let stand 2 hours cover and chill overnight, if desired. Spread top of cake with Fluffy Frosting before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Tricks to Perfect Tres Leches: Use tips from Test Kitchens Director Lyda Jones Burnette to make this cake turn out perfectly.

* Let the cake cool in the pan 10 minutes after removing it from the oven.

* While it's still warm, poke holes in the cake with a wooden pick or skewer.

* Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake--about 1/4 cup at a time--and smooth it in with a spatula or the back of a large spoon. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed by the cake, which will make it extremely moist.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 ⅓ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Beat first 4 ingredients with an electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds, then at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour batter into pan, and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Pierce top of cake multiple times using a small wooden pick.

Combine cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk in a small bowl gradually pour and spread over warm cake, about 1/4 cup at a time, allowing mixture to soak into cake before pouring more. Let stand 2 hours cover and chill overnight.

Bring half-and-half to a boil. Pour into a medium bowl with chocolate chips, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Pour evenly over chilled cake.

Recipe Summary

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Beat 6 egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy set yolks aside. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture holds soft peaks. Beat in flour gradually, then beat in milk, reserved egg yolks, melted butter, 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, and baking powder, beating in each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven until cake is browned and crusty on top, no more than 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for about 10 minutes before gently removing cake to finish cooling.

Whisk sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and half-and-half in a bowl. Pour half the 3-milk mixture into a pan deeper and longer than the cake. Lay the cake into the milk mixture. Use a fork to score deep lines into the top of the cake and pour remaining 3-milk mixture over cake, allowing the mixture to soak in.

Beat cream cheese with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with electric mixer until soft and fluffy gradually beat in cream until frosting is thick and spreadable. Spread over the cake.

What is tres leches cake?

Tres leches cake is a popular Mexican dessert made from a light sponge cake that is soaked in a mixture of three milks and topped with whipped cream. Tres leches literally means “three milks” in Spanish, hence the name of the cake.

Tres leches is decadent and creamy thanks to the three milk mixture, yet still very light and airy due to the texture of the sponge cake that’s almost like an angel food cake.

It’s typically topped with fresh strawberries and a pinch of cinnamon, but is also sometimes garnished with chopped nuts or just left plain with whipped cream.

Tres Leches Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in center of oven. Grease x 13- x 9-inch baking pan line with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Separate eggs place yolks in large bowl and whites in separate bowl. Using electric mixer, beat yolks and 3/4 cup sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until thick and glossy. Add milk and vanilla beat for 1 minute or until combined.

Clean and dry beaters. Beat egg whites until frothy add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk one-third of the flour mixture into yolk mixture. Slowly whisk in remaining flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in egg whites until incorporated.

Scrape batter into prepared pan smooth top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Using skewer or fork, poke holes all over cake. Let cool completely.

Soaking Liquid: Whisk together GOYA® Sweetened Condensed Milk, GOYA® Evaporated Milk, GOYA® Coconut Milk and salt. Carefully drizzle one-third milk mixture over cake, allowing it to soak in completely. Repeat twice until entire milk mixture soaks into cake. Cover with plastic wrap refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Assembly: Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream until starting to thicken. Slowly add sugar and rum, beating for 3 to 4 minutes or until stiff glossy peaks form.

Invert cake onto serving platter. Peel off parchment paper. Spread whipped cream over top and sprinkle with coconut.

More Cooking Tips

Tres Leches Cake Milks:

Let’s take a quick minute to understand the differences in the milks you’re going to be using to soak this Tres Leches Cake.

Condensed Milk:

What is condensed milk? Condensed milk is cow’s milk that has had about 60% of it’s water removed like evaporated milk, but it has had sugar added to create a syrupy texture to the milk. Condensed milk is often used to flavor desserts and make caramels, sauces and when cooked properly it can also be turned into and easy dulche de leche.

Condensed milk is generally about 40-45% sugar so when trying to remember the difference between condensed milk and evaporated milk remember it comes down to the sugar content. Evaporated milk has no sugar added while condensed milk does.

If you are shopping in the store and you see cans that say “sweetened condensed milk” or “condensed milk” you can buy either one. They are both the same product. There is no unsweetened version of condensed milk or it would be labeled evaporated milk.

Evaporated Milk:

Speaking of evaporated milk, this is a product that is the healthier cousin to condensed milk. It is a cow’s milk that has had 60% of it’s water removed. It contains 6.5% milkfat compared to whole milk which contains 3.5 % milkfat so if you want you can use it in recipes for an added indulgence where you would be using whole milk.

We sometimes like to use evaporated milk in Easy Mashed Potatoes during the holidays to add an extra indulgent kick to the recipe or to our Baked Mac and Cheese for the same reason.

Many people don’t think about the additional uses for evaporated milk, but it is really an unsung hero in your pantry (and less expensive than it’s higher milk fat cousin heavy whipping cream). While I wouldn’t drink it like a glass of milk, you can add it to coffee, or to your recipes in place of milk when needed, so keeping additional cans as a backup is always a good idea (we keep 6 extra cans on hand at all times).

You can also reconstitute evaporated milk to make it more like whole milk by adding water (again I don’t recommend drinking it like a glass of milk) if you’d like. Uses are endless. One thing that I don’t recommend it using it in place of heavy whipping cream as heavy whipping cream contains 36% milk fat.

Heavy Whipping Cream:

Heavy whipping cream is the king of all dairy when it comes to indulgence. With the highest content of milk fat, second to only butter, it will be doing double duty in this recipe in the milk mixture and as a topping in the form of whipped cream.

Heavy cream is best kept as cold as possible before using, so keep the heavy whipping cream in the refrigerator until just before making your whipped cream. Since it doesn’t have any ingredients to stabilize it, if your cake sits out at room temperature the whipped cream will begin to break down.

If you’d like to have your cake sit out longer you can use Cool Whip or a stabilized Whipped Cream in it’s place. The recipe below includes cream cheese and powdered sugar to add stability, and the added sugar will help to offset the tangy flavors of the cream cheese. The mixture has enough heavy cream in it that the flavors won’t be nearly as thick or as pronounced as a New York Cheesecake.

Tres Leches Cake

This golden sponge cake, a native of Latin America, is liberally soaked with tres leches (three milks: condensed, evaporated, and heavy cream), and would seem, at first read-through of the recipe, to be unbearably sweet — to say nothing of soggy. But the cake itself is only mildly sweet and it's literally a sponge cake, soaking up and holding the liquid so that each mouthful is a just-sweet-enough, super-moist delight. Frost with whipped cream, then garnish the traditional way, if desired, with mango or other tropical fruits. Or simply dust with cinnamon, and enjoy this rich, creamy cake all on its own.


  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, or 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (298g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (74g) cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (177g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (113g) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (340g) evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups (340g) half & half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 tablespoon brandy or light rum


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" x 2" pan line it with parchment and grease the parchment, if you plan on turning the cake out onto a serving platter. Note: Your pan must be at least 2" deep this is a high-rising cake.

To make the cake: Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl, and beat the whites until soft peaks form. Set them aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks until well combined. Add the sugar, and beat until the mixture comes together and thickens. When you stop beating, the mixture should fall from the beater(s) in ribbons as you lift them out of the bowl.

Add the water and vanilla and almond extracts to the egg yolk mixture, beating to combine.

Perfect your technique

Tres Leches Cake

Stir in the baking powder, salt, and flour, beating just to combine.

Gently and thoroughly fold in the beaten egg whites, stirring until no streaks of white show.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, gently smoothing the top.

Bake the cake for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove it from the oven, and set it on a rack. Loosen the edges with a spatula or table knife.

After 20 minutes, gently turn the cake out onto a serving platter, turning it upright, if desired. You can also leave it face-down if you like you'll be topping it with whipped cream, so any imperfections on the bottom crust will be hidden. You may also choose to serve the cake right from the pan in which case, leave it where it is.

Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.

To make the topping: Combine the 1/2 cup cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla or liquor, stirring thoroughly.

Poke the cake all over with a fork. Pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly, stopping occasionally to allow it to soak in. This seems like a lot of liquid for the cake to absorb but don't worry, it will.

Cover the cake and refrigerate it for several hours before serving.

Just before serving, make the frosting: Whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 1/4 cup sugar until the cream is stiff enough to spread. Spread the cream over the top of the cake, swirling it with your spatula. Dust with ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve with diced mango, pineapple, or other tropical fruits or simply as is, in all its sweet glory.

Storage information: Refrigerate any leftover cake for up to several days.

Can you leave rum out of the recipe?

Yes! If you do not wish to cook with alcohol, just leave out the rum and maybe add a little extra vanilla extract.

Once absorbed, dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder.

If prepared properly, Tres Leches Cake will have a moist texture to it, but it should not be soggy. The three milks soak into the spongy cake. Technically, my recipe has four milks in the recipe since there is regular milk in the batter too. It’s a lightly sweetened cake that is fabulous topped with whipped cream and a side of berries, and it tastes even better on the second day. Enjoy!