Tres Leches, a Creamy Cake Recipe




Having never tasted this delicious cake before a date night out where it was included with my hubbies dinner, I must say I’ve missed out on something special. With it’s origins probably in South and Central America, it’s a solution to lack of refrigeration in hot countries like Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala.  

Tres Leches means 3 milks, and the ones we’re using today are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.  Sweetened Condensed milk was created by taking the water out of cow’s milk and adding sugar and canning, so it would last for years if unopened.  Evaporated milk is a dehydrated and not sweetened, and the heavy cream is made from the higher-butterfat layer of milk.  Yup, it’s going to be a creamy masterpiece all soaked up by a light sponge cake.

Here is what you’ll need to create this creamy cake recipe.



Start by separating the 5 eggs into two bowls, one for yolks, one for whites.  Grease a 9″ X 13″ pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.



Dry Ingredients: Mix the following ingredients together in a large bowl.

1 cup Flour

1-1/2 t. Baking Powder

1/4 t. Salt


Egg Yolk Mixture: Mix yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and add milk and vanilla

5 egg yolks

3/4 c. Sugar

1/3 c. Milk

1 t. Vanilla




Egg White Mixture: Beat egg white on high with mixer, add sugar and beat until still peaks form

5 Egg Whites

1/4 c. sugar



Mix the egg whites gently into the batter and spread in the cake pan evenly. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out cleanly.



Spread intoPan




While cake is still hot, turn it over onto a serving platter and allow to thoroughly cool.  When cool, pierce the cake all over with a fork to make the three milk mixture easier to absorb.





Three Milks Mixture: pour over the entire cake and allow to absorb for half an hour or so.

1 can Evaporated Milk

1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk

1/4 c. Heavy Cream



Final Layer: Whip cream and spread over the top of cake

1 pint Heavy Cream, whipped

3 T. Sugar



Dust with cocoa powder and drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce if desired.  Or if you prefer, use fresh fruit and nuts.  This cake is so rich and creamy, that it will go with anything.  Let me know what you try!




Tres Leches Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Central & South American
Author: Laurie Ashbach
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A moist and creamy sponge cake, soaked with three milks and finished with sweetened whipped cream. Serve with chocolate or caramel sauces, fruit or nuts. This one is dusted with cocoa.
  • [b]Dry Ingredients:[/b]
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1-1/2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t. Salt[br]
  • [b]Egg Yolk Mixture:[/b]
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 1/3 c. Milk
  • 1 t. Vanilla[br]
  • [b]Egg White Mixture:[/b]
  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 c. sugar[br]
  • [b]3 Milks Mixture:[/b]
  • After baking cake you’ll mix and pour these 3 milks over the sponge cake.
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 c. Heavy Cream[br]
  • [b]Topping:[/b]
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, whipped
  • 3 T. Sugar[br]
  • [b]Finishing:[/b]
  • Dust with cocoa powder and drizzle with caramel, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, nuts or fresh fruit.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9” X 13” cake pan
  2. Mix the Dry Ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Separate eggs into a yolk and a white bowl.
  4. Beat egg yolks with sugar until light yellow, then stir in milk and vanilla.
  5. Pour this Egg Yolk mixture into the Dry Ingredients Bowl, mixing gently.
  6. Next beat the Egg White Mixture with the sugar until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold this mixture into the batter until just mixed and then spread evenly into the cake pan.
  7. Bake cake for 40 min at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Turn out the cake onto a platter and let it cool, then pierce the cake all over with a fork.
  9. Mix the 3 milks together and pour slowly over the entire cake, then let the cake rest and absorb the milk mixture.
  10. Finally, whip the pint of heavy cream with sugar and spread over the top of the cake. Now you can add your own stamp by serving with fruit, nuts, caramel or chocolate sauce or any combination of the above. The possibilities are endless. I’ve sifted some cocoa onto the top and placed a sprig of fresh mint in the middle of each piece.

Thanks to Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman for providing this recipe for me to try.  I love everything she creates!


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