I did not feel good about saying “adios” to Mexico Week without a grand finale.  Remember the Tres Leches cake that I mentioned earlier this week?  If you are not familiar with Tres Leches, please allow me to enlighten you!  “Tres leches” in Spanish means “three milks”.  The way that these three milks apply to our cake is that you start with a somewhat basic white cake and then soak it in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.  You can imagine what happens next.  The cake becomes oh so marvelously moist from the sopping up the milks that it literally feels like it is melting in your mouth when you take a bite.

In Mexico, Tres Leches cake is commonly served at weddings, birthdays and other events.  My best friend Naomi had this cake for her wedding and ever since then I have been meaning to attempt to make it myself.  Naomi will have been married for 5 years in August, so what better time than now to follow through with my commitment!

Tres Leches Cake

by Mercedes Porter


For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the milk mixture

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla


For the milk mixture

Pour condensed milk into large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on low, stirring and replacing plastic wrap every 3-5 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened, 9-15 minutes.

Remove from microwave and slowly whisk in evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla.

Let cool to room temperature.

For the cake

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 325. Grease and flour a 9X13 baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in bowl. Heat butter and milk in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted; set aside off heat.

With hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat eggs in large for about 30 seconds, then slowly add sugar until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thick and glossy, 5-7 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in milk-butter mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down bowl as necessary, then mix on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 3o seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.

Using a skewer, poke holes at 1/2 inch intervals in top of cake. Slowly pour milk mixture over cake until completely absorbed. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes, then refrigerate uncovered for 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

For the topping

Remove cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. With hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla to soft peaks, 1-2 minutes. Spread over cake and slice into 3-inch squares. Serve.

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(Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

for the milk mixture:  sweetened condensed milk

 sweetened condensed milk after it is darkened and thickened

 finished milk mixture

 for the cake:  dry ingredients

butter/milk mixture

 eggs, thick and glossy

 poke holes 1/2-inch apart into cake

 pour milk mixture over cake

 spread on topping after refrigerating

 so moist and decadent, disfruta!


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4 Comments ( Reply )

  1. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    Shoot, you made this at the lake didn’t you! (I was going to ask if you had any left!) I love tres leches cake!


    • Mercedes
      Jul 18, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

      I wish I could have brought some to you! I’ll remember next time!


  2. Joan Dymand Hintz
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing Mercedes! Marc AND I have become followers! I am going to try to make the peanut curry shrimp and the tres leches cake soon. I made Vietnamese food for 18 in DL a few weeks ago. Everyone enjoyed…even the kiddos. Thanks again!


    • Mercedes
      Jul 23, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

      Thanks for following Joan! Let me know how the recipes turn out!


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