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Tres Leches Cake: A Decadent Dessert from Latin America

Discover the magic of combining three types of milk in this delicious Tres Leches Cake recipe. Experience the extra moist texture topped with sweet whipped cream.

July 16, 2023
Tres Leches CakePhoto By Canva
Difficulty Medium
Servings 8 people
Preparation 150 mins
Cooking 30 mins
Total 180 mins



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the whole milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture, mixing until well combined.
  5. In a separate, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it out evenly.
  8. Bake the cake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. While the cake is baking, prepare the three milk mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream until well combined.
  10. Once the cake is out of the oven, let it cool slightly in the pan for about 10 minutes.
  11. Using a fork or toothpick, poke several holes all over the cake.
  12. Pour the three-milk mixture evenly over the warm cake, allowing it to soak into the holes.
  13. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture.
  14. Before serving, prepare the whipped cream topping. In a mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
  15. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled cake.
  16. Serve slices of the Tres Leches Cake and enjoy its rich, moist, and indulgent taste.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Tres Leches Cake
Serves 8
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25 g32.1%
Cholesterol 150 mg50%
Sodium 150 mg6.5%
Protein 8 g16%
Potassium 300 mg6.4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Use high-quality ingredients.
  • Sift the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together before adding them to the cake batter. This helps create a light and airy texture in the cake.
  • Separate eggs carefully. When separating the eggs, make sure there is no trace of egg yolk in the egg whites. Even a small amount of yolk can prevent the egg whites from whipping properly.
  • Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, but be careful not to overbeat them. Stiff peaks give structure to the cake and help it rise evenly.
  • For a twist on the traditional recipe, some people like to add coconut milk instead of whole milk.
  • When combining the egg whites with the cake batter, fold them gently using a spatula to preserve the airy texture.
  • To ensure the best texture, cover the cake with foil and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. This gives the cake enough time to absorb the three-milk mixture fully.
  • After baking, use a fork or toothpick to poke holes all over the cake. This allows the milk mixture to penetrate and soak into the cake, ensuring it becomes moist and flavorful.
  • You can freeze the cake, but it's best to add the whipped cream topping after the cake is thawed.
  • Prepare the whipped cream just before serving to maintain its freshness. Make sure the cake is completely chilled before spreading the whipped cream on top.
Rate This Recipe

Indulge in the decadence of the Tres Leches Cake, a classic Latin American dessert that will leave your taste buds dancing. This sponge cake is soaked in three kinds of milk, giving it a unique, moist texture that is light and fluffy. It's a dessert that is rich in flavor, yet light in texture, making it a favorite for many.

Is Tres Leches Cake Soggy?

Tres Leches Cake is supposed to be ultra-moist! After all, it's soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. However, it should not be soggy. The cake absorbs the milk mixture to become moist and flavorful, but it should still hold its shape.

What Does Tres Leche Cake Taste Like?

Tres Leches Cake is sweet and incredibly moist without being soggy. It has a light and airy texture, similar to a sponge cake. The three-milk mixture gives it a rich and creamy taste, which is often balanced with a light topping of whipped cream or meringue.

Is Tres Leches Spanish Or Mexican?

Tres Leches Cake is a popular dessert in many Latin American countries, and it is often associated with Mexico. However, its exact origins are unclear. Some believe it may have originated in Nicaragua, while others suggest it might have been introduced to Latin America by European settlers.

Why Is Tres Leches The Best Dessert?

Many people love Tres Leches Cake because it's a perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess. The cake itself is light and airy, and the three-milk mixture makes it incredibly moist and rich. It's a unique dessert that's different from typical cakes, making it a favorite for many.

What To Serve with Tres Leches Cake?

Tres Leches Cake is a delicious dessert on its own, but you can serve it with fresh fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or sliced mango. The natural sweetness of the fruits perfectly balances the richness of the cake, creating a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. Additionally, a dollop of freshly whipped cream adds a light and creamy touch, enhancing the cake's lusciousness. To complete the experience, consider serving the cake with a hot cup of coffee or espresso, as the bitterness of the coffee perfectly complements the sweetness of the dessert. Whether enjoyed on a special occasion or a casual gathering, these accompaniments create a harmonious and memorable dessert experience that will leave everyone indulging in the deliciousness of Tres Leches Cake.

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Tres Leches Cake:

History of Tres Leches Cake

The Tres Leches Cake, also known as "three-milk bread," is a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. This dessert originated in Nicaragua in the 19th century and is considered the country's national pastry. The cake's distinct light texture, filled with many air bubbles, prevents it from having a soggy consistency despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

The dessert's history is quite fascinating. The colonization of Nicaragua in the 19th century led to a vast process of experimentation and mixtures of food that had never before come together. European presence in Mexico during the same period introduced the "antes" dessert, a bread soaked in wine and layered with milk custard and fruit or nuts. By 1896, the U.S. Department of Commerce was importing condensed milk to Nicaragua, which had a significant impact on Nicaraguan recipes.

The Tres Leches Cake has since become a staple in many Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. It has also gained popularity in the United States, particularly in Miami due to Latin American immigration. The cake's popularity spread across the U.S., possibly from Los Ranchos restaurant in Miami, which featured it on its menu when it opened in 1981. The cake was so popular that the restaurant even featured its recipe on fliers, which were widely distributed.

In recent years, a variety of Tres Leches known as "trileçe," a caramel-topped version of Tres Leches, has become popular in the Balkans and Turkey. This version is sometimes made with three different types of milk: cow's, goat's, and water buffalo's, though more commonly a mixture of cow's milk and cream is used. The Albanian variation usually has a caramel topping while the Tres Leches cake has a cream and fruit topping. This shows the versatility and adaptability of this delicious dessert, which continues to be a favorite in many cultures around the world.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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