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Basic Tres Leches Cake

User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (35 Reviews)


Tres leches cake
Lew Robertson, Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Pastel de Tres Leches" or "Tres Leches Cake" is named for the three milks in the soaking liquid (Leche means milk in Spanish.) The three milks in the soaking sauce for Tres Leches are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream. The heavy cream is also whipped up to use as the topping. Due to the rich ingredients and that it is soaked in a creamy syrup, Tres Leches Cake is extremely dense and moist, almost like a custard. Tres Leches is sweet and delicious, but it is nothing like a traditional dry cake that is light and fluffy.

See a Step-by-Step version with pictures of each step

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Cream Syrup for Soaking (see recipe below)
  • Whipped Topping (see recipe below)


Combine flour and baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time until well combined. Stir in the 1/2 cup of milk, then gently fold in the flour mixture a little at a time.

Pour batter into a lightly greased cake pan or baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool until it feels room temperature. Turn it over onto a platter with raised edges. Pierce cake with a fork 20-30 times. Let it cool in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes.

Cream Syrup

  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (optional)

Whisk together the three milks and the rum or brandy if you are using it. Slowly pour the liquid over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Occasionally, spoon the milk runoff back onto the cake.

Whipped Topping

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

In a chilled mixing bowl add heavy cream, vanilla and sugar. Beat on high speed until peaks form. Spread a thin layer over the cake.

Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or garnish with fresh berries.

For a lighter and fluffier version of Tres Leches cake see this recipe for Light and Airy Tres Leches Cake

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
first attempt used this recipe out of 5 i printed, Member welborn3

so i havent served this to my guest yet but i can tell you my cake doesnt look like the picture haha. i am sure i did something wrong. i have tasted it and i can say that the cake part seems fine and is moist. i am concerned because when i made the last step i put it on the cake and it did look like it was foaming up to like like an icing top but i stuck it back in the fridge and now about 2 hrs later it has all melted into the cake.. personally i will still eat it but i was hoping it would taste a bit sweeter. not sure if i should take teh cake out and let things thaw a bit and maybe as it sits out hte left over milk and such will make things more moist and sweeter? any thoughts anyone? again this was just my first attempt and i am open to trying it agian because i very well could be the one who screwed things up but i did follow the recipe to a t and the tutorial does say you can stick it back in the fridge..

5 out of 8 people found this helpful.

See all 35 reviews

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Tres Leches Cake
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