Enjoy an authentic Tres Leche Cake Recipe is a light sponge cake topped with a tasty whipped cream frosting. A fantastic Mexican dessert that is always a hit!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Tres Leche Cake is a rich and decadently delicious cake that is always a welcomed dessert.
- This is a great dessert to make ahead of time and can even be frozen for up to 3 months.
- A great Mexican dessert for Cinco de Mayo.
- This cake travels well and is awesome for any celebration.
- Tres Leches Cake uses three different types of milk mixtures, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream.
- Don't scrimp on the flavors and use full-fat ingredients for a flavorful cake.
- Vegetable oil adds moisture and tenderness to the cake crumb. I don't recommend substituting it with something else.
- Heavy cream is what makes the frosting fluffy and fantastic.
- Unsalted butter is always my go-to for baking and cooking unless otherwise noted. This way you control the sodium added to any savory or sweet recipe.
- As long as you use pure vanilla extract, use your favorite.
- Eggs bind everything together for a yummy dessert.
- Baking soda gives tenderness and helps the cake rise.
- Salt adds a small balance to the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a 9" by 13" baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, using paddle attachment or beaters, cream the butter, oil, and granulated sugar until well combined, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture. Pour in the vanilla extract.
- In another medium-size mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Use a spatula to gently fold half of the dry mixture into the butter mixture.
- Using the spatula, stir the whole milk into the butter mixture. Then fold in the remaining flour mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, insert a toothpick into the cake, it will come out clean when the cake is completely baked.
- Let the cake cool completely on a cooling wrack.
- Once the cake is cool, use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream together.
- Pour the milk mixture over the cake and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but overnight is best.
Whipped Cream Frosting
- Once the cake is cooled and ready to serve, in a large mixing bowl use a hand electric mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attached, whip the heavy cream for 4 minutes. Soft peaks will begin to form.
- Add in the granulated sugar and vanilla extract, continue to whip until the frosting is light and fluffy with stiff peaks.
- Spread the whipped cream frosting onto the cooled cake.
- Garnish the cake with sliced strawberries or cinnamon, optional.
- Once baked and frosted, keep the Tres Leches cake in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or in a plastic cake holder.
- This is a cold cake so do not keep it out on the dessert table for a few hours. It should be sliced and eaten, leftover go right into the fridge.
- Since this is a milk and cream-based cake, it is important for food safety to refrigerate it when not being eaten. If dairy goes above 40°F there is a risk for bacteria.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in a covered airtight covered container.
- Use room temperature unsalted butter so it incorporates well with the sugar and oil.
- Let the cake cool completely before poking the holes and adding the milk mixture.
- For optimum flavor, keep the milk-soaked cake in the refrigerator overnight before frosting.
- Keep the cake in the refrigerator. Dairy and milk should not come above 40°F in temperature.
This delicious Mexican dessert is made with three milk products, thus the name.
In my opinion, the longer the cake sits in the fridge the better the flavor. I recommend refrigerating it overnight so the milk mixture absorbs into the sponge cake.
Absolutely. Freeze the tres leches cake after baking, without the milk mixture or frosting. Wrap the dry baked cake well in plastic wrap or in a freezer-safe, airtight container. The cake can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to eat, remove the cake from the freezer, let defrost in the fridge. Continue with the milk mixture and frosting.
I recommend refrigerating overnight. The milk will absorb the milk and have amazing flavor.
Here are a few recipes to go along with this easy cake:
- Beef Enchiladas are a delicious and a great recipe for a family meal, Cinco de Mayo party, or tailgate party.
- Mexican Shredded Beef is delicious as enchiladas, tacos, or quesadillas.
- Frito Pie is another beef casserole that is an easy family meal.
- Chicken Taquitos are either air fryer or baked for a better-for-you option of taquitos.
- Enchilada Chicken Sliders are great for a crowd and tasty.
- Looking for a cocktail, Frozen Pineapple Mango Margaritas are crazy good!
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Easy Tres Leche Cake
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How to make Tres Leche Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil Note 1
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk note 2
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
Homemade Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- sliced strawberries or ground cinnamon optional garnish
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Either butter or spray using non-stick baking spray a 9" x 13" baking pan. Set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, oil, and sugar until well combined, about 3-4 minutes. Note 3
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to blend each egg into the batter
- Then, stir in vanilla extract.
- Gently fold half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, then add the milk, then add remaining flour mixture.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Once cake is cool, use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy whipping cream until completely combined.
- Pour the milk mixture over the cake and then refrigerate until completely cooled. (Overnight is best.)
Whipped Cream Frosting
- In a large chilled mixing bowl, add heavy whipping cream. Whip on low speed, then increase to medium speed for about 2 minutes, soft peaks will form in the cream.
- Add in the sugar and vanilla extract and whip another 1 - 2, until light and fluffy.
- Smooth whipped cream frosting on the cake.
- Top cake with slices strawberries or cinnamon, optional.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- I’m not a registered dietician, I do my best to provide the most accurate nutritional values. Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation. Actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and portion sizes
My experience with this recipe
I have had a new found love of baking over the last few years. This is a favorite to make as it is very forgiving. New bakers don't have to stress about making this easy Tres Leches Cake. The milk mixture ensures a tasty moist cake.
The whipped cream frosting is absolutely delicious and I use this same recipe on other cakes such as poke and vanilla cakes.
Also, being that Tres Leches Cake freezes really well, this is a great one to make ahead and have in the freezer for unexpected company or parties.
We love serving this for Cinco de Mayo for a festive dessert.
It has become of favorite to make at Christmas and New Years as it's great to make ahead. Remove from the freezer, defrost and make the Homemade Whipped Frosting and enjoy.
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