Published: · Updated: by Mely Martínez
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This Authentic tres leches cake recipe is a fluffy vanilla cake filled with condensed milk and topped with a homemade vanilla whipped cream frosting. The combination of the three kinds of milk gives a sweet and cool flavor to the fluffy sponge cake. One of the most popular cakes to serve at parties, birthdays, and many celebrations. Perfectly paired with sliced fruit, this tres leches will impress everyone!
What does tres leches cake taste like?
Imagine taking a bite of a fluffy, moist, and sweet cake, well then that is what a tres leches cake tastes like. This traditional cake is light, sweet, and soaked in different types of milk. The cake gets soaked with a combination of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and media crema milk to create a perfectly moist cake. The result is a perfect combination of sweet, cool, and moist desserts that will leave you craving for more.
- What does tres leches cake taste like?
- Where is the Origin of Tres Leches Cake Recipe?
- How To Make Tres Leches Cake Recipe
- How To Make Authentic Tres Leches Cake: Step By Step Tutorial
- Other Frequently Asked Questions About Mexican Tres Leches (Pastel de Tres Leches)
- More Dessert Recipes To Enjoy
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Where is the Origin of Tres Leches Cake Recipe?
Some people believe that the three milk cakes are Spanish or Mexican. But, historians believe that this cake can trace its origins in Mexico and Nicaragua. Especially after Nestle's sweet condensed milk “La Lechera” started printing the recipe on the back of the milk cans.
The truth is that this cake can be found all over Latin America, from Peru to Cuba and even Colombia. The recipe is very similar in all countries, with just a few additions but always with the same moist consistency of the combined kinds of milk.
I guess what matters is how good it tastes and how easy it is to make it!
How To Make Tres Leches Cake Recipe
Here is the list of ingredients you will need...
For the Cake Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
For the Milk Mixture:
- Condensed milk (I prefer to use La Lechera from Nestle)
- Evaporated milk (I prefer to use Carnation)
- Heavy whipping cream (I prefer to use Media Crema from Nestle)
- Rum or Brandy (optional)
Frosting and Garnish:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Canned fruit (I prefer to use peaches andmangos or fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwi)
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
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How To Make Authentic Tres Leches Cake: Step By Step Tutorial
To make things easier for you, I am going to breakdown the directions to this tres leches cake recipe into sections.
First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees before making the cake batter. Make sure to adjust the oven rack to the middle position. While at it, prep the 13-by-9-inch pan with grease and flour. For a taller cake, use an 8 X 8-inch pan. Set it aside. If you check the pictures, this cake is not too tall.
Mix All Of The Dry Ingredients
- Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl and whisk together to mix.
Mix The Wet Ingredients
- With an electric hand or stand mixer, beat the eggs one by one on medium speed for about 45-60 seconds.
- Slowly add in the sugar until all of the sugar is incorporated.
- Reduce the mixer speed, slowly add the melted butter little by little, and then the vanilla. Keep the mixer on low.
Incorporate The Dry And Wet Ingredients
- Add the flour in batches and gently fold with a spatula until well combined.
- Transfer batter to your prepared pan using a rubber spatula to help you spread them evenly.
Bake The Cake
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake looks lightly golden.
- Remove the cake and transfer it to a wired rack to cool completely.
- Poke holes in the top of the cake using a toothpick, skewer, or fork all over.
Make The Milk Mixture
- Whisk condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream together with the vanilla and rum in a saucepan.
- Warm the mixture over low heat until thoroughly mixed.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the cake has cooled, pour the milk mixture over the cake.
- After pouring the milk mixture, let the milk soak for a few minutes at room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
Whipped Cream Topping
- Place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form. This step will take about 2 minutes.
Assemble The Cake
- To assemble the cake, spread the whipped cream over the cake.
- Decorate with fruit as desired!
- Refrigerate to chill until ready to serve. Remember, it is better to leave in the fridge overnight to soak all three kinds of milk and decorate with fruit or a sprinkle of cinnamon until ready to serve.
What To Serve With Pastel De Tres Leches
I recommend enjoying your cake with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate! or a Or, if you prefer a spiced cup of coffee, try our Cafe de olla. For more recipes, follow Us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. in español Visit Us at Mexico en mi cocina
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Mexican Tres Leches (Pastel de Tres Leches)
Here are some questions I've asked about homemade tres leches cake.
What do tres leches mean?
Tres leches are a mixture of three kinds of milk; in this cake is condensed milk, evaporated milk, and media crema. The mix is then poured into the sponge cake, letting it soak and making a perfectly moist cake.
What is 'La Lechera'?
La Lechera is the name of the condensed milk made by Nestle. “Lechera” means “milk lady,” and if you look at the picture on the can, you can see that a lady is holding a pot of milk on her head.
Does tres leches cake have alcohol in it?
That's entirely up to you! Sometimes I'll add a splash or two of alcohol, and sometimes I'll keep it very simple.
If you decide to add alcohol, I recommend adding some rum or brandy.
Can you leave tres leches cake out overnight?
I would not recommend doing this. Since the cake has dairy in it, it's not safe to leave it out and eat it later. However, you need to place it in the fridge overnight to allow it to absorb all the milk. Besides, the tres leches cake tastes better when is cold.
How long can I store this Mexican cake?
This tres leches recipe is best to eat within two days, but you can leave it up to 4 days in the fridge if wrapped tight and appropriately stored. You can even freeze the cake after you add the kinds of milk. To defrost it, place it in your fridge until it defrosts, and decorate it with whipped cream & fresh fruits. Just now that the texture is a little soggy.
More Dessert Recipes To Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for tres leches, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
- Chimbo Sweet Bread
- Buñuelos de Viento
- Homemade Mexican Flan
- Chocolate Tamales
- Mexican Churros
I hope you make this recipe for one of Mexican favorite birthday cakes! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment done below and tell us all about it!
Tres Leches Cake
This Authentic tres leches cake recipe is fluffy vanilla cake filled with a combination of three kids of milk and topped with homemade vanilla whipped cream frosting. The one cake that’s associated with birthday parties, graduations, baptisms, and all kind of celebrations (I guess we always have a good excuse to celebrate!). Many people love Tres Leches cake.
4.83 from 241 votes
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Prep Time 10 minutes mins
Cook Time 30 minutes mins
Total Time 40 minutes mins
Calories 322 kcal
- Butter to grease the pan
- 1 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour sifted (plus extra for dusting pan)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt*
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE MILK MIXTURE
- 1 can condensed milk NESTLE LA LECHERA 14oz
- 1 can Evaporated milk CARNATION 12oz
- 1 cup of Heavy Heavy whipping or 1 can of “Media Crema Nestle”
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 4 Tablespoons rum or brandy optional
- 1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream the one you buy at the dairy fridge section
- 4 Tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Canned fruit like peaches mangos or fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwis. If using fruit to decorate, add just before serving.
Turn the oven to 325 degrees F. Make sure to adjust the oven rack to the middle position. grease and flour a 13-by-9 inch pan and set aside. For a taller cake, use an 8 x 8-inch pan. Set it aside. If you check the pictures, this cake is not tall.
Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl and whisk together to mix.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs one by one on a medium speed, for about 45-60 seconds, and slowly add the sugar as in a light dusting, until all sugar is incorporated. The egg mix will be very fluffy and be turning a light yellow.
Reduce speed of mixer, and slowly add the melted butter, little bit little, and then the vanilla. Keep the mixer running in low. (The butter HAS to be melted and cool if not, it will flatten your bubbles, meaning flat cake)
Add the flour in batches (spoon by spoon) and gently fold with a spatula until well combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Transfer batter to your prepared pan using a rubber spatula to help you spread the evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake looks light golden or a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
Remove the cake and transfer to a wired rack to cool completely. Poke the top of the cake using a toothpick, skewer or fork all over.
Whisk condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream together with the vanilla and rum in a sauce pan, warm over low heat until completed mixed. Remove from heat and set aside. (Not everyone warms the milk, some people just mix them and pour over the cake, that is a personal choice)
Once the cake has cooled, pour the milk mixture over the cake, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight.
Place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla into a bowl and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form. This will take about 2 minutes. I usually place the mixer attachment in the freezer and the bowl in the fridge before making whipping cream. This trick always works to form a smooth and fluffy frosting.
For assembly, the cake spread the whipped cream over the cake. Refrigerate to chill until ready to serve. Remember, it is better to leave in the fridge overnight to soak all the three kinds of milk, and decorate with fruit, until ready to serve. (If you are making this cake ahead of time, add the fruit just right before serving time). To make them look shiny you can glaze them with a mix of apricot preserves and water and use a kitchen brush to cover the fruit.
• *If using salted butter, omit the ¼-teaspoon of salt.
Serving: 1sliceCalories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 86mgPotassium: 91mgSugar: 20gVitamin A: 700IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Tres leches is a light sponge cake that is traditionally soaked in three milks (sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream or milk). It's most often served with a whipped cream frosting, though it can also be served with a meringue topping.What is a traditional tres leches cake? ›
Tres leches is a light sponge cake that is traditionally soaked in three milks (sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream or milk). It's most often served with a whipped cream frosting, though it can also be served with a meringue topping.What are the three milks in tres leches? ›
After baking the cake you poke holes in it with a fork and pour three types of milk over the top–evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk–hence the name “tres leches”.What nationality is tres leches cake? ›
Tres Leches as we know it is a fixture in all of Latin American cuisine. While there is some lively debate on whether Nicaragua is the birthplace of the milky cake, the general consensus is that Mexico holds the strongest claim to that honor.What is the history of tres leches cake? ›
Origins of the Tres Leche Cake. In the 19th century, there was a recipe floating around Mexico for a bread cake that was soaked in wine and topped with custard. This is thought to be a spin of the Italian tiramisu or the English trifle, both alcohol soaked sponge cakes with heavy cream, cheese and sugar!What is traditional tres leches made of? ›
This delicious tres leches cake features three types of milk: whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. It's topped with sweet whipped cream. An excellent cake for milk lovers!Is tres leches not Mexican? ›
Tangy Tres Leches Cake
While many credit Nicaraguans for the dessert, others claim it as their own: Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico (the list goes on). The origin stories and recipes vary by country; dig a little deeper and the history is even more elusive.
Whisk together three-quarters of a cup of whole milk with a quarter cup of melted and slightly cooled butter until smooth, and you will have a cup of heavy cream(ish). Or, for creamy texture and flavor — again for non-whipping uses — half and half can be substituted in equal measure for cream.What can I use instead of sweetened condensed milk in tres leches? ›
To use heavy cream and sugar as a substitute, you can mix equal parts heavy cream and sugar in a 2:1 ratio and then heat the mixture over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. This will create a thick, sweet mixture that can be used in place of sweetened condensed milk.Why is my Tres Leches Cake soggy? ›
In this easy Tres Leches Cake recipe, evaporated milk is used to thin the heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk but is richer than just using milk which would make the cake soggy due to its higher water content.
Etymology. borrowed from Spanish tres leches "three milks," referring to the three milk products used in the cake. Note: The name of the cake in Spanish is pastel de tres leches, torta de tres leches, and other variants.Is Tres Leches good for you? ›
Unfortunately no, it's not! The traditional version of tres leches – or three milk cake – can be rich, high in sugar, and often uses white flour. But this recipe replaces some of the ingredients that are less healthy to make it a treat that can be enjoyed in moderation.What is a tres leche cake interesting facts? ›
The cake is popular throughout Latin America. Tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. Its Albanian variety is referred to as trileçe.Is Tres Leches meant to be stacked? ›
If stacking tres leches cake layers, you will need to freeze the layers for at least 3 hours before assembly. This helps the cake layers from falling. Yep. Sopping wet milky layers weren't made to be stacked, so if you give them a little freeze, they behave themselves during assembling.What language is tres leches cake? ›
Etymology. From Spanish tres leches.Why is tres leches cake important to Mexican culture? ›
After all, Tres Leches is a celebration cake. People who grew up in Mexico say that it's this spongy cake that was a must-have during birthdays and graduations and even weddings. In a way, Tres Leches cake was a centerpiece of the family gathering.Is tres leches meant to be stacked? ›
If stacking tres leches cake layers, you will need to freeze the layers for at least 3 hours before assembly. This helps the cake layers from falling. Yep. Sopping wet milky layers weren't made to be stacked, so if you give them a little freeze, they behave themselves during assembling.Is Tres Leche cake good for you? ›
Since most tres leches cakes are made with processed white flour and sugar, they are not conventionally healthy. However, it's easy to make this healthy tres leches cake recipe that skips these ingredients altogether — while keeping the same sweet flavor and moist texture!Can tres leches be a wedding cake? ›
Cookies and Cream Tres Leches — SWEET MELI BAKERY
A classic soft and fluffy sponge cake. It is like no other and will be one of your favorite recipes to make year round. Birthdays, weddings and all special occasions!