If you’ve never tasted a Tres Leches Cake, you don’t know what you’re missing. Also known as a milk cake, this delicious, moist cake is made using three types of milk and a rich, creamy dulce de leche caramel sauce.
After one bite of my tres leches cake, you’ll understand why this delicious dessert is one of my all-time favorite cakes.
Being of Mexican heritage, I learned to love this three milks cake at an early age, thanks to my Abuela. She loved to feed me as much as I loved to eat!
Although this is a cake typically served on Cinco de Mayo, you don’t have to wait for a Mexican holiday to make this amazingly delicious cake. It’s the perfect dessert for a dinner party, family get-together, potluck, or just to treat yourself.
Ingredients to make Tres Leches Cake
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients needed to make my Tres Leches Cake recipe. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
How to make Tres Leches Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan, then place a parchment round in the pan and grease the parchment paper. Set aside until needed.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl.
- Whisk to combine, and set aside until needed.
- Add the room temperature butter, sugar, and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment.
- Whip on medium speed for 7-8 minutes or until very pale and creamy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter.
- Beat well after the addition of each egg. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
- Mix just enough to combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the flour has been incorporated.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan.
- Place the pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Add the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, dulce de leche, and vanilla extract to a large bowl.
- Whisk to combine.
Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the springform pan.
These are the spatulas I use in my kitchen. They are durable, heat resistant and easy to keep clean.
- Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Using a skewer, poke holes all over the top of the cake.
- Pour some of the milk mixture into a large measuring cup and slowly pour the milk mixture all over the cake.
(It may seem like a lot of liquid, but take your time going slowly, and you will be able to incorporate all of the three milk mixture).
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or overnight), ensuring that all of the milk mixture is absorbed.
- Place the cream in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer using the whisk attachment) using an electric hand mixer.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks. This process should be slow, starting on low, increasing to medium speed, and then medium-high speed, over about 8-10 minutes.
**This method is how you keep the fresh whipped cream from breaking. The cream should be ice-cold and as fresh as possible. Look for heavy cream with the longest expiration date.
Remove the cake from the springform pan and place on a serving plate.
- Spread the whipped topping on top of the caramel tres leches cake.
- Then drizzle the dulce de leche caramel sauce over the whipped cream.
- Swirl the dulce de leche into the whipped cream.
- Drizzle additional dulce de leche over the top of the swirled cream. This step is optional.
This delicious Mexican dessert is guaranteed to bring smiles to your dinner table. It’s a dessert that is rarely seen and will be the talk of your family and friends for weeks to come. Just be prepared to make it again and again.
What could be better than this simple sponge cake drenched in a delightful three milks mixture, then topped with fresh whipped cream and dulce de leche? Can you say heaven on a plate?
Store any leftover tres leches cake refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
This unique cake is made using three types of milk: whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The milk mixture also has dulce de leche, which adds to the flavor and sweetness. It can be served plain but I like to top it with a dulce de leche whipped cream.
Yes, the combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk is what gives tres leches cake its distinctive flavor and texture. Each type of milk contributes to the sweetness, creaminess, and moisture of the cake while keeping it from getting soggy.
Yes, you can prepare tres leches cake in advance. In fact, it will actually taste better the next day as it has more time to soak up the milk mixture. Keep it well-covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.