Tres Leches Cake Recipe – Three Milks Cake

An absolutely delicious tres leches cake recipe is a fluffy sponge cake soaked in sweetened condensed, heavy cream, and regular milk, then topped with whipped cream. Get the recipe here.

Today I’m sharing a super delicious recipe: My Tres Leches Cake! I make this cake ever since I’m a teenager and let me tell you It’s absolutely delicious!

Delicious Tres Leches Cake (Three Milks Cake) cover image with Title text overlay

I remember all my school friends and then my college friends coming to my house asking for my cake LOL. I hadn’t made it in years and I finally did so I’m sharing the recipe with you.

Tres Leches Cake Recipe {Three Milks Cake}

This recipe is basically a sponge cake soaked in a three-milk mixture and topped with a delicious Italian meringue. The way I prepare it is a Venezuelan authentic tres leches cake recipe.

In Venezuela, where I grew up (and I think many other places too), people are used to making tres leches cake with evaporated milk as one of the milks.

I never really liked it so I changed it for whole (full fat) milk. And I like to prepare whole milk from powdered milk and a bit stronger than usual, but the liquid traditional one works too.

So, I hope you find this recipe tempting to make and make it!!!

How to Make Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • Eggs – at room temperature and separate egg whites and egg yolks
  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sweetened condensed milk – a 14-ounce can.
  • Heavy cream (crema de leche) – a 12-ounce package
  • Whole Milk – when prepared from milk powder, makes a stronger flavor than normal milk, it makes the cake so good.
  • Rum. {optional}

 For Meringue

  • Egg whites
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Icing sugar {optional}

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF 180ºC/Gas 4/fan 160ºC. and grease a 9-inch pan. I love pyrex glass because you can actually see the cake.

Clean out your mixing bowl and wash the whisk attachment. You don’t want any bit of grease otherwise the eggs won’t form peaks.

The Cake

First, start beating the egg whites in a large bowl with a stand mixer at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

In a small bowl, I mixed yolks with sugar and vanilla. And in another mixing bowl mix flour and baking powder.

Once the egg whites form stiff peaks, add in slowly the egg yolk mixture. Scrap a little the sides. Mix for a couple of minutes.

Start adding the flour mixture little by little and mix for 1 more minute and turn off the mixer.

Now pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes. It will grow and be golden. Always check with a toothpick to confirm that is ready. Each oven is different.

While it is in the oven, let’s prepare the milk mixture and the meringue.

The Filling

For the Milk mixture, in a blender mix condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, and whole milk for a couple of minutes, and then add in the rum. You have no idea the delicious scent will come from it! Since it’s alcohol it will evaporate as soon as it has contact with the hot cake. So will only remain the amazing scent.

Set it in the fridge while the cake is ready.

The Meringue

For the meringue, follow the instructions in my post: How to make an Awesome Italian Meringue. Probably the cake will be ready before your meringue but that’s ok because you should top the tres leches cake when it’s completely cool.

Once the cake is ready, take it off the oven and immediately poke holes with a fork all over the cake.

Start pouring the milk mixture all over the cake (sides and holes) If it fills up, wait for it to soak up the mixture and pour some more until you see it doesn’t absorb anymore.

Leave it to completely cool off before frosting it with the meringue.

cake soaked in the three-milk mixture

When cool, pour your meringue on top of the cake and spread it all over, and with a spoon, pull it up slightly in sections to form peaks.

pouring meringue on top of the cake
spoon over the meringue
spoon making peaks on the meringue

Let it rest overnight in the fridge so the flavors will intensify.

Serve and enjoy!

view of delicious Tres Leches Cake {Three Milks Cake}

Tips for the Best Tres Leches Cake

Measure dry and wet ingredients correctly. For the flour, in particular, spoon it into the measuring cup and level off the top.

Do not overmix once added the dry ingredients since the cake relies on the volume of the eggs to rise.

Let the cake rest for at least 30 min after pouring on the milk mixture so it can absorb every drop.

Bake in a ceramic or glass pan/casserole dish for the best rise and it’s easier to serve right out of the casserole dish.

Variation and Substitutions

You can replace the meringue for the topping with whipped cream if you prefer.

If you prefer regular whole milk instead of powdered milk, that’s ok too.

You can add the fourth milk if you like by adding the evaporated milk.

Sprinkle some cinnamon powder on top as garnish and also adds an amazing scent.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

You can make Tres leches cake 1-2 days in advance.  Actually, I love to make this cake the day before so that the cake has a lot of time to soak up the milk mixture and enhance the flavor.

This cake can be stored in the fridge and saved for up to 4-5 days.

Due to the milks in the cake, this cake should always be stored in the refrigerator. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, to help keep in the moisture.

You can, BUT make sure you freeze the actual cake without the milk mixture added and without topping. Thaw the cake in the fridge overnight before using it.

Delicious Tres Leches Cake (Three Milks Cake) cover image

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of milk in Tres Leches?

Usually, there are 4 common types of milk for a tres leches cake are Whole Milk, heavy cream, Condensed milk, and evaporated milk. However, in my recipe, I don’t use evaporated milk because I really don’t like the taste and I replace the normal whole milk with milk prepared from powdered milk. It enhances the flavor.

Can I freeze tres leches cake?

Yes, you can, BUT make sure you freeze the actual cake without the milk mixture added and without topping. Thaw the cake in the fridge overnight before using it.

How long does this cake keep?

This cake can be stored in the fridge and saved for up to 4-5 days. It tastes the best on the second and third days. After the 4th day, the topping probably is disappearing and the cake starts to become slightly soggy.

No oil or butter in the cake?

Oh yeah, that’s right, this Tres Leches Cake is NOT made with butter or oil. With egg whites as its main leavening agent, it is sponge cake-like, and the milks poured on top are absorbed into the cake, making it moist without oil or butter.

How long does the Italian meringue last?

By itself, this meringue can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days and at room temperature for up to two days covered. It can be in a piping bag, a covered bowl, etc. Remember that stability is what allows this to happen. It is important to note that if you use this meringue as part of another recipe, the storing information may vary.

More Dessert Recipes To Try

If you liked this delicious tres leches cake recipe, you might also love these other dessert recipe ideas too:

🥣 Recipe

Delicious Tres Leches Cake (Three Milks Cake) cover image

Delicious Tres Leches Cake Recipe – Three Milks Cake

Camila Rojas
An absolutely delicious tres leches cake recipe is a fluffy sponge cake soaked in sweetened condensed, heavy cream, and regular milk, then topped with whipped cream. Get the recipe here.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Traditional
Servings 9

Equipment

  • Electric mixer
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

For Cake

  • 5 eggs {separate egg whites and yolks}
  • 1 ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 ½ cup of all purpose flour.
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 can of sweetened condenced milk
  • 1 ½ cup of heavy cream {crema de leche}
  • 2 cups of Whole Milk {when preparing from milk powder make it stronger than instructions It make the cake so good}
  • 2-3 tbsp of rum. {optional}

For Meringue

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of Icing sugar {optional}

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF 180ºC/Gas 4/fan 160ºC. and grease a 9-inch pan. I love pyrex glass because you can actually see the cake.
  • Clean out your mixing bowl and wash the whisk attachment. You don’t want any bit of grease otherwise the eggs won’t form peaks.

THE CAKE

  • First, start beating the egg whites in a large bowl with a stand mixer at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • In a small bowl, I mixed yolks with sugar and vanilla. And in another mixing bowl mix flour and baking powder.
  • Once the egg whites form stiff peaks, add in slowly the egg yolk mixture. Scrap a little the sides. Mix for a couple of minutes.
  • Start adding the flour mixture little by little and mix for 1 more minute and turn off the mixer.
  • Now pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes. It will grow and be golden. Always check with a toothpick to confirm that is ready. Each oven is different.
  • While it is in the oven, let’s prepare the milk mixture and the meringue.

THE FILLING

  • For the Milk mixture, in a blender mix condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, and whole milk for a couple of minutes, and then add in the rum. You have no idea the delicious scent will come from it! Since it’s alcohol it will evaporate as soon as it has contact with the hot cake. So will only remain the amazing scent.
  • Set it in the fridge while the cake is ready.

THE MERINGUE

  • For the meringue, follow the instructions in my post: How to make an Awesome Italian Meringue. Probably the cake will be ready before your meringue but that’s ok because you should top the tres leches cake when it’s completely cool.
  • Once the cake is ready, take it off the oven and immediately poke holes with a fork all over the cake.
  • Start pouring the milk mixture all over the cake (sides and holes) If it fills up, wait for it to soak up the mixture and pour some more until you see it doesn’t absorb anymore.
  • Leave it to completely cool off before frosting it with the meringue.
  • When cool, pour your meringue on top of the cake and spread it all over, and with a spoon, pull it up slightly in sections to form peaks.
  • Let it rest overnight in the fridge so the flavors will intensify.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Keyword cake recipe, three milk cake, three Milk cake recipe, tres leches, tres leches cake

What do you think? Have you done a tres leches cake like this before? Any fun or yummy variation you could share with us?

Til' next time...

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14 Comments

  1. This looks so yummy. I am going to have to make this. Thanks for sharing over at the Snickerdoodle Sunday.

  2. Oh my goodness this looks amazing! I found you on the Snap Creativity link up. I’m a new food blogger and love meeting others, especially those in other countries. I’ve followed your social sites and hope we can connect on those. I look forward to reading more of your blog! Becky

    1. Thank you Becky!!! I’m looking forward to connect with you as well. Thank so much for your lovely visit! Glad you like this dessert!
      XOXO

  3. I cannot wait to make this Tres Leches cake! I grew up in Texas and it was very popular because of the culture there. I live in Nebraska now and people don’t know how DELICIOUS this cake is. Thanks for posting! I would love if you linked this up to Totally Terrific Tuesday! It goes live tonight at 9:00 CST.

    Sharon
    herorganizedchaos.com

  4. Mmmm, tres leches! After 15 years of living in South Florida, I sure do miss it- now I can make my own!!! So many thanks for linking up yesterday at Snickerdoodle Sunday- hope to see you again on Saturday with your latest makes!
    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

  5. I have been looking for a good recipe for Tres Leches for over a year now! None of the ones that I had found tasted how I wanted them to. I can’t wait to try your recipe, because I have a feeling that it’s going to be the exact one I’ve been searching for all this time. =0)