Tres Leches Cake, A Latin Dessert

In the event that you can only have one and only one dish, make sure it’s a dessert, especially if you can lay your hands on a Tres Leches Cake (made with three types of milk)! As delicious as this dessert is, there seems to be some dispute over it’s origin. Some historians believe that it originated in Nicaragua, some say Mexico. One thing is sure…there are not enough words to describe this cake that just melts in your mouth. Latin desserts are just the greatest whether you have a sweet tooth or not — churros, flan, Tres Leches to name a few.
We really want you to go ahead dig into this one without a worry in the world.

Prep Time: 30 min + overnight refrigeration
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 20-24 pcs.
Ingredients:

For the Cake:
All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 2.25 cups
Baking Powder – 1.5 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Eggs – 4
Sugar – 1.5 cups
Vanilla – 1.5 tsp
Cold Water – 3/4 cup

For the Milks:
Evaporated Milk – 2, 12 oz cans
Sweetened Condensed Milk – 2, 14 oz cans
Heavy Whipping Cream – 2, 1 pint cartons/ 16 oz / 2 cups

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F/ 162 C.
2. Break Eggs into a bowl and whisk till the Eggs are light and fluffy.
3. Meanwhile also sift Flour, baking Powder and Salt and keep aside.
4. Mix the vanilla to the Cold Water and keep aside.
5. Once the Eggs are done, add a little bit of Sugar at a time and keep whisking.
6. Then add in the Flour mixture and Vanilla & Water mixture to the Eggs and keep beating.
7. Keep adding a little at a time till both the mixtures finish.
8. Keep whisking till the batter is smooth and has no lumps.
9. Grease and prep a 13X9 inch baking dish.
10. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 45 min in the middle of the oven.
11. For the Milks: mix 1 can of Condensed Milk, 1 can of Evaporated Milk and 1 pint of Heavy Cream.
12. Insert a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean it is done.
13. Once baked, while it is still cooling, poke holes in the cake every 1/8th of an inch apart.
14. While still hot, pour the Milks over the cake allowing it to seep in through the holes and letting the cake absorb the Milks.
15. Cover the cake and refrigerate the cake overnight.
16. Next day repeat the process: mix another batch of milks and pour more over the cake.
17. Allow the Cake to absorb as much as possible and cover and chill till ready to serve.
18. At the time of serving pour a spoon or two of the Milks, top with some Cool Whip and a Strawberry.
19. Sit back and enjoy the compliments!

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124 thoughts on “Tres Leches Cake, A Latin Dessert

  1. I tried yesterday and it turned out sooo well. My 11 year old who never liked store bought tres leches became an instant fan of this. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  2. Hi Hetal & Anuja!!

    I made tres leches last evening. This is the first time I had made a cake from scratch( Any cake). Needless to say, though it turned out pretty good… I felt it was lacking in something… but could not pin point exactly what was missing.

    I had followed the recipe to the T but when I tasted it… I felt the cake tasted a bit… under baked.

    Also… what trick/tip would you suggest so that my batter is fluffy?? I think my batter was… err… a little limp. πŸ™

    Hope I do a lot better the second time. πŸ™‚

  3. Hi guys, thanks for all your efforts in sharing your recipes. This one from Nicaragua is simple delicious, the only thing different is that they top the cake with meringue then they put in the broiler for 1 min.or brown it with a kitchen torch till it browns a little and then they add 12 whole maraschino cherries to decorate.
    Meringue:
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    3 egg whites
    Once the meringue is patchy brown and decorated you can put it in the refrigerator, it won’t collapse. Enjoy it.

  4. Hey Hetal and Anuja! I am planning it to do the cake this weekend and i live in Europe… Here everything is totally opposite than compared to US.. So can u pls suggest me as how much should i use the evaporated milk (either in ml or in Cups) as its not by weight and when i converted it, its totally different… the other 2 milks i am fine just getting confused only with this evaporated milk… Help Me… I really love this cake and wanted to try it very badly… Pls can u reply to me as soon as possible…

  5. Thanks for the great recipe. I made it last weekend and couldn’t stop eating till I finished it. It was just so delicious.

    Great job!!!

  6. Tried this recently but the cake did not absorb a single drop of liquid — 4 days later, the milk layer is still sitting on top of the cake layer even after I made holes and slices through the cake! What could have gone wrong? The cake was very very dense — I followed the recipe exactly .. oven setting of 160 deg C? Should it have been 180?

    1. Hi Ansy,

      Sorry to hear that. It is a lot of liquid to absorb and all of it will not be absorbed. We had quite a bit left over that we used to garnish the cake while serving. Are you saying that NONE of the liquid was absorbed? The cake is purposely dense so that when the liquid goes in, it does not become mushy and still holds shape. If the cake baked properly in the required time, the temp is fine.

      1. Thanks for the reply Hetal πŸ™‚ . Yes, none of the liquid was was absorbed. I’m guessing something was wrong with the texture of my cake. It was still quite pale, but the skewer came out clean, and ‘holing’ it was a bit of an effort because it was so dense. Does that sound right? Can you describe the consistency/appearance when it comes out of the oven?

        Thanks in advance and thank you for this wonderful website! Such a nice blend of professional, helpful, consistent, friendly and so so instructive. Superb job πŸ™‚

        1. Thanks Ansy!

          Unfortunately, I am at a loss for giving you an explanation. It took us a bit of effort to poke holes into the cake. Like I mentioned, if the cake is not dense, it will turn to mush when the liquid is added. The appearance of the cake as it came out of the oven was golden brown (not completely pale). Also, we had to add the liquid a little at a time to help it absorb…not all at once.

  7. made it today,OMG it was superliciously yummy,when i poured the milk for the 1st time all of it was absorbed instantly,since i couldnt resist i had a big piece of it immediately,It was delish but too sweet for me so i eliminated condenced milk the second time to balance it out & it was perfect,glad i tasted it if not would have been ultra sweet,will surely cut down on sugar next time,keep up the good work ladies,u both rock & hetal i had a feeling that i saw u at gaylord restaurant in chicago with ur family( may be a month or 2 back ),just curious,plz do let me know

  8. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    I have a couple of vegan friends who use a powdered egg substitute called Ener-G which can be found at health food stores. I’m not sure what it would taste like, but lots of vegans use it for baking. Perhaps your vegan viewers could try it and see if it works for them. πŸ™‚

  9. hi anuja and hetal. ur videos are amazing and so helpful. the tres leches cake looks delicious. i cant wait to try it out but is there a substitute for the eggs? i usually use butter in cakes and stuff but i dont know if i cud do this 4 this cake. thank u!

    1. Hi Janvi,
      Unfortunately, there is nothing that we have come across that can substitute for eggs in this cake…hopefully if some viewers have some input, they will share πŸ™

  10. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    omg this recipe is too good. I jut love it!!! I have tried it many times. We all just love it. Thnx for this wonderful recipe!!!!!!!!

    BYE!!! n keep posting such wonderful recipes!
    BYE!!!! TC!!!!.

  11. I Just Wanted To Say Thank You Very Much For This recipe My Family Loved It Especially My Husband! He Said This Cake Was The Real Deal! Not Like The Ones From Bakeries And Stores! And Since Everybody Loved It Today is My Second Time Making It (I Doubled The Ingredients :)) They Loved It So Much They Wanted Me To Make It Again!! Thank You Very Much For This Wonderful Recipe!! πŸ™‚ @)–>->–

    1. Hi Akshaya,
      This is more of a soft (soggy) cake! The milk is all absorbed by the cake and is closer to a pudding (melt in your mouth) than a cake.

  12. Hi,
    i want to try Tres Leches Cake, A Latin Dessert.I am inviting my friend and her husband. i just want to mae that cake for 4 yo 5 people max. but the Ingredients measurements in your website is more. Is it possible for you to send half measurement of it. i am not able to calculate properly.

    thanks
    Bharathi

    1. Hi Bharthi,
      It is very hard to halve the recipe. We suggest you make the whole cake, freeze half of it and use half right now. When you are ready to use the frozen half, defrost, warm a little in the oven and pour the milks! Quick dessert πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amrita,

      We suggest that you use some instant non-fat dry milk (milk powder) and less than half the recommended amount of water and mix well.
      Should do the trick.

  13. hi Anuja and Hetal,

    Thanks a ton for this wonderful recipe. I tried it and it turned out yummy…I got lots of compliments. I myself found it very sweet, will it be fine if I add 1 cup of sugar rather than 1.5 cups next time?

  14. tres leches is NOT from MEXICO! it IS from NICARAGUA! i love you girls, but it would mean the world to me, my mother & my grandmother if you researched this & corrected it! respectfully, Varinia =)

  15. Hi Hetal and Anuja!

    This cake looks delicious. Can i use an 8×8 inch baking pan instead of 13×9 inch pan as specified in the video. Plz reply soon…wanna make it for valentine’s day.

    Thanks in advance,
    Ria

    1. Hi Ria,

      Your 8X8 pan will be too small. The pan has to be big enough not only to bake the cake in, but also to be able to absorb a lot of liquid. You may be able to cut the recipe down in half and use your pan.

  16. Hetal & Anuja, thanks for this awesome recipe! What a coincidence that a co-worker of mine, of Mexican origin was talking to me about this cake just a couple of days ago! She promised to get me a sample from a Mexican bakery if she finds the time to go there, so imagine the surprise when I take this home-baked cake to her!:)

    Can I use half-and-half, instead of heavy whipping cream in this recipe?

    -Noela.

    1. Hi Noela,

      That’ll be a great surprise! Yes, you can use half and half but this cake is all about richness so you may lose some of that without the whipping cream.

  17. Hello Hetal & Anuja,

    Wonderful recipe. Thank you for showing it step by step. I so wanna do it at home. I want to make half the quantity you guys have made. Now when I cut the ingredients by half do I also do the same for the baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract?

    Thanks
    Sanchitha

    1. Hi Sanchitha,

      Yes, you can cut all the ingredients in half. Your baking time may be a little different (less) so be sure to keep a close eye on it.

  18. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    I have been a silent admirer of your shows for a while now.You guys are doing a great job!!!!
    Just a couple of days back I saw your tres leches cake recipe and I was amazed by the coincidence because I just made it for new years !!!I followed this recipe http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate-tres-leches-cake-109914.aspx.
    It turned out awesome, there are some variations to your recipe in the above site which you make like cause it calls for half the amount of liquids plus uses melted chocolate and sour cream!! instead of heavy whipping cream.
    The end result was awesome and everybody loved it!!
    So do give it a try.
    Again ladies awesome job!!! keep it up!!!!

    1. Hi Jassy,

      It will be hard to make the original tres leches recipe without eggs, but one of our viewers commented that she tried this same method with our Eggless Dates and Walnut cake recipe (soaking with the milks) and she loved it.

  19. Hi, I made this cake three months ago but i used halfwq
    the quantities of all the liquid ingredients with that u can aviod pooling of milks on the cake, it looks messey,once the cake absorbs the milks u can also do icing on the cake and when it is served there is no need to pour the milks again on the cake it becomes tooo sweet…what do u say?

    1. Hi Farzana,
      We have tried it with half the milk and we felt that the cake had dry spots and not as moist as it is supposed to be, but it is always an option and personal preference. I am not too crazy about sweet stuff and do not have a sweet tooth and a lot of times when I make desserts, folks tell me and remind me that it is a ‘dessert’… πŸ˜‰
      When you make it for me….I would love it with half the milk….what do ‘you’ say?
      πŸ™‚ Happy Holidays!

  20. Made this cake today. This is the first time i have baked a cake. It is awesome. Thank you so much for your time and effert to inspire us to cook.

  21. Hey ur recipe seems to be very delicious…I m gonna try out this today….I wanna ask u something where do you get Sweetened Condensed Milk ? I never found in walmart. πŸ™ Can we replace this with cool whip cream? Plz let me know..? And what is the difference between evaporated milk and normal milk? Can I make a mixture of normal milk and cool whip cream /whipping cream? thanks in advance…

    1. Hi Anaaya,

      You can find sweetened condensed milk in the same aisle in Walmart as you find the evaporated milk (baking goods aisle). You cannot substitute cool whip in this recipe. Evaporated milk is regular milk that has some of it’s moisture content removed. It is still in liquid form.

      1. Thank u so much…:) I made it…it was delicious n yummy…Let me tell u one change i did instead of a plain cake I made banana walnut cake…so u also get a flavor of banana..n walnut..with this recipe…

  22. Hi Hetal and Anuja

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas …
    I made this cake for our Christmas Party and it was WOW !!! It was soooo delicious and …. “NO WORDS”
    For two days I was wondering what dessert to make and wednesday evening I saw this recipe … THANKS A TON … The name of the dessert is also cute …

    Have a Blessed Christmas ..

    1. Thanks so much Bindu! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed the cake. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  23. can we use vanilla tea or sponge cake (ready made) skip the process of baking a cake. wont it be real timesaver..
    just add the milks chill and serve..

    1. Hi Soumya,

      The sponge cake probably will not work because the cake should be a little harder in texture. It has to be strong enough to hold all that milk and not become mushy.

    1. Hi Lavi,
      We have never tried it with flax seed and a are waiting for one of you guys to try it! πŸ˜‰
      If you do try it, we suggest you try it on a half portion and donÒ€ℒt forget to let us know what the results wereÒ€¦we are sure itÒ€ℒll be very helpful to other viewers too.

    1. Hi Chandana,
      I think I was so busy drooling at the cake that I made so many little mistakes. Thanks for being there and pointing out our mistakes…
      πŸ˜‰

      1. Made this cake today and it was a GREAT HIT! So heavy, but soooooo good. Followed the recipe to the T and it turned out really well.

  24. hi hetal n anuja

    my sons b’day is comming on jan29th i defi try this out n will tell u how this cum out!! last time we made tirmasu italian ..this time we try this….u r really rocking

  25. I think 1.5 cup sugar on the video while beating eggs is missing from the printed recipe. I love Tres Leches cake and I am definitely going to try making it at home.

    Thank you.

  26. Which one of the 2 Heavy whipping cream is really evaporated milk?(typo of heavy whipping cream mentioned twice in the ingredients for the Milks)
    Thanks,
    Shakuntala

  27. A really yummy-looking cake Anuja and Hetal!!! Is there anything that I can substitute for the heavy whipping cream, since it is not easily available in India???…Could u please put in a recipe for a cheesecake???

  28. My mum use to make this cake when I was child, and it reminds my of my childhood.
    But in my country it’s hard to find condensed milk, I think she used just milk and sugar instead of whipping cream and condensed milk.
    But, the cake was just like yours! It soaked all the milk. it was fluffy and delicious!

    So, can I use just milk and whipping cream with sugar?

    1. Hi Alexa,
      We have never tried it but if your Mom did that then we are sure it’ll work (plus Moms know best). Do let us know the results and we are sure it’ll be helpful to us and the viewers.

  29. Hi,

    The recipe looks awesome…..I was just wondering if I can use flakeseed powder as a substitue for eggs in this recipe?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Payal,
      We have never tried it with flax seed and a are waiting for one of you guys to try it! πŸ˜‰
      If you do try it, we suggest you try it on a half portion and don’t forget to let us know what the results were…we are sure it’ll be very helpful to other viewers too.

  30. wow amazing recipe, am going 2 try dis out….. can’t we omit the heavy whipping cream and i would like 2 see ur version of chicken fajitas
    thanks

    1. Hi Amulya,
      The heavy cream gives creaminess and richness to the milks…go ahead, try it out without it and like we say…you never know till you experiment!

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