Tres Leches Cake


Of all the fun holidays that we make special themed treats for as food bloggers, Cinco de Mayo may be my favorite. I’m not one to go crazy on the actual day, but any day where I have an excuse to drink a margarita and eat Mexican food is a holiday worth celebrating. I’m such a sucker for Mexican food and the desserts have become a weakness in the last few years as well. Churros, Dulce de Leche anything, and this, Tres Leches Cake, have me over the moon.


It also doesn’t hurt that I have a dear friend Dilia who happens to be Mexican, and loved the idea of coming over to help me bake something traditional and delicious. She’s the best company and actually just went ahead and washed all my dishes while I photographed this cake. I would like her in my kitchen all the time please!


Anyway, I love love tres leches cake, and have been dreaming of it since I had a to die for piece in Costa Rica for our honeymoon. It’s just dripping with the sweetest milk which makes the cake so perfectly textured and delicious. A hint of rum adds a wonderful kick, but it’s equally good without!


The sponge cake recipe only has four ingredients, and yet is by far the only semi-challenging part of this recipe. After it comes out of the oven it’s only a matter a time before you’re drenching the cake with the leche goodness and slathering it with whipped cream and cinnamon. Easy peasy!

This weekend I couldn’t be more excited to be attending King Arthur Flour’s annual “Blog & Bake” up in Vermont. I get to meet a dozen new bloggers including Brandy who I get to road trip up with early Sunday morning!! Stay tuned for any shenanigans via Instagram, and you can expect a full recap next week! Have a wonderful weekend!


Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

Yield: 1 - 8 or 9 inch cake
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the cake:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the leches:

  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons rum, optional


  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F- and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously butter the inside and sides of a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan and line with a parchment round. Sprinkle lightly with flour- set aside.
  2. Sift the cake flour, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Use a large whisk to vigorously beat the yolks and sugar until they are pale, thick and creamy. (About 5 minutes.) Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. In a very clean stand mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running- gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, pile about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold them together until smooth. Add half of the flour and continue to gently fold, being careful to not deflate the egg whites. Repeat with another third of egg whites, the rest of the flour, and the last third of whites. Do not over-mix, but batter should be smooth, airy and fluffy.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment, then flip the cake right side up so it can cool.
  8. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, stir together the 3 milks and rum if using. When the cake has cooled for about 15-20 minutes. Use a fork to make holes all around the top of the cake for maximum milk-soakage.
  9. Place the cake on a large rimmed plate or cake stand. Pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly, letting it soak in before adding more. Make sure to get all around the edges and sides, spooning spilled-over milk back onto the top if necessary. You may not need all the milk, but continue to really drench the cake until you think it's evenly soaked.
  10. Chill in the fridge for minimum of one hour.
  11. Whip cream in a chilled bowl and fold in the powdered sugar. Spoon the cream over the chilled cake and top with cinnamon.


Sponge Cake Recipe from: Williams Sonoma

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


  1. It’s such a pity that we don’t celebrate Cinco De Mayo here in Italy! And I’m also ashamed to admit that, even if I really like Mexican food, I’ve never tried a tres leches cake…your pictures literally made me craving some! I can’t wait to try out this recipe for my next tea party, I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

    Have a fabulous weekend :)
    xo, Elisa

    1. Why is it a shame that Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Italy? Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the “Mexican” militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862 so why should the people of in Italy set aside that day to celebrate something they were not part of? Only in America do we celebrate everything, even if we had no involvement in as a reason to drink. More then half of America often time don’t even know the meaning being Cinco de Mayo let alone even Saint Patrick’s day.

      On another note. I made this recipe and it fairs well.

  2. Yum! Thanks for the reminder… so many fun options come up for treats to celebrate Cinco de Mayo but Tres Leches rarely gets enough attention… this looks like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Omg, I JUST made tres leches cake myself! My fiance’s 30th birthday was a few weeks ago and he loves tres leches. I thought I hated it but I tried a slice and it turns out I love it too! I made a banana version but your classic version with cinnamon looks delightful!

  4. Am a huge fan of your blog. Wanted to let you know that publishing source is not showing up in ZipList. I am food blogger as well and interactive strategist. Just added Carlyn’s Corner to ZipList and jumped through some hoops to get it all showing correctly. You’ll see that publisher is coming up as unknown and thought you might want to reach out to ZipList to have them correct. Erin at ZipList should be able to help you Erin G
    Keep the great recipes coming! Harvey

  5. Thanks for the reminder! It is one of my favs. I first tried it years ago out of a Martha Stewart Mag. I thought a cake soaked in milk was weird. When the cake came out of the oven and I poured on what seemed like way to much milk, the milk just kept disappearing. Worth making just to watch this happen, so fun. Then i tasted it. Instant love affair! When you male the milk mixture, save 1/4 to put in your coffee that you will have with the cake. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it!

    1. I agree! I loved watching the cake soak up all that milk! Really like a sponge huh? Good tip for saving milk for coffee! :)

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever had an official Tres Leches cake, and now is the perfect excuse to make one!

  7. loved your timely post…my first taste of this cake was in texas several years ago and i, too, have been craving it so have the ingredients all ready…i am lazy and just use a white cake mix and bake in a 9 x 13 pan…all the sweetness stays in the pan….thanks for the reminder of weekend dessert!!!!

  8. How super exciting about KAF!! Can’t wait to hear a recap of your trip!

    I love tres leches cake but have yet to attempt it! Something about that sort of mushy but awesome cake makes me so happy.

  9. Tres Leches was my favorite dessert when I lived in Puerto Rico. When I moved to the states I was do disappointed to learn the Tres Leches wasn’t all the popular. Your cake looks so amazing and brings back so many memories :)

  10. I haven’t even started thinking about Cinco de Mayo yet, but I’d better get on it :) This cake looks amazing, especially the fluffy whipped cream topping! Have a blast at the KAF event, can’t wait to hear about it!

  11. I tried to make Tres Leches cake once. The disaster that occurred that day oh so many years ago in my mothers kitchen is one that I’d rather not reminisce on. This is the first time I bothered reading a recipe for one since and it looks rather doable. I didn’t even get bad flashbacks!

    Cake looks gorgeous and I think I’m going to give this a shot one day.

  12. Hi!

    First of all, i love your recipes collection. Tried one of your bread recipe turned out lovely.

    Now i would love to make this Tres Leche Cake, but i would like to know is this came out very sweet? Because i love cake but not a fan of too sweet cakes. Thanks before!

    Have a lovely day. xx

    1. HI Kath,
      I would say it’s a sweet cake but not overly sweet. You can also limit the amount of the sweetened milk that you pour over if you’d like and use more of the other two!

  13. Hi, thank you for this recipe, I have been looking for a good one for a long time. This is the first sponge that came out right, it’s so exciting. This is my choice for my daughter’s first Bday, so I am practicing. I do have a question, It came out with a very strong smell of eggs. Is there any way I can fix this, maybe add more vanilla? or is it supposed to smell like this? I haven’t tried it yet, its still soaking up the milks. TIA

  14. our peruvian recipe for tres leches cake is:
    3 eggs room temperature
    1 cup of cake flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon of baking powder
    1/4 cup of milk
    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

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    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
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  16. Hi. The Tres Leches Cake looks AMAZING. My question is what kind of cake flour you use: regular or self rising. Thank you….

  17. do you think if I doubled the recipe and then stacked them that this could be made as a double layer cake? I need it for 11 people and I’m afraid just one single one isn’t enough, especially since they all love tres leches! I’ve seen pictures of stacked ones before but they always looked a little drier and I want a nice moist cake.

  18. Can this be done the day before or does cake have to be served sa me day it’s made?

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