This Pastel De Tres Leches (Three Milk Cake) is an authentic Mexican recipe for the famous, creamy and spongy yellow cake. So delicious!

3 small plates with pieces of cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries

Tres Leches Cake

I’m not kidding when I say that this is the perfect Tres Leche Cake! It’s like a sponge cake then soaked with three milks and it holds up beautifully. You’re going to love this cake because it’s not soggy, it’s perfectly moist without being overly saturated. It has just the perfect amount of milk to make it creamy but not so wet.

If you like creamy recipes like Arroz Con Leche, Ensalada De Frutas and Horchata, then you’ve got to get in on this goodness!

Pastel De 3 Leches on a small plate being scooped with a fork
Delicious Mexican Tres Leches Cake!

Ingredients

For the Cake you’ll need:

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil

The tres leches mixture:

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • And media crema. The traditional recipe in Mexico uses media crema, however, if you can’t find it then heavy milk will do.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The toppings:

highly recommend homemade whipped cream as the commercial version does not compare! To make it you’ll need:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Then top with any kind of berries or canned fruit like peaches (very common in Mexico), nuts and even sprinkle with some cinnamon. It’s all about what you like!
Ingredients: A bowl with flour, eggs on the side, sugar & oil

How To Make Pastel De Tres Leches

It seems like there are a lot of steps to accomplish this cake but it’s actually easy. Just make sure to prep all of your ingredients beforehand you’ll be done in no time!

Start by baking the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Dry ingredients: sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy. About 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. When the eggs are fluffy, add the vanilla. Keep mixing for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the batter has multiplied and it’s not liquidy.
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture and using a spatula, fold the flour into the egg/sugar mixture. mix well. Repeat this process until all of the flour has been incorporated.
  1. Add the oil and fold gently into the batter. The consistency will be very light and creamy.
  1. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden brown, the middle springs back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  2. Place the cake on a wire rack and cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. Poke holes all over top of cake with a fork or a large thick wood skewer.

Make the 3 Leches

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the media crema (or heavy cream), evaporated milk, condensed milk and vanilla.
  2. Slowly drizzle half of milks mixture all over cake, letting liquid soak in before adding more.
  3. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

Make the Whipped Cream

Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. It took about 5 minutes for me.

Now it’s time to decorate your Paste De 3 Leches with your favorite toppings! Everyone’s favorite is strawberries and can sliced peaches. What’s yours?

This cake is so delicious and it’s perfectly moist without being overly saturated. Just splendid!

A rectangular baking dish with cake topped with whipped cream and two small plates on the side.


How to Store

First of all, it’s important to note that tres leches cake should be refrigerated if you’re not planning on eating it within a few hours. This is because the cake is soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk, which can spoil if left at room temperature for too long.

Fridge: To store your tres leches cake, simply cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil or in an airtight container. If you’re concerned about the cake sticking to the wrap or foil, you can place a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between the cake and the covering.

Freezer: If you need to store your tres leches cake for more than a few days, you can also freeze it. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. To thaw the cake, simply remove it from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

FAQ

What does tres leches cake taste like?

Pastel De Tres Leches is a dense, pudding like cake milk flavored dessert. Between bread pudding and arroz con leche. Sweet but not overly sweet. Just perfect!  

Does tres leches cake need to be refrigerated?

Tres Leches Cake needs to be refrigerated covered with a lid or plastic wrap. Since it has dairy in it, it can spoil very quickly if left on the counter for too long.

How long will a tres leches cake last?

Tres Leches Cake can last up to 4 days refrigerated but it taste better when consumed within two days. This recipe is so good it won’t last that long!

Cake squares on small little plates next to a bowl with strawberries

I hope you like this recipe! Share it, or leave a rating and comment below. For questions that need an answer right away, please contact  me and I’ll get back to you asap. Gracias!!!! xx, Ana

Print Recipe:

Taking a bite of a piece of cake with a white fork

Pastel De Tres Leches (Cake)

Servings 24 servings
Ana Frias
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
A classic Mexican cake. It may look small when it comes out of the oven but it puffs up after all the milk mixture has been absorbed by the cake.

Equipment

  • 9×13 inch bake pan
  • Hand or standing mixer
24 servings

Ingredients  

Cake
  • 1 ¼ cups (156g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Leches
  • 1 14 oz can, condensed milk
  • 12 oz can, evaporated milk
  • 1 7.6 oz can, media crema or 1 1/4 cups heavy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream & Toppings
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 cups berries to garnish, optional

Instructions 

Bake the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy. About 5 to 8 minutes.
  • When the eggs are fluffy, add the vanilla. Keep mixing for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the batter has multiplied and it's not liquidy.
  • Add one third of the flour mixture and using a spatula, fold the flour into the egg/sugar mixture. mix well. Repeat this process until all of the flour has been incorporated.
  • Add the oil and fold gently into the batter.
  • Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until cake is golden brown and middle springs back when pressed.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes.

Make 3 leches mixture

  • While the cake is cooling off, in a large bowl, whisk together the media crema (or heavy cream), evaporated milk, condensed milk and vanilla.

Assemble the cake

  • Poke holes all over top of cake with a fork or a large thick wood skewer. Slowly drizzle half of milks mixture all over cake, letting liquid soak in before adding more.
  • Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

Make the Whipped Cream

  • Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency.
  • Top the cake with the whipped cream plus berries or any other toppings you like.
  • Enjoy cold or room temperature

Muy Delish Notes:

Tres Leches Cake lasts up to 4 days in refrigerator. Best if eaten within 2 days. 

Add Your Own Private Notes

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Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

One piece of cake with strawberries on the side

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Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. Sounds absolutely delicious. I’m trying to replicate my wedding cake and will use this recipe. Can I make in two round 8 or 9 inch cake pans? If so what will the baking time be? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Mirna! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Yes you can bake it in 8 to 9 inch cake pans. It always depending on your oven but you can bake for about 25 minutes. Start checking the cake at about 22 minutes. If you can, run a test before your actual wedding cake to make sure there is no room for error. Please let me know how it turns out and again, congratulations!

  2. 5 stars
    Such a fantastic cake! The flavors sound amazing with a wonderful texture. I especially love the strawberries decorated on top.

  3. 5 stars
    So delicious. I made this with and for my 2 year old for her birthday. Everyone loved it. We will definitely use your recipe again. Excited to try some more recipes from Muy Delish. Thank you!

  4. Hi, I’m half- way through making your recipe and the sponge looks great but just wondering why I only pour half the cream mixture over the cake – what do I do with the other half as the recipe doesn’t say. Had this cake last weekend in a Mexican restaurant in London and it was amazing so have to recreate it at home. Your recipe looks very promising!

    1. Hi Juliette! You add half of the milk mixtures, let it soak, then add the rest. On that step it says “Poke holes all over top of cake with a fork or a large thick wood skewer. Slowly drizzle half of milks mixture all over cake, letting liquid soak in before adding more.”

      I hope this helps! I’m so happy you enjoyed this cake at a restaurant and are willing to give it a go! Please let me know how you liked it. Cheers!

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you for your reply Ana. The cake turned out amazingly and was a real hit with my family. I only added about 2/3 of the liquid this time as I read your reply too late but it was still delicious. I served a pool of the spare sauce with each portion (as the restaurant did this) and it worked well but I will soak it all in next time (and there will be a next time very soon). Thank you for the great recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this for my mom for Mother’s Day today. She loved it! It was absolutely delicious! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    1. Thank you Yaelan for your kind comments! I’m thrilled that This Tres leches cake was a hit for Mother’s day. That was so kind of you to make it for your mom! Thanks for the the review! It means a lot. XO, Ana

  6. 5 stars
    When I’ve tried this several times in different restaurants it was not for me BUT this recipe was excellent and made me a convert! THANKS again Muy Delish!

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe looks so simple and delicious! I’ve always loved Tres Leches but never actually made it. I can’t wait to try this recipe.