Step By Step Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake, which translates as “three milks cake” in English, is a popular Mexican dessert made by soaking a yellow cake in sweet, creamy milk. Cinnamon is the traditionally topping for this cake, but it’s delicious with many variations. Learn how to make a tres leches cake and choose from several toppings.



  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Tres Leches

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 small can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or light rum, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


For Cake:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set them aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice until soft peaks form. Set them aside.
    In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until they’re pale yellow and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture falls from the beaters in ribbons. Add the 1/3 cup cold water, vanilla and almond to the egg yolk mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients.
    Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
  2. Grease and flour a 10 inch round cake pan. Spoon the batter into the pan, and level it with a spatula. Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes
  3. Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife, place a serving platter, upside down, over the pan, and gently turn the cake out onto the platter. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cake, and let it cool for an additional 30 minutes.
Classic Banana Split Cake

For Tres Leches:

  1. While the cake is cooling, combine the heavy cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and brandy, rum or vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout.

Applying the Tres Leches:

  1. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, pour the milk mixture over it slowly, pausing to allow it to soak in. Refrigerate the cake for several hours before frosting; this allows the cake to absorb the milk.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract until peaks form. Make sure not to over beat. Set them aside.

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake

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