Tres Leches Cake

My husband and I used to go out for Valentine’s Day when we were dating. One year, we decided that enough was enough and that we’d just stay at home to make our own meal. After all, it was much more romantic to make a homemade meal and have fun working together in the kitchen. It’s been our tradition ever since, and this year was no different.

We decided to grill some steak and sear some fresh scallops for our romantic meal.  We just bought a new cast iron skillet and couldn’t wait to use it!  I saw this tres leches cake recipe on What’s Cookin, Chicago? a while back and have had it bookmarked. We finally decided that it was time to finally try it and make it as our romantic dessert.

The cake and milk fillings were very easy to put together, and I am almost ashamed to admit that this was my very first time making homemade whipped cream!  (hangs head)  My husband mentioned that the cake was slightly sweet for his tastes, but I thought it tasted great. I made the whipped cream topping the day before we actually ate it, and it broke down a bit and got slightly liquidy.  I would recommend making the whipped cream either immediately before serving or on the day you’ll enjoy the cake.

We had a delicious Valentine’s Day meal and hope you did too!

Tres Leches Cake

Meaning "3 milks," this tres leches cake is a traditional Latin American dessert
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Chilling time1 hour
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Cake
Servings: 24
Author: Eva Bakes



  • Cooking spray to grease cake pans
  • 6 and 3/4 ounces cake flour plus extra for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.
  • Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
  • Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

Make the glaze

  • Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Make the topping

  • Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Source: What's Cookin, Chicago?; originally from Alton Brown


  1. Laila
    February 23, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    My mom always put a pinch of cream of tarter in whipped cream to help it retain it's volume. Also, my neighbour introduced me to a product called "Whip It" by Dr Oetker. It's a powder, comes in a small packet, that you add to whipping cream for that purpose. Here in Canada it's located in the baking section, in with baking powder, baking soda, cake/cookie mixes, etc. Great recipes – thank you!

    • Eva
      February 23, 2012 / 3:21 pm

      Thank you for the tip, Laila! I'll have to try the cream of tartar trick next time I make whipped cream.

  2. ally_m146
    February 23, 2012 / 9:43 pm

    This sounds very yummy. I can't wait to try out some of your recipes!

  3. Lu A. Meyer
    February 24, 2012 / 2:08 am

    I think you & Matt have the right idea about Valentine's Day. This cake sounds delicious. I hope you'll make it for us the next time you are in Iowa. Your white chocolate cheesecake at Christmas time was fabulous. Love, Mom Lu

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