February 18, 2014

Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Rich, sweet and fragrant, tres leches cake combines the best of a tender, airy cake and a sweet vanilla custard. In other words, it is to-die-for good! This cake gets its name from the three milks (in Spanish, “Tres Leches”) used in the custard that is poured over an airy sponge cake base. Served with fresh spring berries, this cake recipe provides the foundation for what I firmly believe is the very best strawberry shortcake, hands down!

Tres leches cake recipe - Cake and sweet custard all in one. Indescribably good!


Tres Leches Cake

Serving size: 18

Calories: 407

Fat: 20g

This cake recipe combines the tender, spicy crumb of a sponge cake with the goodness of a rich vanilla custard. Top with fresh sliced strawberries for a decadent spin on strawberry shortcake!
For the custard
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the custard
  1. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on low power for approximately 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes, until mixture has caramelized and darkened in color slightly. Whisk in evaporated milk, cream and vanilla; set mixture aside to cool.
To prepare the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13" pan; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and next four ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Place stick of butter and whole milk in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until butter in melted, stirring often. Remove pan from heat.
  4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixture outfitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are totally incorporated. Slowly add the 2 cups sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is thickened and lightened in color, approximately 4-5 minutes. Stir in the hot melted butter mixture and the vanilla. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment. Add the flour mixture to the bowl in three additions, stirring well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  5. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes in the top of the cooked cake that are about ½ inch apart. Slowly pour the evaporated milk mixture over the top of the cake, making sure it is evenly distributed. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.
  6. Before serving, whip the 1 cup heavy cream, corn syrup and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the topping over the cake.
  7. Serve chilled, and topped with fresh sliced berries, if desired.
It is rare that I prepare a dessert that I find utterly irresistible, but this is definitely a cake that falls into that category. You just can’t believe how incredibly delicious this cake is until you try it for yourself! Something about the way the spices and vanilla in the cake fuse with the creamy cake gives this a fresh, almost tropical feel.

Tres leches cake recipe - Cake and sweet custard all in one. Indescribably good!

Tres leches cake recipe - Cake and sweet custard all in one. Indescribably good!


Do the dreary days of winter have you clamoring for spring? Throw winter a curveball by preparing some one these other terrific spring-like recipes!

Fresh Strawberry-Lime Pie

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake

Buttermilk Pie

Amy @ Positively Splendid

Amy @ Positively Splendid

Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you'll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.
Amy @ Positively Splendid
Amy @ Positively Splendid

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2 Responses to Tres Leches Cake Recipe

  1. Crystal February 18, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but….I’ve never had a Tres Leches cake. There I said it. It looks delicious. I’m pinning the recipe for later.

  2. Janet February 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Well this looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I have never had this cake so I am looking forward to trying it-gluten free, of course 🙂

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