This Easy Tres Leches Cake is made using a box cake mix and other kitchen and pantry staple ingredients. It’s a crowd-pleasing cake that takes a minimum of time and effort.
This cake costs $8.86 to make. It makes twelve servings and costs $0.73 per serving.
For another fun Cinco de Mayo dessert, try our Shortcut Fried Ice Cream.
Tres Leches Cake
This Tres Leches cake is easy to make, moist, and rich in taste. Everyone always loves it! It is a recipe you will use over and over.
The Tres Leches cake is soaked in a sweet milk mixture and then topped with homemade whipped cream, cinnamon, and strawberry slices. It is a simple Mexican dessert that is not only less expensive than a slice at your favorite restaurant but also tastes way better!
We recently ordered a slice of Tres Leche at a Mexican Restaurant, and it was so bland that we couldn’t even finish it. However, we knew we could make it better ourselves, and that is what we set out to do.
This recipe is perfect for Cinco de Mayo, but we make it for family parties, summer BBQs, and potlucks because it is delicious. In addition, this sponge-like cake can be made in advance, making it a total time saver.
We believe it is even better if it is made the day before to allow the cake to soak up all of the sweet milk mixture. The beauty of this cake is that it holds all the moisture without falling apart.
This Tres Leches Cake is fool-proof, making it simply the BEST!
Ingredients & Estimated Cost:
- 1 box yellow cake mix – $1.00
- 4 eggs – $0.68
- 1 ⅓ cups whole milk – $0.30
- ½ cup butter – $0.75
- 4 teaspoons vanilla – $1.02
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk – $1.23
- 12-ounce can evaporated milk – $0.92
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream – $2.80
- ¼ cup powdered sugar – $0.16
To learn more about how we price our recipes, check out Budget Recipes Explained.
HOW TO MAKE TRES LECHES CAKE
- First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray the baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Next, using a stand mixer, stir together the cake mix, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla.
- Then, pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely after baking.
- Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and the whole milk in a medium-sized bowl.
- Set the bowl aside and use a knife to cut slits all over the top of the cake. Slowly pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake. The milk mixture will seep into the slits as it covers the cake.
- Place the cake in the fridge to chill for at least two hours to soak up the milk mixture.
- Make the whipped topping by beating the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Finally, spread the whipped topping over the cake with a rubber scraper. Dust the top with cinnamon and garnish with sliced strawberries.
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
RECIPE VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- While we prefer homemade whipped topping, you can use store-bought Cool Whip as a substitution for the cake topping.
STORAGE AND SERVING TIPS
MAKE IN ADVANCE: You can make this cake 1-2 days in advance. However, we actually prefer making it 24 hours in advance.
SERVE: You can keep this cake out for about two hours before it needs to be covered and refrigerated.
STORE: Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for three to five days.
FREEZE: You can freeze the Tres Leches Cake with a few caveats. First, it cannot be frosted. Second, it needs to go into the freezer right after the three milk mixture is poured over it. Third, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for 2-3 months.
THAW: Thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight before frosting and serving.
- Stand mixer
- Measuring cups
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Rubber scraper
- Mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- 9×13-inch baking dish
Tres Leches Cake is an authentic Latin American recipe that can be ordered in most Mexican restaurants and bakeries. It is popular across the United States.
Tres Leches is a Spanish term that translates to sweet milk. After baking the cake, it is soaked in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and evaporated milk. The light cake is moist and sweet but balanced with a whipped cream topping followed by cinnamon and strawberry slices.
Tres Leches cake can best be compared to an Angel Food cake. The sponge cake is rich in flavor and sweet-tasting from soaking up the milk mixture.
GET KIDS INVOLVED
Ages 2-3: For a fun counting game while helping in the kitchen, have your child count the strawberry slices as they help you garnish the top of the cake with the strawberries.
Ages 4-5: Count the ingredients for the cake batter with your child as they help pour the ingredients into the stand mixer. They can also help garnish the cake with cinnamon.
Ages 6-8: Ask your child to pre-measure the ingredients. Teach them how to make the whipped cream. This is a simple recipe they can master at a young age and use in various recipes.
Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe, unsupervised, while you do the happy dance in the corner!
MORE MEXICAN RECIPES
- How to Make Canned Refried Beans Taste Like Restaurant Style
- Spanish Rice
- Mexican Lasagna
- Dorito Taco Salad
- Mexican Fruit Salad
- Machaca Burritos
- Easy Navajo Tacos
- Green Chile Enchilada Casserole
- Mexican Chicken Rice Bowls
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Easy Tres Leches Cake
- stand mixer
- measuring cups
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- rubber scraper
- mixing bowl
- cutting board
- paring knife
- 9×13-inch baking dish
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
FOR THE LECHE POUR:
- 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 12- ounce can evaporated milk
- ⅓ cup whole milk
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- Cinnamon for dusting the top of the cake
- strawberries sliced thin, optional
PREP OVEN AND PAN:
- Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine the cake mix, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until smooth.
- Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely.
MAKE LECHE POUR:
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and the whole milk until combined.
- Use a knife to cut slits all over the top of the cake.
- Slowly pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake. The milk mixture should seep into the slits as it covers the cake.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least two hours up to twenty-four hours to allow the cake to soak up the milk mixture.
- Using a stand mixer combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.
- Evenly spread the whipped cream over the cake with a rubber scraper. Dust the top with cinnamon. Garnish with sliced strawberries (optional).