Tres Leches Cake


My husband celebrates his birthday in March, and I get all excited thinking about and planning his birthday cake at least a month early. Usually I decide on the flavor, make the cake, decorate it, and he is happy with whatever it is☺️. This time, though, I thought I’d let him choose the cake he wanted for his big day. And what does he choose? Tres Leches, of course.”. Huh…Tres Leches, the most undecoratable of all cakes?  And here I had this romantic tall layer cake in mind which I would then cover in mint green fondant with gold decorations…hmm😳. Forget fondant, I was pretty sure it would not hold up to buttercream decorations even. And tall layer cake…ya, right!


Tres Leches is one cake I prefer not to make at home. Why, you ask? Because I live in Texas, and all those lovely authentic Mexican restaurants and panaderias (bakeries) here serve amazing Tres Leches cake. And of course, like I mentioned earlier, there is the undecoratability factor when it comes to these cakes. It is just too moist and frail for any decorating, forget stacking and sculpting.

TL8eThis recipe by the Pioneer Woman is a very popular one and is foolproof. I changed it up a bit by adding a bit of cinnamon to the cake batter and a little rum to the soaking syrup. And instead of baking it in a sheet pan, I decided to try my luck and used three 6-inch pans. The recipe specifies using all but 1 cup of the syrup, but I used all of it. See all that yummy puddles of  ooey gooey goodness..mmmmm!


Although the cakes rose well while baking, the sides did shrink once cool. I placed one layer on a plate, poked it with a skewer (works better than a fork) and poured 1/3 of the soaking syrup on top. After waiting for all the syrup to be soaked in, I spread a thin layer of condensed milk on top. I poked the next layer with the skewer before placing it on top of the first layer.  After placing this layer on top, I poured another 1/3 soaking syrup on it. By this time, I knew it could not take another layer on top and I decided to stop with two layers. The cake was chilled in the fridge for a good 4 to 5 hours before decorating it. And since I had absolutely no idea how to decorate it, I simply piped some flowers all over using sweetened whipped cream.

Although quite simple, there is something very sweet and charming about this cake, don’t you think?

Tres Leches Cake

Recipe source: The Pioneer Woman



1 cup all purpose flour

11/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

5 large eggs

1 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Soaking syrup:

1 cup evaporated milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. dark rum (optional)


I pint heavy cream

3 tbsp. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and rum (if using) in a small pitcher. When the cake is cool, pierce the surface with a skewer several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.

Spread over the surface of the cake. Chill it in the fridge overnight and serve.

3 thoughts on “Tres Leches Cake

  1. I’ve only had this cake once when friend made it for me. And I’ve kind of forgotten about it. I’m so glad you posted on it. Saving this recipe – thanks!!!

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