Tres Leches Cake

This recipe has been featured in a post on The Recipe Girl blog: Cuban Dinner Party Menu.

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Tres Leches Cake

This is a completely rich and decadent, sweet milk-syrup soaked Latin cake. I love everything about it.


1 cup granulated white sugar, divided
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon dark Cuban rum

fresh whipped cream, ice cream, cocoa powder, mango, star fruit, etc.


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9-inch baking dish.

2. Prepare cake: Beat 3/4 cup sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this batter into the buttered baking dish. Bake the cake until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30-45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in a baking dish. Pierce the cake all over with a fork, taking care to not tear it up.

3. Prepare milk syrup: Combine all milk syrup ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended. Pour the syrup over the cake, spooning the overflow back on top, until it is all absorbed.

4. When ready to serve, cut a slice and plate it. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a side of ice cream. Dust cake with cocoa powder and garnish with fruit.

Source: (Reprinted with permission from Mary Luz Mejia)

17 Responses to “Tres Leches Cake”

  1. postedJun 5, 2009 7:36 PM

    I made a semi-homemade tres leches cake and while good I know it wasn’t as good as a homemade one. Now this one? I betting was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better! Thanks for sharing I need to make a “real” one!

  2. postedFeb 26, 2010 2:36 PM

    This is my go to tres leches. It never fails me and bakes high and mighty every time! My only adaptation is that sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon and more milk usually 2% or whatever we have around the house if it looks like it needs more milk soak. Yummy!

  3. postedJul 23, 2010 1:08 AM

    Unfortunately,I can’t find evaporated milk in my country , can I substitute it with regular milk or something else?

    • July 23rd, 2010 @ 4:41 AM

      @saly, I’m not sure- haven’t tried it with anything else.

  4. postedJul 31, 2010 11:39 AM

    Thanks. I made it with the combination coffee mate and regular milk . As I’ve never had something like this , I’m not sure if it was ok or not! but it was too sweet for my taste. I added coffee to part of it and it moderated the sweetness and turned out nice.

    • July 31st, 2010 @ 12:01 PM

      @saly, It’s a very rich, sweet latin cake! Glad you were able to get it to work with the ingredients you had.

  5. postedSep 8, 2011 10:34 AM

    Is there a substitute for the Cuban rum? Thanks!

    • September 8th, 2011 @ 12:32 PM

      You can certainly use regular rum.

  6. postedNov 8, 2011 2:07 PM
    Patara Williams

    Do we HAVE to use rum? I’m definitely underage lol

    • November 9th, 2011 @ 6:28 AM

      Yes, you can leave it out– but they make a rum extract that you can buy- just use a 1/2 teaspoon of that instead.

  7. postedMay 27, 2012 2:13 PM

    Sal, you can make your own evaporated milk.

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Total Time: 2 minutes


    2/3 cup non-fat dry milk
    3/4 cup water

    Mix the water and dry milk powder together. Then, use in place of the evaporated milk in any recipe.

    • May 29th, 2012 @ 6:58 AM

      I had no idea you could make it from scratch- thanks for sharing that!

    • May 29th, 2012 @ 8:36 AM

      Awesome- thanks for sharing. I had no idea you could make it homemade!

  8. postedMay 20, 2014 3:02 PM

    To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup.

    • May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:26 AM

      Thanks for the tip!

  9. postedJul 17, 2015 3:47 PM

    I have looked at other tres leches recipes where you let the milk syrup soak in overnight in the fridge and serve the next day. Does that work with this recipe? Or do you serve it right away?

    • July 21st, 2015 @ 6:24 AM

      I only made it as directed, so I’m not sure.

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