The English have their trifle, Italians have tiramisu, and Latinos have pastel de tres leches, or three milk cake. This scrumptious sponge cake absorbs its bath of sweetened condensed, evaporated and whole milk before being topped with whipped cream. Served with fresh fruit or as is, it's the perfect party dessert.

RuthE

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Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
27 mins
additional:
3 hrs 3 mins
total:
4 hrs
Servings:
18
Yield:
1 9x13-inch cake
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Ingredients

18
Original recipe yields 18 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.

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  • Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir together 1/2 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla in a glass measuring cup.

  • Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until whites are very stiff but still glossy, about 8 minutes. With mixer on low, add yolks, 1 egg at a time, beating until combined. Add flour mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, alternating with milk mixture just until batter is smooth (be careful not to beat so much it deflates).

  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.

  • Cool cake 30 minutes in pan on a rack (it will shrink), then invert onto rack to cool completely. When cooled, return cake to baking pan. Poke holes all over cake with fork.

  • Stir together condensed milk, evaporated milk, and remaining 1/2 cup whole milk, and pour over cake. When cake absorbs milk mixture, 5 to 10 minutes, cover pan with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

  • Whip heavy cream with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and remaining teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until stiff, then spread evenly over cake. Serve as is or top with fresh fruit.

Nutrition Facts

261 calories; protein 5.9g 12% DV; carbohydrates 33.2g 11% DV; fat 12g 18% DV; cholesterol 100.2mg 33% DV; sodium 164.1mg 7% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (13)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2018
No changes. Definitely would make it again. Read More
(3)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/14/2016
Well this is my second failed attempt at Tres Leches but I think my problem is over beating. Flavor was good but cake was way too dense and would not soak up all the milk not even close. Use your gut not the directions on beating as all mixers are not alike. I'm not giving up and will try again until I master it!! Read More
(2)
22 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 15
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
11/07/2018
No changes. Definitely would make it again. Read More
(3)
Rating: 3 stars
08/14/2016
Well this is my second failed attempt at Tres Leches but I think my problem is over beating. Flavor was good but cake was way too dense and would not soak up all the milk not even close. Use your gut not the directions on beating as all mixers are not alike. I'm not giving up and will try again until I master it!! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
03/14/2017
I made this cake and waited for 3 days before we ate it. OMG is this good! Everyone wants the recipe and when they say that the cake gets better with age it really does. Definitely a keeper. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 4 stars
04/21/2016
This was a definite hit. My husband loves tres leches and his only complaint was that it was more dense than what he is used to. cake turned out exactly like the picture which I am thrilled about! I am not a fan of sweetened condensed milk or milk in general yet I found myself sneaking pieces of itThe flavor is considerably better a couple days in so i suggest waiting at least a full 24hrs. It's kind of complicated/time consuming compared to traditional recipes for regular cake but I love that it's a blank canvas and you can change flavors fruit and extracts to make it unique. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
03/08/2017
Great cake but didn't come out as good as expected on my first attempt. I also made a quick and easy version which is also good (for those who may also have trouble with it) with golden vanilla cake mix and then follow remaining directions adding the milk and so on. Even better the following day. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2017
i used baking soda and it tastes great. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2018
Absolutely yummy. My 5 year old daughter helped and loved it too! Creamy and soaked wonderfully! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/16/2020
This cake is so delicious and easy! The best cake I’ve ever eaten! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/07/2016
I followed this recipe exactly and it was delicious. Shared it with many friends and they agreed. Read More
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