The combination of crumbly yellow cake and three full-flavored milks results in one of the moistest cake recipes you’ll ever eat. And while this delicious cake is packed with flavor, you won’t believe how simple it is to make! With just a few minutes of prep time, you can whip up this easy tres leches cake recipe to enjoy at home today.
An insanely delicious and easy-to-make dessert, Tres Leches Cake!
If you’ve ever made a boxed cake mix, you know how easy it can be to create a dry dessert. But with the help of a bath of milk, this tres leches cake transforms a plain boxed cake into a delicious and decadent dessert.
The next time you’re looking for a simple dessert to make for a party or celebration, this dessert is it! Simply whip up a boxed cake, moisten it with three different types of milk, frost the baked cake, and top with fresh fruit for an amazing dessert everyone at the party will devour.
This cake is where two worlds collide, old-fashioned yellow cake and melted ice cream.
Honestly, I’m not the biggest cake fan. I don’t really enjoy dry, crumbly cake at all, but this cake is not dry at all, in fact, it is the moistest cake ever, thanks to it being doused in tres leches, three full-flavored milks.
What You’ll Need to Make This Tres Leches Cake Recipe:
- Yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix)
- Vegetable oil
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Whole milk or evaporated milk
- Whipping cream
- White frosting (I used Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Icing)
How to Make Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix:
- Start by preparing your yellow cake. Combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low for 30 seconds to combine the ingredients, then raise the speed to medium and beat for an additional two minutes.
- Pour the batter into a prepared baking dish and bake according to the package instructions, usually between 30 and 33 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven when it’s finished baking and allow it to cool in the pan for five minutes.
- While the cake is cooling, combine the sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and whipping cream in a bowl and whisk to mix. Use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the cake.
- Pour the milk mixture over the entire cake, then place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
- When the cake is completely cool, remove it from the refrigerator and top with frosting. Sprinkle with fresh fruit, if desired, then slice and serve.
What is Tres Leches?
Popular in Mexico and Latin America, this delicious cake is a Cinco de Mayo favorite. The phrase tres leches means three milks in Spanish. And since a tres leches cake is soaked in three types of milk, the name is pretty fitting. To make a traditional Tres Leches cake, you start by making a light sponge cake, then soaking it in a sweet milk mixture to moisten and flavor the cake.
Tips and Tricks
While this cake is so easy to make, there are a few simple tips and tricks you can use to make it taste amazing. Try these ideas as you’re making your Tres Leches cake:
- Protect your refrigerator. Placing a hot pan on a glass refrigerator shelf could cause the glass to break. Before you place your cake in the refrigerator to chill, place a hot pad or oven mitt on the shelf, then place the pan on top. This will protect your refrigerator shelf from coming in contact with the hot pan.
- Store the cake in the refrigerator. Since this cake recipe is made with three different types of milk, it’s important to keep the cake chilled. Store the cake in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. And if you have any leftover pieces, cover the cake and store it in the refrigerator.
- Make the cake ahead of time for better flavor. You can allow the milk mixture to soak into the cake up to 12 hours before you serve it. In fact, the longer you let the milk soak into the cake, the better the flavor will be. Try making your cake the day before you plan to serve it to ensure the milk is thoroughly soaked into the cake when it’s time to eat.
- Use a whipped cream topping. For a fresher topping for your boxed cake mix, try spreading whipped cream or whipped topping over the cake instead of icing. The lighter topping is perfect for serving your cake on a warm summer day.
- Serve with fresh fruit. This simple cake recipe pairs perfectly with fresh fruit. And there are a variety of different fruit options you can use depending on your preferences and the occasion. Berries, like strawberries and blueberries, are a great choice for the summer months. Or you can add some tropical flavor to your cake by dressing it up with chopped tropical fruits, like mangos and pineapple.
- Top with cinnamon. Add a hint of spice and warmth to your tres leches cake with the help of cinnamon. After spreading the icing over the top of the prepared cake, sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- Other topping ideas. Grated chocolate, toasted coconut, or chopped nuts.
- Make it into a trifle. After the cake has absorbed the milk mixture, you can crumble it up into a trifle dish or divide it amongst individual dessert dishes, layered with the frosting and berries or fruit of choice.
Other delicious dessert recipes to try:
- Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake, perfect for the cooler months.
- Brioche Bread Pudding with lemon curd and blueberries, amazing!
- Mini Meringue Cookies (Kisses), so good on their own or as a topping over ice creams and trifles.
Make this Easy Tres Leches Sheet Cake Recipe:
- 1 box yellow cake mix, I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups Water
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
- 1 cup whole milk or evaporated milk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 container white frosting, I used Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Icing
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour (or you can use a baking non-stick spray) a 9 x 13 pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the yellow cake mix, water, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs and mix well on low for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium speed and continue to mix for 2 minutes.
- Pour batter into a prepared baking dish and bake according to the box directions, about 30 - 33 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the milks and cream until well blended, set aside.
- Poke the cake with a fork all over the top.
- Pour all of the milk mixture over the entire cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (make sure to place a hot pad or oven mitt under the dish in the fridge so the heat doesn't break the glass).
- Once the cake is completely cool, frost, and top with fruit if desired. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
When adding the milk mixture, don't worry about the amount looking like it's too much. The milk will mostly absorb within the hour that it rests in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 829mgCarbohydrates: 94gFiber: 1gSugar: 53gProtein: 8g
Original Post: 05/2015 Updated 04/21/2021
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.