Making an Easy Tres Leches Cake

Easy Tres Leches
I’ll admit, the idea of baking just about anything other than a refrigerator cookie threatens my continence. But there are actually some things you can bake with nothing more than a few simple ingredients, a hand mixer, a spatula, and….lots of milk. Tres Leches cake! This recipe was adapted from the wonderful Pioneer Woman recipe!

flour dry ingredients tres leches recipe

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a 9″ × 13″ pan liberally. Liberally. Here, I started with mixing together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, and salt.

beaten egg yolks with sugar tres leches cake

Separate 5 eggs. Beat the egg yolks with ¾ cup of sugar (granulated, AKA normal white sugar) until it is pale yellow.

Such a pretty color.

milk plus egg yolks tres leches cake

Stir in your 1/3 cup of whole milk (I used 2% here because the dessert is already so fattening)…Lord knows I don’t need another reason to consume more calories than I burn.

(Sorry, thighs.)

vanilla extract

And vanilla…

vanilla action shot

mix dry and wet ingredients

Pour egg yolk mixture into your dry goods and gently blend with a spatula until the ingredients are barely combined. This makes it light and fluffy!

beat egg whites tres leches cake

Beat the egg whites until you’ve got soft peaks. Don’t overdo it, we’re about to do more with them! While your mixer is on (I just use a hand mixer since I lack a fancy KitchenAid stand mixer), add in ¼ cup sugar and beat them until they’re stiff. Again, don’t overdo it and make them dry, you’ll have to start them all over again!

Fold the egg whites extremely gently (google search how to fold in egg whites if you’re unsure, it is key to this recipe) into the egg yolk-flour mixture until they are barely combined (for me, that’s no white and beige stripes).

pouring the tres leches in a pan

Pour the yummy mixture in your greased pan, spread it out evenly (very important) because it will take on the shape that it was originally (no settling like heavier cakes) and you want a smooth surface to pour that milk on. Bake for 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

tres leches cake in oven

Watch it grow before your eyes…

growing tres leches cake in oven


It reminds me of those capsules you would drop in a glass of water and a giant sponge toy would grow out of it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned at this point, but don’t be alarmed, it baked faster than it could drip over. My pan was a little smaller than I recommend, hence the enormous Tres Leches Volcano.

pouring milk on tres leches cake

pouring milk over tres leches cake

Let cool completely. You don’t want that hot cake turning your milk sour. Then pierce with a fork several times (I especially recommend piercing the edges because it’s harder to soak up than the middle). In a pitcher, combine 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and ¼ cup heavy whipping cream. Stir it up good to mix, then drizzle over your cake. Yummy! Let it soak for 20-30 minutes.

While it’s soaking, you can make the whipped cream! Whip up 1 pint heavy whipping cream with 3 tablespoons sugar until it is thick and easy to spread over the surface of your cake. Once your cake is ready, frost it with your newly-made whipped cream. Voila! Serve each slice with either a maraschino cherry or a whole strawberry sliced nearly all the way through, and with the stem sliced off, of course. I prefer mine without fruit toppings.

tres leches final cut piece

Enjoy! This cake keeps really well in the refrigerator so don’t be afraid to store it and munch piece by piece. Although, it is pretty fattening so I would recommend giving away the rest.

Recipe adapted from ThePioneerWoman.


1 c. all-purpose flour
1-½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
¼ c heavy cream
1 pint heavy cream (for topping)
3 tbsp sugar (for topping)

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  1. 11.08.2011 / 3:31 am

    Currently, this is my favorite dessert. I’m gonna try it. Thanks!

  2. Kylie Hodges
    10.04.2014 / 10:01 pm

    Hi, you don’t have the amount of vanilla indicated in the ingredients. From the picture, it looks like one teaspoon. Is that correct?

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