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Piece of tres leches cakes on a white plate.

Tres Leches Cake

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  • Author: Taming of the Spoon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (9x13) pan 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Tres Leches Cake is a sponge cake soaked with a sweet milk mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream. This recipe also uses cajeta, a caramelized goat’s milk spread for a deeper flavor.



For the cake

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For the milk mixture

  • 3 tablespoons cajeta (goat’s milk caramel spread)
  • 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), optional


For the cake

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites for about 30 seconds, then gradually add the sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 4-5 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at at time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture, water, and almond extract. Mix on slow speed until evenly blended.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool cake while making the milk mixture.

For the milk mixture

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients for the milk mixture. Heat mixture to boiling over medium-high, whisking constantly. Let mixture cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup of milk mixture for serving. Once cake is lukewarm to the touch, pierce cake all over with a fork. Pour remaining milk mixture over cake, 1 cup at a time. Allow the milk mixture to absorb into the cake between additions. Gently tilt the pan as necessary to evenly distribute the milk mixture.
  2. Cover the cake and refrigerate overnight.

For the frosting

  1. Beat cream with granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Add sour cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and Frangelico, if using. Beat until evenly mixed. Spread frosting over cooled cake.
  2. Keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Cut cake into squares. Spoon some of the reserved milk mixture onto serving plates and top with a piece of cake.


  • Cajeta can be found in the Mexican food aisle of some grocery stores and at Mexican grocery stores.
  • Dulce de leche can be substituted for the cajeta.
  • Recipe adapted from Sausalito’s restaurant via the Houston Chronicle.
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