A Popular Choice: Tres Leches Cake

Pastel de tres leches, or three-milk cake, is a signature cake in many Latin American countries. The origins of this cake are not certain. Some claim it originated in Nicaragua while others claim it was in Mexico, but what is certain about this cake is its popularity. Even here in the U.S. it has become a very popular dessert. When I was thinking about making this cake for Sweet Friday I made a recipe search online and Google returned about 250,000 results. That is a lot of cake!However, I noticed that just few of those recipes mentioned the most popular way to eat this cake in Mexico, with a fruit filling. No wedding or birthday can’t be called such without a Tres leches cake stuffed with fruit and nuts. The most popular fruit filling is strawberries, but since this is no strawberry season I used canned peaches and iced it with Chantilly cream, just like my mom does it.


Tres Leches Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
•My mom makes an easier version of this cake using pancake flour. Just sift together 1 ½ cups of pancake flour, ½ cup regular flour. In the blender blend 6 eggs, ½ cup of sugar and 1 cup of vegetable oil and add to the flour. Bake the same way. •You can add some cocoa powder to the mix and use chocolate icing to make a chocolate version of this cake.
  • •6 eggs, separated
  • •1 TBSP lime juice
  • •½ cup sugar
  • •2 cups all-purpose flour
  • •½ tsp baking soda
  • •1 tsp baking powder
  • •1 cup vegetable oil
  • •½ cup milk
  • •1 can condensed milk
  • •1 can evaporated milk
  • •½ cup whole milk
  • •½ cup rum (kids in Mexico don’t mind if their cakes have it)
  • •1 TBSP vanilla
  • •fruit for filling
  • •¼ walnuts
  • •3 cups Chantilly cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C)
  2. Beat egg whites with lime juice until stiff. Set apart.
  3. Separately, beat egg yolks and sugar until it changes to a lemon color.
  4. Mix together with flour, baking soda, baking powder and oil. If the batter is too stiff add ½ cup milk or as much as necessary to make a soft runny batter.
  5. Fold in the white eggs until incorporated. Don’t beat or whisk the batter.
  6. Grease very well a baking pan and pour the batter in.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested.
  8. In the meantime blend condensed, evaporated and whole milks with vanilla and rum.
  9. Once the cake comes out of the oven slowly pour the milks on it. Don’t do it too fast or the milks will plunge to the bottom of the pan. To help the absorption, poke the top of the cake with a fork to break the crust. It might look that it is too much liquid, but the cake will absorb it.
  10. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. For better results refrigerate overnight.
  11. Turn over the cake on a cake plate and with a long knife cut the middle horizontally.
  12. Top the bottom half with ⅓ of the cream, fruit and walnuts. Put back the top half and decorate with the rest of the cream.




When the summer comes I will be making this cake with strawberries, my favorite version.

Buen provecho!


  • I just realized I forgot to include the link for the Chantilly cream recipe I used Here it is.

  • I only discovered Tres Leches cake in Chicago,and its one of my favorites. I have never had it filled with fruit.Now I have to try that version.

  • I love Tres Leches cake — it’s become pretty popular out here and is even now available in our bakeries. I made one last year and it turned out pretty good. Now you’ve got me all excited to add fruit in the middle … it sounds so good!

  • This looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it!

  • That looks amazingly decadent! “Yum!” Is all I can say Ben….

  • Ben, that cake has seduced me…I’m weak just from the condensed milk!

  • Truthfully I have never heard of this type of cake before…it has been said that I sometimes lead a very sheltered life:D it does look incredible!!

  • Hi Ben,
    Thanks for the recipe. I sent it to my granddaughter in hopes she will try this one. The last one did not taste bad, it just didn’t soak up the milk.
    This sounds great and I will have to try it myself.

  • Haha about kids not minding the rum! Always love the addition of rum to a cake. YUM!

  • Is it still tres leches if you add chocolate? I made a tres leches a few months back and added chocolate and cinnamon.

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