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Easy Tres Leches Cake is made with a fluffy sponge cake and then soaked with multiple types of milk to for a beautiful moist texture. Top it off with homemade whipped cream and strawberries for the perfect celebration cake!
What is Tres Leches Cake?
Tres Leches is Spanish for “three milks” which is the perfect description of this cake! Tres Leches cake contains 3 different types of milk: Evaporated milk, Sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. These milks are poured over a simple sponge cake and left to soak. The sponge cake soaks up all of the milks and creates moist cake.
Reasons to Bake this Cake
- Simple, easy to find ingredients
- Most of the work is leaving it for 4 hours (or overnight)!
- This cake has sweetened condensed milk, do I have to say more?
- The topping can be modified to your favourite fruits
Easy Tres Leches Cake Ingredients
All-purpose flour: Sift together flour, salt and baking powder to add air into the batter.
Salt: Enhances flavour.
Baking powder: This is an leavening agent to help lift the cake during the baking process.
Eggs: Adds fat and when whisked with sugar until tripled in size, it will create a light and fluffy sponge cake.
White granulated sugar: For sweetness and softens the cake batter.
Vanilla extract: For flavour.
Evaporated milk, Condensed milk and Whole milk: This trio of milk is the “tres leches” of the cake.
Heavy whipping cream: This ingredient makes the homemade whipped cream for the cake topping.
Powdered sugar: To sweeten the whipped cream, powdered sugar is easier to dissolve into the heavy whipping cream (instead of using granulated sugar).
Topping/garnish: Garnish with strawberries, ground cinnamon or other fresh fruits.
How to Make Easy Tres Leches Cake
- Preheat oven: Prevent oven to 350°F.
- Prepare baking dish: Use a baking dish that can double as a serving dish. I use an IKEA Oven Dish 12inch x 7inch for tres leches, which fits perfectly! But any 9inch x 13inch with a large depth will work. Brush or spray oil in the baking dish including the sides and corners, this helps the sponge cake to rise while baking.
- Prepare dry ingredients: In a bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
- Whisk: Using a stand mixer or hand mixer (stand mixer will be best) whisk together room temperature eggs and sugar until tripled in size, this will take about 10 minutes. The mixture should look pale yellow and foamy. Whisking the eggs and sugar together until tripled in size adds in lots of air into the batter. make the sponge cake fluffy and soft. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
- Fold: Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture. GENTLY fold these ingredients to prevent minimal air loss of the batter. (We don’t want a limp sponge cake!).
How to Make Easy Tres Leches Cake Continued
- Bake: Pour the batter into the baking dish (gently!) and bake for 25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool: At this point you can remove the sponge cake from the oven and let cool. OR turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open and leave the sponge cake in the oven to cool for 10 minutes. This method of cooling prevents drastic changes of temperature and prevents the sponge cake from falling/flattening. After 10 minutes, remove the sponge cake from the oven to cool.
- Prepare the tres leches: In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk and whole milk. Whisk until combined.
- Make the Tres Leches cake: After 2 hours of the sponge cake cooling, use a fork to poke holes in the cake. (The more holes the better!). Pour the prepared milk mixture over the sponge cake, ensure that every part of the cake gets milk!
- Chill: Next, chill the tres leches in the fridge for at least 4 hours, even better to chill overnight.
- Make homemade whipped cream: When ready to serve, whisk the heavy whipped cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks. Spread the whipped cream on top of the Tres Leches Cake.
- Toppings: Garnish this Easy Tres Leches Cake with strawberries, cherries, other fresh fruits or simply ground cinnamon.
- Serve: Serve right in the baking dish!
If you’re looking for a traditional Tres Leches Cake, try A Sassy Spoon’s Recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions on Tres Leches Cake
- Can Tres Leches Cake be made ahead of time? Yes, this cake can be made overnight or up 2 days ahead. Make the Homemade Whipped Cream the day of serving.
- What does Tres Leches cake taste like? The base of this cake is a simple sponge cake which is soaked with three different types of milk and topped with whipped cream. Based on that information, you might think it tastes AMAZING (which it does). But this cake has a subtly sweet flavour and the sponge cake is super moist.
- What are Tres Leches cake variations? Try making this cake dairy free by substituting the milks for dairy free alternatives. Instead of strawberries, try cherries or other fresh fruit. No fruit? A simple sprinkle of ground cinnamon is a classic twist.
- 9×13 baking dish or 12×7 baking dish
- 2 mixing bowls
- Kitchen Aid hand mixer or Kitchen Aid stand mixer (stand mixer preferred) with whisk attachment
- Spatula, whisk and a fork
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cooling rack
- Plastic (saran) wrap
More Recipes by Ashley
Easy Tres Leches Cake with Homemade Whipped Cream
- 1½ cup (221g) All Purpose Flour* sifted
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1½ tsp Baking Powder
- 4 Eggs + 1 Yolk* room temperature
- 1 cup (207g) White Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 can (354mL) Evaporated Milk
- 1 can (300mL) Sweetened Condensed Milk
- ⅓ cup Whole Milk
- 1 cup (250mL) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- Strawberries, sliced* optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of the baking dish with oil, covering the bottom and sides of the dish.
- In a bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer (stand mixer will be best) whisk together the room temperature eggs + 1 yolk and sugar until tripled in size, this will take about 10 minutes. The mixture should look pale yellow and foamy. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Use a spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture.
- Gently pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open and leave the sponge cake in the oven to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the sponge cake from the oven to cool on a cooling rack.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the Tres Leches. In a bowl, whisk to combine evaporated milk, condensed milk and whole milk. Cool the cake for 2 hours then use a fork to poke holes in the cake. Pour the prepared milk mixture over the sponge cake. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, use a stand mixer to whisk the heavy whipped cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks. Spread the whipped cream on top of the Tres Leches Cake.
- Garnish with sliced strawberries. Serve right in the baking dish.