Recipe: Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake is this wonderfully sinful dessert that is surprisingly quick and easy to make… the meaning of the name is literally three milk cake. A basic yellow cake is soaked with a fabulous mixture of three milks… sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream… then topped with freshly made whipped cream… you’ll think you died and went to heaven when eating this traditional Mexican cake.

There are a number of recipes for the cake… all virtually the same… the base cake can vary… and that’s where my recipe varies… as promised earlier this year… I have resolved to do some “short-cut” recipes that give you tips on saving time without sacrificing quality… and make it easier for you to keep “in a pinch” ingredients on hand. … in this case… a yellow cake mix. I always have cans sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk on hand… there are so many recipes, especially bar cookies…that I can throw together with these… it has helped me out of more than one jam.

Again… I’m sure the blog snob will sniff at this recipe.. put her nose in the air and in an obnoxious tone deem this “a glorified boxed mix recipe”… oh well… too bad… this is real life… where time matters.

I found a recipe from Betty Crocker that uses a Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix… the cake comes out perfect… and is very easy to make… throws together in minutes… literally. I did use a slightly different milk mixture than they do and I used a traditional whipped cream for the topping not their frosting….. but I made their base cake with their directions. I also allow the cake to completely cool before soaking… I find it works better that way.


I use a dark metal non-stick 13x9 baking pan… so the temperature for this is 325 degrees F… if you use a glass baking dish… the temperature is 350 degrees F.

I have a slightly larger white baking dish that I usually use for larger casseroles… it works perfectly for this cake… after baking it in the metal non-stick pan.. it easily dumps into this white baking dish… and yes… it’s upside down…. it leaves just enough room for you to put the cake in easily and soak it with the three milk combination… more on that in the directions.

I prefer not to frost the cake before serving… you can… but it makes cutting it a little more difficult.. instead… I cut the piece of cake.. take it out of the baking dish and put it on a plate… then I top it with whipped cream and a cherry…. You can use a sliced strawberry.. which is what I prefer.. but when I made it for this post.. the strawberries in the market were less than picture worthy so I used a cherry instead.

I mix up the milk mixture and use all but about ¾ of a cup… I really think the complete batch of milk is just a little too much.. I haven’t figured out a way to avoid the waste yet… if I do I will update this post.

Okay… on to the recipe… you really need to try this… it is sinfully good!

Recipe: Tres Leches Cake

All you need:

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix
1 ¼ cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
¼ cup heavy cream

For the Topping:

1 pint whipped cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Maraschino cherries or sliced strawberries

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F if using a dark non-stick baking pan or 350 degrees F if using another baking pan or dish.

Grease and flour a 13x9 baking pan or dish.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, water, oil, vanilla and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds until just mixed, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Bake for 29 to 35 minutes (I used a dark non-stick pan and baked it at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Then turn the cake over into a larger baking dish or serving platter with sides (so the milk won’t run all over the place when you soak the cake).

Allow to cool at least 20 minutes.

Using a fork, prick the cake all over … make sure you do lots of pricks.. you want to make sure each piece of cake when cut will have been soaked.

In a large measuring cup mix the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.

Then slowly and carefully pour all but ¾ cup of the milk mixture over the cake… do it in small amounts to prevent it from really running all over… let it soak in each time before doing more… do it a small section at a time. I crumbled up a paper towel and gently put it on the side where I was pouring to prevent a lot of overflow… it will over flow but you don’t want lots to run over and sit on the bottom otherwise you’ll have a tough time cutting the cake.

Refrigerate until serving… I let it refrigerate for over an hour…

In the meantime, whip the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks… then either frost the cake or frost each piece when serving… garnish with a cherry or strawberry slice.


Monica said...

This looks absolutely delicious! A friend served us this cake once and I still remember how good it was. And thank you for being honest and showing short cuts...I'm all about saving some time in a pinch.

Linda said...

Thanks! You're welcome! It would be so nice if we always had the time and inclination to do everything from scratch... but in todays world it's just not the reality... as food bloggers that sincerely want to help their readers.. we have to accept that shortcuts are sometimes necessary and helpful... I'm glad you liked this shortcut.

Thanks for stopping by.

Donna-FFW said...

Linda.. this looks like a fabulous version. I love using cake mixes for time saving purpose and they always work perfectly in recipes like this. I can't wait to try it. Thanks!

Linda said...

Thanks Donna... I couldn't agree more!

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