This Latin American cake is a moist and simple cake that must be served in the pan because of the milk that is soaks in and holds.


one 9×13-inch cake





About this Recipe

Recipe from Back to Baking Whitecap Books, 2011

I have tried many recipes, including a family recipe from a friend in Guatemala and have come up with this version.

The dry sponge seems flat and plain until you pour the mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and whipping cream overtop. Watch the cake soak it all in, virtually doubling in size! Because of all of this added dairy, the cake needs to be stored in the pan, but it will feed a crowd.


warm pizza dip

Tres Leches translates to “Three Milks” but actually there are 4 types. The more the merrier!





  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Milk mixture:

  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tin evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant skim milk powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted (optional)

NOTES: The cake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and dust the bottom and sides with flour, tapping out any excess flour.

Step 2

For the cake, heat the butter and milk over low heat until the butter has melted. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly

Step 3

Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed using electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the whip attachment until the eggs are doubled in volume, 5 to 7 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Fold half of the flour mixture into the whipped eggs, then add all of the butter mixture, then fold in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Step 4

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Step 5

While the cake is baking, prepare the milk mixture. Stir the condensed milk, evaporated milk, whipping cream and vanilla together. After the cake has come out of the oven and cooled for 10 minutes, poke holes in the cake using a bamboo skewer and slowly pour the milk mixture over the entire surface of the cake (the cake will absorb all the moisture and swell up). Cool the cake to room temperature and then chill for at least 3 hours.

Step 6

For the topping, whip the cream until the cream holds a soft peak. Stir in the icing sugar, skim milk powder and vanilla and then spread the cream over the surface of the cake. Garnish the top of the cake with toasted coconut (if using) and keep the cake chilled until ready to serve. The cake must be stored and sliced directly from the pan.