Easy Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches cake
Dorling Kindersley / Charlotte Tolhurst / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Refrigeration Time: 60 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 24 servings

Tres leches cake, or three milks cake, is popular in Latin American cooking. Ever since my kids first tried tres leches cake in a Latin American restaurant they begged me to try to duplicate it at home.

I don't know if this recipe tastes authentic, but it is wonderfully moist and delicious. Plus, it's a super easy tres leches cake, because it starts with a cake mix. This also makes it easy to make with kids.


  • 1 18.25 oz. box white (or yellow) cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (skim or regular)
  • 1 cup whole milk (or light cream)
  • 12 oz. vanilla frosting (or buttercream frosting)
  • 1 cup strawberries (sliced, for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

  3. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, eggs, water, oil, and vanilla until smooth.

  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

  5. Remove cake from oven and let cool completely.

  6. Meanwhile, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk or light cream until well blended.

  7. Poke cake all over with a skewer or straw. Pour milk mixture all over the cake, pressing lightly to make sure milk is completely absorbed.

  8. Refrigerate the cake for 1 to 2 hours.

  9. Spread frosting over cake.

  10. Cut cake into slices and spoon several tablespoons of the sauce over each slice. Top with sliced strawberries.

    Where Tres Leches Cake Comes From and What It Is

    "The tres leches cake, a sponge cake covered with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk, is a favorite treat at celebrations throughout Central America and, now, the United States. Its origins are difficult to pinpoint, however, with a number of Latin nations—as well as a Swiss food conglomerate—given credit for its creation. A number of recipe sources place the origin of the tres leches cake in Nicaragua. However, such attributions come generally in the passive voice and without specific supporting information. While far from conclusive, other, more specific evidence indicates a historical connection to Mexico. One theory that has at least some hard data behind it is that the cake was a corporate invention of the milk industry. According to Rockin’ Robin’s Cooking Mexican Recipes, “There are even accounts that Nestle Corporation sold condensed and evaporated milk from a plant in Mexico beginning in 1875 with the recipe on the back of their cans.”