Tres Leches Cake is one of my absolute favorite cakes. I remember the first time I ever made this cake was my senior year of college. I was obsessed with The Pioneer Woman, and I happened to stumble along this recipe. Her description of Tres Leches Cake literally made me drool. I knew I just had to make it. I made the cake at like 8 pm and cut refrigerating time by using the freezer to cool the cake faster. After I soaked the cake I realized I was out of heavy cream for the topping. Thankfully, one of my neighbors was willing to trade some in exchange for a few slices of cake. After my first bite, I was absolutely hooked.
It was so moist. The sponge cake was perfectly airy and light. The three kinds of milk added the right amount of richness to the cake without making it overly heavy. Since then, I have tweaked the recipe to my liking and have come up with a recipe that works perfectly every single time. Everyone I have made this cake for has loved it. There have been people who don’t like cakes or are iffy about desserts who have eaten it and asked for seconds, or better yet thirds. This is my go-to cake for birthdays or for visits with friends. Well, this and my Amazing Cinnamon Rolls. This cake may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Plus, once you make it you will be obsessed, so you will make it again and again. By then, you’ll be able to make it with your eyes closed. Make this Tres Leches Cake and share it with some family and friends. Or refrigerate the whole cake for yourself and eat a few slices every day. It refrigerates great. And it tastes even better the next day.
For the soaking liquid, I add more than 1/4 cup of heavy cream. I pour the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 cup heavy cream into a 4-Cup Measuring Cup. I mix them well then pour either more heavy cream or milk (depending if I have enough heavy cream) till the liquid reaches 4 cups. The cake absorbs all the liquid fine and this way it isn’t extremely sweet. I use Carnation Evaporated Milk and Borden Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.
For the Whipping Cream, I only add 2 TBSP of sugar. Again, the cake itself is sweet, and the milks are sweet. When the topping is super sweet to the cake becomes overwhelmingly sweet, and in my opinion, not as good. Feel free to add more sugar to your liking.
As for baking the cake. I find that it bakes best in a pyrex pan. I’ve baked it in a metal pan once and it didn’t rise very well. So now, I make sure to only bake it in a Pyrex Pan.I used to butter and flour my pans because honestly, it’s the best way to keep cakes from sticking. The regular baking spray seems to scorch the bottoms of my cakes or mess with the texture. However, I have finally found a spray I LOVE. The spray is called Bakers Joy Cake Pan Spray. The cap on it is a dark blue. I absolutely love it. I make sure I always have it on hand.
Tres Leches Cake
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 5 Eggs
- 1 Cup Sugar (Divided)
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/3 Cup Milk
- Soaking Liquid:
- 1 12oz Can Evaporated Milk
- 1 14oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- *Heavy Cream (See Recipe Tips for details.)
- 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- *2 TBSP Sugar
- Maraschino Cherries
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. *Butter and flour a 9×13 pan and set aside.
- Step 2 Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside. Separate the eggs into two bowls.
- Step 3 Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 sugar until pale. Add the vanilla and milk. Mix well. Gently fold in the sifted flour mixture.
- Step 4 In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat till stiff peaks form. Don’t over beat so the egg whites are not dry.
- Step 5 Fold in a small amount of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten the mixture, then pour that over the egg whites and gently fold it in so you don’t deflate the whites.
- Step 6 Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cook for 5 minutes in the pan and then flip into a serving platter. Either refrigerate the cake for about an hour or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Step 7 Prepare the milk mixture by pouring the evaporated and condensed milk in a measuring cup. Add a 1/4 cup heavy cream and mix well. Taste the mixture. If it is too sweet add more heavy cream or milk to it.
- Step 8 Take the cake out of the freezer and pierce it all around with a fork. Slowly and evenly pour the milk mixture onto the cake. It should absorb most of it.
- Step 9 Refrigerate the cake again or freeze for 10 minutes. Prepare the cream by placing 2 cups heavy cream and the sugar in a bowl. With a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or beater whisk until peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake and decorate with cherries.