I’m so excited about this cake – it truly is the easiest cake to make (and the best).
And it comes at such a perfect time – June is National Dairy Month, and as an ambassador for the California Milk Advisory Board, I’m here to help celebrate this fabulous occasion!
Even though June is coming to a close, Dairy Month is every month in my house. We regularly go through butter, heavy cream, milk, half-and-half and ice cream like nobody’s business. And of course, since we’re from California, all of the dairy we purchase has the Real California Milk seal on it. Since California produces a significant portion of the nation’s dairy, it’s important we support the farmers who make California dairy products possible.
This cake is packed with California dairy! Tres leches quite literally translates to “three milks” which, as you can deduce, means this cake is packed with three types of milk, imparting tremendous flavor and creaminess. The milks are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated or whole milk, and heavy cream. I used heavy cream proudly featuring the Real California Milk seal 🙂
Plus, it’s topped with a fluffy vanilla-scented whipped cream frosting which takes this cake over-the-top. It’s moist, fluffy, super flavorful and creamy, and it’s a must-make in my book. It didn’t last one afternoon in my house, and I guarantee it’ll go just as quick from your fridge!
The Best (And Easiest) Tres Leches Cake
- 1 box French Vanilla cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1¼ cups water
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1¾ cups heavy whipping cream divided
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Cherries optional, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and water with a handheld electric mixer on low speed. Beat for 2 minutes or until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and bake for approx. 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Let cake stand for five minutes before poking holes all over the top with a kebab skewer or fork. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and 3/4th cup heavy whipping cream until combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the cake, trying to fill the holes as much as possible. The milk mixture will pool around the edges of the cake; this is okay. Immediately place the cake in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
- Once cake has set, make your frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 2 Tbsp sugar and teaspoon of vanilla on HIGH speed until stiff peaks form. Frost the top of the cake, then cut into squares. Garnish with cherries if desired.
You guys – this cake is fabulous! You’ll love how creamy and milky it is – it has so much flavor and such wonderful texture. I love it!
The California Milk Advisory Board has two cookbooks out that they’d love to share with you! Their first, a PDF, can be downloaded HERE. The second, The Dairy Good Cookbook, is now available on Amazon. Both of which are rich with amazing recipes featuring dairy!
In the interest of full disclosure, I was asked to create a recipe for the CMAB for National Dairy Month. All opinions expressed are my own, as always.
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says
It’s the prettiest tres leches cake too! Can you believe I’ve never had tres leches??? Gah, where have I been all my life!
Haha it’s okay – I forgive you! I was older when I first tried it, so there’s still plenty of time! 😉
Jessica @ Sweetest Menu says
I have never even heard of tre leches but three types of milk?!? That sounds FANTASTIC! Your photos are gorgeous as always too Hayley. I can imagine this cake is so fluffy and moist and DELICIOUS! Want!
You must give it a go, Jessica! It’s amazing!
Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says
This looks perfect! I’ve never made a tres leches cake before and can’t wait to try yours! Love how easy it sounds!
It’s totally easy. You’ll love it!
Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says
I’ve never had Tres Leches Cake! I know, I need to step up my game. Yours looks fantastic. <3
Thanks so much Erin! It’s so good!
Jen | Baked by an Introvert says
Oh my! This cake looks so good, Hayley! I’ve yet to try a tres leches cake. Looks like it’s time to turn that around!
You must give it a whirl Jen!
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
Tres Leches cake is the BEST ever — love this easy version!
So do I! Thanks Ashley!
This is one spectacular tres leches cake! And SO easy, too. Fingers crossed that Katie asks for this cake for her birthday in September b/c I’m definitely making YOUR cake!
I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
Tres leches cake is the best! Love how easy yours is!
Thanks so much Jessica!
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says
once again-I wish I lived in Cali! This cake looks so moist and delicious and simple! love it!
You must move out here someday!
I am always looking for ideas for cakes since I bake and take a cake every day to the Grove Senior Center in Grove, OK..I call it my Therapy.. Tres Leaches looks scrumptious! Thank you…
Jane – I think everyone will love this Tres Leches Cake! It’s so easy, moist and scrumptious!
Marylouise Parker says
Thank you!!! The Best loved how easy that was to make. Tres Leches Cake will be a Big Hit with my Friends.
Thanks Marylouise! So glad you enjoyed!
Karen Carrera says
First of all let me say WOW!
I had to come back here and let you know what a big hit this cake was! I sent this cake with my husband to take to his work for a banquet meal they were having and he said everybody LOVED it! I even have 2 new customers who are wanting me to make it for their Christmas party and of course it will be making an appearance at our Christmas but I had to come back and say THANK YOU! For sharing this recipe!
I did make a couple changes:
-Decorated with strawberries instead of cherries
-Couldn’t find a regular French Vanilla cake mix at the store at the time so I used Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix by Betty Crocker Delights (apparently the difference is it has pudding mix in the cake mix)
– I did want a fluffier icing so I used
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup and 2tablespoons of sugar
1teaspoon of vanilla extract
Amazing! Thank you!
Dorothy Stefanoski says
For the fluffier icing you mentioned,,,,,did you use granulated sugar,,,,,,or confectioners sugar?
Hi, I had same problem I bought super moist (I’m I in the uk ) I wanted to ask you,,,did you follow the recipe on the box or domestic rebels recipe for the cake mix ,I’m worried it may come out too moist if i follow domestics recipe ? CAN YOU HELP me please xx
Lola E. says
Sounds great! If I triple the recipe for a half sheet, should I also triple the milk mixture? Seems like it might too much. Any thoughts?
Hi Lola! No, do not triple the milk mixture. Because if you did that, the thinner cake (since it’s being baked in a half sheet pan) would be incredibly soggy with triple the milk! 🙂 Instead, I would use the same amount of milk as this recipe states to start, then add more (maybe double the milk) if it seems like it isn’t absorbed enough. Hope this helps!
Lola E. says
I will give it a try. Thanks a bunch!
Karen H. says
I made this cake and it turned out beautiful and tasted so good. Its a way of life here in central Texas so I was scared to try to make it. After using this recipe and being told it was the best Tres Leche cake ever made I knew I had found another cake recipe to add to my recipes. Thank you for sharing this.
I teach high school ESL, and a majority of my students are Latin American. I made this for a party today, and I was a little nervous because this is what they’ve grown up eating, but they all LOVED it! They couldn’t believe that I made it! Lol! They were all asking me for the recipe saying that it was the best Tres Leches cake they’ve ever had!
Rachel, that’s amazing! So glad it won rave reviews with your Latin American students! That’s high praise for you and I 🙂
I made 2 of these as layer cakes for my boyfriend’s 30th birthday party, and it was a huge hit! We put berries on top for a little extra flavor. It was really amazing.
Love the idea of adding berries!
Humaira faisal says
I have made cake but I have follow the direction of cake that was on box of vanilla cake
Try this easy one… Yellow cake mix. Prepare cake as per box instructions. Cut too thin layer of cake off (just the brown part). Blend 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can condensed, milk 16 oz sour cream, 2 tspn vanilla extract, 2 tbsp ground cinnamon. Once cake is cool, poor mix evenly first then focus mainly in center of cake since it will run to edges. Don’t be afraid of a floating cake as liquid will be absorbed. Refrigerate cake set overnight. In the morning frost cake with Whipped Cream and garnish with ground cinnamon, sliced peaches, or pecans.
Angie S says
I wish I would have seen this before I put all my three milks together. But, I did add the cinnamon and vanilla to it and…WOW! So good! Thanks for tip!
Stefanie Escobar says
Made this and it was delicious!! My brother commented that it was not too sweet (because some are made with sugar and then the condensed milk on top of it). This recipe is indeed a keeper! I wonder if I would have the same result with cupcakes??
I like to use some fresh Mexican cinnamon in the milk when soaking the cake and in the whip cream it gives it another depth of flavor
Dom Wells says
It’s amazing how fast and easy this cake could be made 🙂 Thank you very much for sharing this with us
Dom Wells says
Today I tried to make these, the result was awesome…everyone at home just loved it….thanks for an amazing recipe! 🙂
Wow! My daughter made this cake for her Spanish class – even the Native Speakers said it was delicious!
My friends were all talking about this Tres Leche cake. I had never heard of I before. But your receipt was so easy to follow and it came out delicious!! I’ve made it 3 times already and my family loves it!!! Thanks ?
Thanks so much, Sonia! So happy you enjoyed it.
Can this be made in cupcake pan?
Yes, but you’ll want to adjust the baking time.
So let me get this straight. I DONT follow the instruction on the cake mix box right?
Hi Ann, right. You’ll follow my measurements in the recipe as written.
Is it the same instructions if I got the super moist french vanilla by accident ? ? Thanks
Do I have to let it set for SIX hours? I want to make it for tonight so it would only have about 3 hours in the fridge. Will it still taste as good?
Hi Shannon, it should be fine!
Will it be too soggy if I let it set for 18 hours?
Hi Denise, it does get more moist the longer it sets, so that’s up to your preference!
I made this cake on Sunday May 26th, 2019 for my daughters 26th birthday. I used cool whip as my topping and cut up strawberries on top and it was delicious. The cake was all gone by the end of the day. Thank you for this recipe.
Debbie, sounds delicious! So glad it was a hit for your daughter’s birthday!
I made this cake in May for my daughters 26th birthday and it was delicious. Everyone enjoyed it and it was all gone that night. Thanks for sharing
This cake was an absolute hit at my family bbq yesterday. Everyone wanted the recipe!
Lisa Y says
Absolutely DELICIOUS! Instead of cherries I sprinkled cinnamon on top. It was a hit
My boyfriend is from mexico and has a million friends. Trying to impress him I made this cake. Now it’s my job to make it whenever one of his friends has a birthday! And they always look at me when he tells them me, the gringa, made the cake, like I am some kind of goddess….lol!
Carolina, I love it lol! Glad you and your boyfriend love the cake!
Literally my favorite cake recipe ever. Easy to execute while tasting authentic ! So so good can’t wait make it again !
Maya, thanks a bunch! So glad you love this cake so much!
Gary Peralta says
Made this in the beginning of October. I’m from the Domincan Republic and there’s nothing I love better than an easier way of making my favorite desserts. This was quick and everyone loved it. I did add Cinnamon to mine for a flavor boost
Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.
Hi I’d love to try all your recipes but being from uk it’s hard to get some ingredients , can someone tell me what cool whip is ? French vanilla cake mix ? Caramel bits? (something I saw in another recipe like cool whip as well another recipe) And roughly how much is a cup in grams/oz ?also would a glass baking dish be ok to bake the cake in ? Thank you , your recipes all look delicious .
Hi Rowenna, sorry for the delay in my reply. Cool Whip is a frozen and stabilized whipped topping similar to whipped cream when it is thawed. I like it because it is more stable than whipped cream, but regular whipped cream should work in most recipes – I just recommend stabilizing regular whipped cream with some gelatin to hold its shape. Caramel bits are tiny balls of unwrapped chewy caramel candy. Any soft and chewy caramel candy will work. And yes, you can bake this cake in a glass pan but keep in mind glass bakes differently than light metal and it may take your cake longer to finish.
Gladys Silva says
I would like to know if Tres Leche Cake can be made with lactose free milk?
Hi Gladys, I have not tried with lactose free milk but it should work just fine!
Is the sugar for the topping granulated or confectioners? Will a hand held mixer work the same?
Hi Heather, I used confectioners’ but either will work! I’ll update the post to be more specific. And yes you can use a hand mixer to make the whipped cream but it is going to take a long time and be a hand work out!
I know this post is super old and I’m not sure if anyone is still monitoring it but when you make this recipe do we leave it in the baking tin to decorate or can we actually take it out to put on a platter for a pretty display without having the milk seeping out? I would like to make it for a birthday party.
Hi Rosey! It would be quite hard to take out of the baking pan without it falling apart unfortunately. I would just decorate the top and plan to bake it in a nice pan. If you decorate the top with sprinkles or fresh fruit, it would look beautiful!