This Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake is a super fun seasonal twist on a classic Hispanic dessert and is SO delicious! You’ll love the fall flavors in this super moist “three milk” cake!
So weirdly, one of my more popular recipes is my Tres Leches cake. I can’t explain why, it just is.
Sometimes I will make a recipe and think that it’s going to go gangbusters and be an instantaneous success. Everyone will go crazy gaga for it and I will be so famous… but then the recipe does, well, fair at best. Other times I’ll make a recipe and think, “okay, this recipe is good but nothing truly outrageous” and it goes crazy. I have no control! You can predict some things but not everything, that’s for sure. And I certainly didn’t think my Tres Leches cake would be so popular but I am so glad everyone loves it!
A few months ago, a reader private messaged me about doing a pumpkin spice tres leches cake. I was intrigued! Since pumpkin flavors abound this time of year, I figured, why not? Maybe this one will take off, too. I certainly hope it does – this cake is AMAZING.
The cake is full of amazing pumpkin spice flavor and consists of your usual cake suspects: flour, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin (of course!), eggs, oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the spices. To bring out the pumpkin flavor, I like adding a combination of ground cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to this cake batter, but you could absolutely use pumpkin pie spice exclusively if you wanted to. It’s easy – it has all the spices already in there, like ginger, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Super yummy and a staple this time of year.
You’ll bake up the cake batter and let it cool for about 15 minutes, then poke holes all over the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon or a dowel/skewer.
The Tres Leches
Tres Leches literally translates to “three milks” and three milk products are used in this cake. We’re using heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk mixed together. We’ll pour it over the poked, still warm cake and let the milks seep into the cake. The hardest part is you have to wait overnight for the cake to set and the flavors to meld. I know, it’s kind of torture!
Just before serving, frost the cake with a homemade whipped cream consisting of heavy whipping cream and some confectioners’ sugar. I like to finish it off with a dusting of cinnamon. So perfect!
This Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches Cake is super moist with a scrumptious three milk custard, fall-inspired pumpkin spice flavor and a fun twist on a classic! You’re going to love it.
Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches Cake
For the Cake:
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- 15 oz (1 can) pure pumpkin puree do not use pumpkin pie filling
- 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
For the Tres Leches Filling:
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz evaporated milk (one can)
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (one can)
For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- Ground cinnamon, for dusting the top, optional
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9 light metal rectangular baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract with the paddle attachment on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until fully combined and batter is smooth and cohesive. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. While cake briefly cools, in a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk until combined; set aside.
- Poke holes all over the warm cake using a skewer or dowel or if you don't have either, the handle of a wooden spoon or a knife's tip. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake, using all of the milk mixture. It will seem like a LOT of milk, but bear in mind that the cake will gradually soak up the mixture overnight in the fridge. Cover the cake and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, make the whipped cream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the heavy whipping cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake. Dust with ground cinnamon, if using. Store the cake in the fridge, covered.
Spicy, pumpkin-y, moist and sweet – you’re going to LOVE this creamy cake!
Have a super sweet weekend!
I just made this last night/today (accounting for overnight soaking) exactly as written and it is absolutely divine. This is definitely going to be my standard fall holiday dessert going forward, goodbye pumpkin pie!
Made this for a party and it was a huge hit! I dislike how tres leches tends to be cloyingly sweet, so I cut the sugar and oil down to 1 scant cup and 1/2 a cup, respectively. I also only used three tablespoons of powdered sugar in the whipped cream topping. The cake came out perfectly sweet with these modifications plus the sugar from the condensed milk. The amount of the different milks that the recipe calls for saturates the cake perfectly, and is so convenient in terms of not having a random 1/2 can of evaporated or condensed milk leftover. Overall, super easy to make and flavorful.
Can I use avocado oil instead of vegetable or canola?
Hi Liz, you probably can yes!
Can you use two cans of condensed milk instead of the evaporated milk?
Hi Elise, I have not tried that so I cannot say for sure.
Tres Leches is my favorite dessert! I tried my hand at this pumpkin version today and it was delicious! I was worried that it might end up being too sweet, but it wasn’t. It was moist and milky just like I like it. My family loved it and they are betting that it will be finished in no time! 🙂
Delicious! Had a baker ask me for seconds so that’s the highest compliment! I appreciated that it was more pumpkin heavy and not too sweet. Subbed half of the cream for almond milk and did 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and couldn’t tell at all.
The best pumpkin dessert ever! No more pumpkin pies!
FYI: this was a test run a week before thanksgiving day. This cake was sooooo good, buuuuut my experience was different to what I’ve read. I left it in for 25 mins but it was very undercooked where the toothpick was wet. I put it in for 6 additional minutes and the next toothpick seemed fine. A few hours later when I was making the frosting I realized the middle didn’t look like it had baked appropriately. I tasted the edges and it was great, but now that I’m ready to bake for thanksgiving day, I’ll probably leave it in longer than the 30 mins. Taste was great. Can’t wait to make it again in like two days ☺️
Hi Ale, did you by chance cook it in a glass pan? If so, glass doesn’t conduct heat as well as light metal pans do which is why it took yours longer to bake and the middle wasn’t done as quickly as the edges were.