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4.92 from 47 votes

Tres Leches Cake

If you have never had Tres Leches Cake, you are in for a treat! Picture this: a fluffy white sheet cake, poked with holes and soaked in a mixture of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk (tres leches means 3 milks!) The resulting cake is irresistibly moist. It's perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chilling Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 652kcal
Author: Karen


For the cake

  • 5 eggs divided
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the milk

  • 1 (13.6-oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups Coco Crema* about 1 (15-oz) can
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • strawberries to garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan with nonstick spray or rub with butter.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, add 5 egg whites. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the egg whites about 2-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. See photos.
  • Scrape the egg whites into a medium bowl and store in the fridge.
  • In the same bowl that you beat the egg whites, add 1/2 cup butter and beat until smooth, scraping edges. Add 1 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping sides halfway through. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Get the beaten egg whites out of the fridge. Now you are going to add the flour mixture and the beaten egg whites into the butter/sugar mixture in alternating batches. (Add about half the flour to the butter mixture, stir. Then add half the beaten egg whites to the butter mixture, stir, etc, until it's all added.) Do not over mix. Once it is combined, stop.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread out with a spatula.
  • Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are pulling away from the sides of the cake pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no batter on it. Don't make a grocery store trip in this 25 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, make in a very large glass measuring cup or bowl, add 1 can coconut milk. Stick it in the microwave for 30-60 second and stir until all the lumps have disappeared. Add 2 cups Coco Crema*, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 1 can evaporated milk. Stir together until combined.
  • When the cake is baked, remove from the oven, turn off the oven, and set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, use a chopstick to poke holes in the cake. In Laura's words: "Use a chopstick for bigger holes - you want a LOT of holes, to the point where it almost feels like you're going to ruin or smash the cake but don't actually ruin or smash the cake."
  • Once you have holes all over the cake, take 3-5 minutes to SLOWLY pour the milk mixture all over the cake. If you pour too quickly, the top of your cake will not absorb the liquid. Yes, pour all of the liquid on the cake. It seems like too much. It's not!
  • Once all the milk has been added, put the cake back in the oven that has been turned OFF and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the cake from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the counter. Cover well and transfer to the fridge to cool completely, and to let the liquid absorb into the cake. This will take at least 4-6 hours.
  • Once the cake is completely chilled and you are ready to serve, make the whipped cream. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat 2 cups cream on high for 2-4 minutes until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Beat well, scraping sides and bottom.
  • Spread the whipped cream over the cake.
  • Garnish with strawberries that have either been hulled and chopped, or you could just slice each one in half and scatter over the cake. Top the whole cake with strawberries if you think you'll eat the whole cake that day. If you don't, then serve with cut strawberries, but spoon them on top of each serving. Fresh strawberries work better than strawberry sauce or sugared berries since the cake is so rich and has its own liquids already.


*If you can't find Coco Crema at the store (I couldn't! but Laura says Walmart always has it. And here is an Amazon link.) you can replace it with coconut CREAM. (Not coconut milk. The coconut cream is in addition to the coconut milk called for in the recipe.) You can find it in the Asian food aisle. Buy two cans (you won't use all of it). Open the cans and use a spoon to scoop out the solid cream, enough to measure 2 cups. Leave the watery liquid behind. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar (this sugar is not called for in the recipe above, only add it if you are using coconut cream and not Coco Crema.) Be sure to microwave the coconut cream until all the lumps have smoothed out. Then add the other milks called for (coconut MILK, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk), and pour over your cake. (You can use your leftover coconut cream to make this Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce!)
This recipe is from my amazing sister Laura!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 1252IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 297mg | Iron: 2mg