Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tres Leches Cake - Semi Homemade

A Tres Leches Cake is a baked sponge style cake that is soaked with a mixture of three milks (sweetened condensed milk, crema (table cream) and evaporated milk. This delicious cake is topped with fresh cream and a variety of fruits.
One of my favorite cakes using fresh fruit is a Tres Leches Cake (Three Milks Cake). Which is a Mexican inspired cake that's so yummy and so moist. This cake gets it's moist texture from the soaking of three different milks. 

The three milks are evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and Nestle media crema (table cream) or whole milk, but the Nestle Media Crema is so much better. The soaking of the milk is what gives this cake just the right amount of sweetness. 

The fresh whipping cream takes it over the top for me. I love the Tres Leche Cake at Fiesta or El Rancho, but they're a bit pricey. so I make this recipe instead and it is just good. 

I have to admit the homemade version is definitely the best, but if you are in a pinch this recipe is good and taste like it's homemade. I used a butter recipe white cake mix for the base of this recipe.  
You can use whipped topping or fresh whipping cream, but I highly recommend using fresh whipping cream. You can use any type of fruit to top your cake, so it is really up to you. Teresa I know you will be reading this post so please forgive me on the semi homemade version. I know this cake is a small comparison to the real deal but it's so good. 

Let's get started. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package directions using a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. While the cake is still hot run a knife or thin spatula around to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan.

Poke holes all through the cake either using a fork, straw or like me LOL I used a orange peeler. You can even use the back of a wooden spoon space the holes about a 1/2 inch or so apart. In a separate bowl, mix all three of the milks together (sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk & Nestle media crema or whole milk). Slowly pour half of the milk mixture all over the cake making sure to aim the milk into the holes and let the cake sit for 10 minutes.

After 10 minute, pour the remainder of the milk over the cake. If you do not want the cake really wet I recommend only using half of the milk mixture. After pouring all the milk on the cake let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour until cake is well cooled.

While the cake is chilling, cut and slice all the fruit that you are going to use. Drain any canned fruit if using. Whip up your fresh whipping cream and add 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Spread the fresh cream over the cake and smooth. 

I used a pastry bag and piped some whipping cream around the whole cake. Start adding your fruit any way you want there is no set way on this part really what ever you like. I made a star out of the strawberries and fanned a strawberry in the middle. Then just added the rest of the fruit how you want to decorate the cake.
Now you can dig in!!! This cake is so moist ugh its so hard to have just one piece. My oldest said he would not like this cake because he thinks it would be too wet. Well my son was wrong, because he loved it and said that was the best part hummmm if he would of just listened to me in the first place.

Yield: 10-12
Author: Tina Butler | Mommy's Kitchen
Semi Homemade Tres Leches Cake

Semi Homemade Tres Leches Cake

A Tres Leches Cake is a baked sponge style cake that is soaked with a mixture of three milks (sweetened condensed milk, crema (table cream) and evaporated milk. This delicious cake is topped with fresh cream and a variety of fruits.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 Hour


  • 1 (15.25 oz) package white, french vanilla or butter recipe cake mix + eggs, oil and water called for on box to make cake
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 5 (oz)can evaporated milk
  • 1 (7.6 oz) Nestle Media Crema (table cream) or whole milk (about 3/4 cup)
Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 1  pint fresh whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
Fruit Topping
  • fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh or canned pineapple chunks, drained if using canned mandarin oranges, drained
  • kiwi's, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and prepare and bake cake according to package directions for a 13 x 9 inch cake.
  2. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake cake until done, about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on a baking rack.
  3. While cake is still warm, using a fork, or the back of a wooden spoon poke holes in the cake every 1/2 inch.
  4. In a large glass measuring cup, stir together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and Crema or whole milk.
  5. Slowly pour half of the milk mixture all over the cake making sure to aim the milk into the holes. Let the cake sit for about 10 minutes, then come back and pour the remainder of the milk mixture over the cake.
  6. The cake should absorb all of the milk if poured slowly. (If you don't want a really wet cake only use half of the milk mixture).
  7. Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour or until well chilled.
  8. In a large bowl whip the fresh whipping cream with 4 tablespoons powdered sugar. Beat on high speed using an electric mixture until fluffy and peaks form.
  9. Frost the cake, garnish with fruit, and chill until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.


I used a pastry bag and piped some whipping cream around the whole cake. Then started adding fruit. I made a star out of the strawberries and fanned a strawberry in the middle. If using only half of the milk mixture freeze the remaining mixture to use later. 1- 8 ounce container of whipped topping can be substituted for fresh whipping cream.  

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Michele said... #

I've never had luck with making tres leche cake from scratch. Mine is always much too soupy. Your version looks just right. I've printed it to make next time we have a Mexican themed dinner.

Tina Butler said... #

Michele do let me know how it turns out. This cake never lasts long in our house it's usually gone in 2 days.

Stephanie said... #

That looks absolutely beautiful with the fruit arranged on top! Does the cake mix have to be butter recipe or could you use regular yellow? I just bought a yellow cake mix today on sale, and this would be a delicious way to use it. Hmm, maybe if I use melted butter instead of oil...

Tina Butler said... #

Stephanie I am sure a regular yellow cake mix will do just fine. I just prefer the butter in all my recipes that ask for yellow cake mix. It makes the recipes so much moister. But by all means use a plain yellow, you will love this cake.

Live.Love.Eat said... #

Oh Yum. I always see this on the menu at the Mexican restaurant we live, I mean dine, at.

Claremont First Ward said... #

Looks delicious. I LOVE this cake.

Maria♥ said... #

Gosh this looks so delicious!!


Overwhelmed! said... #

Oooh, this cake recipe sounds fantastic! I'm going to try it. :)

I’m stopping by to let you know that I’m hosting the “Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style” recipe exchange again this year, coming up this Friday. I hope you can join me and if you’re willing to help me spread the news, I’m offering a giveaway as well!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said... #

Hi Tina. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You really should consider putting together a book. I love your cooking, I've always said that. There is nothing like family-style down home cooking as far as I'm concerned. And you've got it sweetie. Guess what I'm making this afternoon? YOUR Ofelia's Banana Bread. I'm putting it on my blog on Satuday. The recipe is so simple and sounds so good, I can't wait to try it. So, check Saturday afternoon, I should have it up by then with a link back to your site. Big hugs my friend.

Maria said... #

I haven't made this in a long time. Thanks for the reminder. Looks good! I love the fruit on top!

Rayna said... #

Wow, I was blog hopping and found your site. You've got some amazing stuff! I have to try this one!

MrsDesmarais said... #

I made this the other day, and it was awesome! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I even got a picture of my husband and both my sons "cleaning" up the pan...basically fighting over the last piece!!!

Tina Butler said... #

Forwarded comment, I was searching the web for a tres leches cake recipe and happened upon your web site. I wanted to write a review on the site, but couldn't quite figure out how to do that, so I thought I would just email you a compliment.

I love tres leches cake but being a visual person, I really needed to actually see the process before attempting it. Thank you so much for your easy recipe and the wonderful instructional photos. The final presentation of your cake is beautiful also. I can't wait to try it!

Thanks again,
Joanna Riggio
San Francisco, CA

Meaghan_D said... #

I was googling cake recipes when I came upon your site, and am so glad I did! I've spent the last 30 minutes browsing and will absolutely be coming back often for more recipes. This cake looks delish, one of my husband's favs, so I'm making it for his birthday today. Thanks so much for all the great recipes!!

Anonymous said... #

I grew up eating this cake and just wanted to share one more step my mom used to make: before pouring the liquid mixture, she would slice off the entire top and side layer (the "hard" layer), that way the liquid gets better absorbed.

It's more of a hassle (especially to do the top), but ohh so worth it! She would spend so much time making this cake and the fam would devour the entire pan in less than 15 minutes - we're 6! =)


Anna said... #

We love tres leches cake and yes it is expensive to eat a slice of it out at a restaurant. A friend directed me to try this receipe on your website and we made it today for my husband birthday celebration. It was a success. I'm sure it will be all gone tonight when we share it with our friends at dinner. It was simple enough that my 13 yr old made it all by herself. Thanks for sharing.

Do you happen to have a coca cola cake receipe?

Staci Raye said... #

First off i want to say love you blog. Thanks for all the thought and time you devote to it and your loving readers.

That said i wanted to say thanks for some inspiration. I didn't use your recipe for the Tres Leches cake because i was making it full scratch but i did LOVE the decoration on yours. I used a similar effect on one i made for my friends birthday and it was a huge hit. Thanks thanks thanks!

Here is a link to a photo of it on cake central: (http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1591994.html)

Anonymous said... #

I add cream of coconut syrup in addition to the consensed milk and cream--very, very good!!

Lady K said... #

Thank you much for making this cake! I remember loving this cake in Mexico... Brings back so many memories. Just out of curiosity, do you have a recipe for a 'pastel' made from scratch? Thanks!

My sister-in-law has made several recipes from your blog and they turned out so GOOD! I can't wait to try my hand at a few!

Lisa said... #

Thank you so much for this recipe! It's my sons favorite and I plan on making it for his birthday. He will be so excited. He turns 11 and my boys love when mom makes their favorite antojos. Del corazon muchas gracias!

Hautemama said... #

Im making the cake tonight! Cannot wait to try it!!

Anonymous said... #

I made this cake twice and its a winner everytime. I can't wait to make it again for another function I am going too. For some reason Tina this goes very quick lol.

Unknown said... #

Love it normally I would make from scratch but I don't have enough time gotta make this for a mother's day get together with the fam and we're at least 25 so I might have to make 2 thank you. You saved my life! Looks so easy and I've only got a couple of hours so gotta get started. By the way every time I use cool whip or whipping cream it melts not pretty, so I started using cool whip frosting vanilla of course doesn't melt at room temp but it doesn't last long enough to melt in my big fam. thanks! Don't know if I got this comment on or not.

Tina Butler said... #

If the cake is completely cool after adding all of three milks the cool whip will not melt. I used cool whip in the cake on the photo.

Gayle said... #

Where can I find the Nestle Media Crema? I have never heard of this. Thanks

Unknown said... #

Hey me again just wanted to say how the cake turned out. It was a big hit they didn't even notice it was made from a box mix. Even impressed the self proclaimed critic of my family. There were no leftovers!! My cousin who said she wouldn't eat it because it would be too soggy and thought it looked gross when I was making it (you know covered in milk), couldn't resist eating at least three pieces once frosted and topped with fruit. So thank you. By the way such a big hit I now am gonna make one for father's day my dad loved and demanded one for his day too, so thank you again.

Anonymous said... #

Gayle...I know the recipe says usually in the Latin aisle but at my grocery store it was in the baking aisle with the evaporated and sweetened condensed milks. Hope that helps.

Unknown said... #

:D What kind of Cake mix your using?
I'm going to do this on my Mother Birthday.. ^_^

Tina Butler said... #

My cake mix of choice for this cake is French Vanilla.

Bethany Byard said... #

Curious to know if this has to be served the same day or if it can be made the day before. Thanks.

Tina Butler said... #

Bethany most definitely it can be made the day before. I always think this cake is better the second day. I usually make it the morning of the day I want to serve it, but there is nothing wrong with the night before.

Zambianna said... #

This cakes looks totally delicious. the only drawback from my point of view is that I live in Central Africa and imported cake mixes are very very expensive to buy here. I think it might work well with a home made buttery mMdeira cake mix , perhaps with a little extra vanilla. What do you think of that suggestion ?

Anonymous said... #

You can also add some Jamaican rum cream with the three milks its yummy

Kelly Ospina said... #

When I make tres leches this way I beat the separate the eggs and beat the whites before incorporating. The beaten eggs make for more nooks and crannies for the milks to soak into.

Unknown said... #

Any suggestions on how I could incorporate Horchata into this recipe. Maybe in the glaze?

Anonymous said... #

In the directions, it says to mix all the milks together, it even says whole milk. Is whole milk in this recipe? I didn't see it in the list.

Tina Butler said... #

1 - 7.6 oz Nestle Media Crema (table cream) found in Latin isle or whole milk

Anonymous said... #

Do you add the milk mixture while the cake is still warm?

Anonymous said... #

I like to add a Tbs. of rum to the milk and top the cake with cinnamon and pecan chips

Anonymous said... #

Do you have the homemade version

Tina Butler said... #

No I don't have the homemade version to this cake sorry. You would need to make a scratch white cake recipe.

Anonymous said... #

Do I have to let the cake cool before adding the milk?

Tina Butler said... #

While cake is still warm, using a fork, or the back of a wooden spoon poke holes in the cake every 1/2 inch.

diakui.com said... #

Great recipe, thank you willing to share!

Anonymous said... #

Whats the Prep time/Baking time for this recipe?

Tina Butler said... #

The complete recipe is at the end of the post. I think you are just looking at the step by step photos. Scroll down to the end.

Gina said... #

Look very yummy. Captivated by the photos, I hope I have time to cook this week end.

Unknown said... #

Great recipe, thank you willing to share!

Malindo said... #

I was try to make it,, and very very delicious ...:) thanks admin for your cakes recipes

cetak spanduk murah said... #

yummyyyyy i like it

Unknown said... #

Thank you for this recipe. My son requested Tres Leche Cake for his birthday and this turned out perfect!

chiller said... #

Wow, must be very good, especially if we chill first, would be more seger again gan.

Ncepboink said... #

yummyyyyy i like it...goob job