the Best Tres Leches Cake (Milk Cake)

It’s a Three Milk Cake Recipe! Tres Leches cake, to be exact. I really don’t care one bit what it’s called, I call it delicious! This Tres Leches cake recipe creates the richest, most yummy homemade cake recipe you’ll ever put in your face. Just the batter is enough to make you stop your life, sit down on the floor, and smile. It’s heavenly!

this easy, old-fashioned hot milk cake (tres leches cake) is utterly divine!

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This is an old recipe that I found in a beat-up cookbook at a garage sale years ago. The cookbook is from the early 1900’s and completely handwritten. I was utterly stoked!

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Many of the recipes are crazy strange with ingredients I haven’t heard of. Or, not a huge fan of trying to use (I still can’t wrap my brain around lard in baking).

This one, however, was amazing. Soooo good.

Isn’t there something so special about a handwritten recipe from generations ago? It feels so precious and special.

Can I make this Tres Leches Cake with a cake mix?

Yes, you absolutely can. You would simply bake the cake, poke it with holes, and move on to the next steps.

But you GUYS…why?! You will just die for this cake batter! No really, I know that eating that stuff raw is bad for you but it was a Tuesday morning and a day full of nonsense. This cake batter….THIS CAKE BATTER THOUGH…it’s simply to die for and totally helps with those crappy Tuesday mornings :). Don’t eat it raw, that’s bad for you (PSA announcement).

This cake recipe is over a hundred years old and DESERVES you to give a moment in your life. You’ll be so glad you did.

tres-leches-seperate-eggs

An important piece of a successful Tres Leches cake that seems a bit daunting for beginning bakers but SHOULDN’T be is the need to separate your egg whites from the egg yolks. This will make a big difference in how fluffy that cake gets. It takes only a couple extra minutes but will make all the difference in the world!

Tip: do one egg at a time in a small bowl and then move the yolk and whites. I have heard from many people that seperate their eggs over the mixing bowl only to have yolk fall in and they have to fish it out. Just do it in a different bowl and make it easy for yourself, will ya.

I pulled a fast one and swapped out traditional milk for coconut milk in the recipe. I like the flavor better and I feel a wee bit better about the calorie consumption. If you aren’t a coconut milk fan simply use whole milk in its place. By no means is this a healthy cake, don’t assume that using coconut milk will make it so. But still…it gets me an extra bite or two, I would think :-).

Why is it called a Tres Leches Cake?

Because it uses 3 milks to get that super rich and amazing flavor!
This recipe uses coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk all mixed together and poured over the top of the cake to make it utterly rich, moist, and ah-maz-ing!

tres leches cake, in process

Tres Leches Cake Recipe (old-fashioned milk cake)

Top the cake with a simple whipped topping and fruit. This cake needs nothing else to dress it up. Just don’t forget to chill the cake. This is an absolute must! The longer it chills, in fact, the better. You need all that richness to soak into every fiber of the cake.

Tips for Tres Leches Cake:

  1. You couldn’t have picked a better recipe to try! It is easy but tastes SO HARD!
  2. If you forget to take your eggs out the night before (we all do that!), before you move forward with this recipe, put them in a bowl with warm-ish water. Keep that water on the warm-ish side while you are moving forward with the recipe. They will gently come up to a better temp during their “bath”.
  3. To speed up your time and remove one thing from your list to do (especially if you don’t have a mixer!)…grab purchased whipped cream for the top of your cake. No apologies for using purchased products, if it gets you in the kitchen cooking!
  4. Do NOT underestimate the value of this cake having time to chill in the fridge! This truly is a fix and forget cake…it gets better and better the more time it sits!

Tres Leches Cake (Three Milk Cake)

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Tres Leches Cake Recipe

An easy and delicious Tres Leches Cake (Three Milk Cake) that will fast be a family favorite!

Course Dessert
Keyword milk cake, tres leches cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
chilling time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs room temperature and separated
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract

For Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan very well! 

  2. Sift flour and baking powder together in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Cream the butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until well blended.
  4. Add egg whites and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat for about 4 minutes on high.
  5. Add the egg yolks and beat on medium, just until well combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time, mix until well blended (you may need to scrape the bowl with a spatula after each addition.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool. 

  9. Pierce cake several times with a fork, chopstick, or skewer. Really...lot's of holes!
  10. Whisk the coconut milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together.
  11. Slowly pour over the top of the cooled cake. 

  12. Whip whipping cream, the 1 cup of powdered sugar. and the additional 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick--about 5 minutes at high speed. (watch it though, too long and you have butter!)
  13. Spread over the top of cake. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving, the longer the better!

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