Tres Leche Cake

Total Time:
9 hr 10 min
45 min
8 hr
25 min

1 (13 by 9-inch) cake

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.


Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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    I've made this tres leche cake recipe probably a dozen times and we absolutely love it! The cake does taste better and more milky after it has been sitting for 24 hours. I also add some extra half-and-half to make it extra milky. Do not add the entire amount of sugar when making the whipped cream, it can be extremely overly sweet and almost inedible. I make sure only to add a tablespoon or two of sugar when whipping the cream, you don't want it too sweet. Other than that, the recipe is a winner!
    Why does my review keep getting deleted!? This recipe is too grainy, too soggy and WAY too sweet. Try a different one unless you have a sickening sweet tooth. I used a stand mixer and followed directions exactly, by the way. The cake should be spongier. Cut the sugar in the whipped cream and cake! There are easier and better recipes but I'm afraid to post a link because I keep getting deleted!
    1 c. flour 
    1 tsp. baking powder 
    tsp. salt 
    Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, beat 5 egg yolks with 1 c. of sugar. Add 1tsp vanilla and 1/2 c. milk into yolk mixture and mix together. Fold into flour mixture. 
    In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and c. sugar until the mixture forms peaks. Gently fold egg whites into the batter.  
    Pour batter into a 9?x13? buttered pan and bake for about 40 minutes at 350
    My recipe turned out grainy/soggy/way too sweet whenever I didn't follow the video instructions, but instead just followed the written instructions. When I watched the video and did exactly as Alton said, everything was fab. Maybe try that?
    I loved the cake, made my own cake flour, and used less sugar in the frosting but it's a great recipe.
    This cake is EXCELLENT! I am an experienced baker, but have never before made a tres leche cake, and I am so glad I chose this recipe to try. I think many of those giving less than stellar reviews got the measurements wrong. The measurements are by weight, and an oz in weight differs from an oz in volume (i.e. the oz on the side of a measuring cup). And beware some of the reviews that offer conversions, they are incorrect. I did do my measurements by weight. My cake was perfect and my glaze (yes use ALL of it!!!!) absorbed within minutes (you still do need to refrigerate it at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours). The only alteration I made to the entire recipe was to use less sugar in the whipped cream topping. I make whipped cream frequently and knew that 8 oz would be way too sweet for me and my family, so I cut it to 4 oz. It was still sweeter than I would usually make my whipped cream, but I think it suited the cake perfectly and will make it the same way next time.
    Can you give the measurement you used
    Sorry, no b/c as I said I did it by weight. BUT I do know that my 6 3/4 oz of flour was approximately 1 1/4 cups (by volume) of flour, and as some conversions on here have it as 1 3/4 or even 2 cups, I know those must be way off (and would result in a stodgy cake).
    This is my 9-year-old's favorite cake. I deduct one star in the rating due to having to alter the recipe slightly. I reduce the amount of sugar in the topping recipe from 8oz to 2-4oz, depending on taste. I read in other reviews that it comes out very sweet and I agree that the cake soaked in the glaze is so rich and sweet, that I prefer a less sweet, whipped topping. I would not cheat and buy Cool-whip here. Otherwise I made the recipe as is and I love it!
    Awesome Cake!! I've made this for my home, kids' school teachers, friends' parties and it is always a hit! Only change I make is the frosting. I just use lite/fat free whipped cream topping just because I'm lazy and don't trust myself with the heavy whipping cream.
    This is a better recipe: 
    I LOVE Alton Brown but Emeril has him beat with this particular cake. ENJOY!
    I thought Cake Flour already had salt in it. So why add more when the reader below felt like it was too much with 1/2 tsp??? I will go be what she says! Thanks Marquita. 
    For those having trouble with the thickness of the cake, or the whipped topping, here's a few tips: 
    1. The cake is nearly impossible to make without a mixer. A bowl mixer is the preferred method, and what I'm working with, but a good hand-mixer should also suffice. The time the ingredients should sit mixing in the bowl is around five to seven minutes. The consistency should not be flat. The mix should form smallish peaks before you're ready to throw it in the oven. If you do it correctly, the cake should turn out large enough to absorb most or ALL the milk you pour into it.  
    2. The same above applies to the whipped topping. Make sure you have thick peaks in the frosting before you take it to task for application. This is not a cake you should slide the frosting over with a spatula. Invest in a cake-decorating frosting applicator. This should save you headaches when it comes to the appearance of your cake as the top is delicate due to the holes you'll be making with the fork.  
    If you've ever had authentic Tres Leches, THIS is it!!! The cake is supposed to be tough at first to absorb all the cream/milk etc... Also, it's hispanic, so it's sweeter than most American desserts. 
    This is by far the best/truest recipe for this I've ever tried.
    This is the only recipe for Tres Leches cake that I can ever find that turns out well. I hear people who just make it with boxed white cake, and I tried that once just came out really soggy, and not in an appealing way. So I stick to this recipe! One thing I do note is that, to me anyway, 1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt seems a wee bit too much -- it doesn't make it inedible by any means! When you watch the video, it comes over as more of a heavy pinch (which for me would be less than a 1/2 tsp.
    Delicious, easy, really milky like it should be. Cut the sweet with fruit if desired.
    Made this cake for the first time, and enjoyed it. The texture is nice. It is a bit too sweet for our taste, which is the only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars. I even cut down the sugar in the whipped cream topping to 6 oz instead of 8 oz, since I was able to taste it prior to adding all of the sugar. Next time I make it, I plan to cut sugar in the cake down 50%, and hope that it will turn out ok.
    Wish I knew what I did wrong. Would love to try it again. The taste was wonderful. Not soggy either. The texture was where I went wrong. It was like cornbread. Any tips would be helpful. Thanks.
    I made this cake yesterday. It came out a bit soggy. It is not mushy though. I don't know what I did wrong. I followed the recipe. But it taste delicious. Did I pour too much milk on the cake? Idk.
    Very yummy! Family loved it, made it for the 1st time today, mother's day. Almost all gone, and they debated who was keeping what little was left! But I do think I may substitute regular milk for the half n half because it does get quite heavy. Can't wait to make it again! Thx AB!
    Unbelievable cake!! I had never made a tres leche cake until about a month ago and was BLOWN AWAY by this recipe!! I should have know- it's an Alton Brown recipe : This is a keeper!!
    Simply put...yum! Very dense and lots of rich flavor! It's a definite keeper!
    Wow, this was really easy and turned out great! I never had tres leches cake before, so I did not know what to expect. I followed the recipe exactly, and even bought a kitchen scale (finally in order to weigh the ingredients. I was very afraid that the cake would end up being a soggy mess, but it was super moist and delicious! I made this for a cinco de mayo party. My mom, who never had this cake before either, said it may be her new favorite cake! I would definitely recommend this recipe!
     I will note that the milk took a long time to soak into my cake. In Alton's video I think he shows the cake after 3 minutes and the milk had mostly soaked in. Even after a few hours my cake still had a fairly thick layer of the milk mixture on top. However, after letting it soak overnight it was fine.
    I've always poked holes in my cake with a fork before pouring my milk. I find it helps the milk absorb faster without making the top too mushy to frost easily.
    Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out delicious! I even used a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer and it still turned out great! Good thing cinco de mayo only comes once a year cuz the calorie count is pretty high (310 cals each if u cut it into 24 pieces but I'm willing to sacrifice myself once a year!
    Absolutely delicious. I read the reviews before trying it and I am grateful for the standard measurements versus the measurements by weight. This is definitely a keeper!
    This is the best Tres Leches cake!
    This was an excellent Tres Leche cake recipe. It was not difficult and the guests raved about it. Just read and follow the directions as written and you will be pleased.
    i make this cake for so many birthdays. for the adults, i reduce the half and half to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup bailey's irish cream. gotta try it this way!
    This cake is fantastic! Yes it's sweet, though it has a slightly burnt caramel flavor from the sweetened condensed milk which is wonderful. It is a soggy cake, but if you make it right it shouldn't be mushy.  
    You HAVE to follow the recipe though. If you use AP flour instead of cake flour, chances are the cake will be tough. Don't rush while making it either. Integrate the sugar and flour in batches and the eggs one at a time. 
    When it comes the people who said that the cake didn't soak up the liquid, remember you have to poke all the way through the cake and you have to put a LOT of holes. I use a skewer as it leaves bigger holes which helps, and I make sure to cover every square inch. If your cake isn't soaking up the liquid, chances are you didn't perforate it enough. I've made this 3 times already and each time it takes only about a minute to soak up the liquid.  
    I do agree with cutting the sugar in the whipped cream to 4oz. It's plenty sweet enough without all that extra sugar.
    This is an amazing recipe!! I use it often and will continue to use it for many occasions to come!!
    I followed the recipe exactly and ours turned out great. I might use a little less half/half for the mixture that your pour over next time as there was a tiny bit that settled in the corners. Watching the video first (a few times helped a lot and I did buy a cheap scale to weigh the flour. I also let it sit in the fridge for 24 hrs before adding the whip cream topping then serving. There were 10 of us and not a peice left!
    It gets one star only because zero isn't an option. The cake came out as thick as a cookie, and the icing was runny. The taste wasn't good at all to someone who loves tres leches. I followed the recipe exactally and it was horrible and a complete waste of my money
    I made this cake for my mother's birthday and it was delicious . it was definitely a hit with the whole family , even the pickiest of them enjoyed it ! , would definitely make it again very easy to make , maybe use a little less sugar next time .
    I made this cake last year for my husbands birthday. It didnt turn out exactly like it should have but he liked it. Im having a problem getting it to bake all the way through. After 25 minutes the middle is practically still liquid. What's going on? I let it cook longer and it turns out fine but im not sure what im doing wrong??
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    Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond