Tres Leches Cake

Total Time:
45 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
25 min

Yield:
16 to 20 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Directions

Position rack in bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with the shortening. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour to the greased pan and shake it around to coat the entire pan with the flour. Shake out excess flour. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sugar with the mixer running, beating until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg is added. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the batter in stages, alternating with the whole milk, beginning and ending with the flour. (Do this quickly so that the batter does not lose its volume.) Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 cups of the heavy cream. Cover and blend on high for 45 seconds.

Remove 1 1/2 cups of the milk mixture, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.

Pour 1/2 of the remaining milk mixture over the warm cake.

When the cake has soaked up most of the liquid, pour the remaining half of the milk mixture over the cake, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, beat the remaining cup of heavy cream in the electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners' sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled cake.

Serve the cake with the reserved chilled milk sauce.


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4.6 55
I found the cake flavour too eggy for tres leches. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this and thought the cake should bake closer to 45 than 25 minutes. Then it worked perfectly, I used whipped cream with a little lime zest to top it off and next time may additionally sprinkle a little cinnamon on top as well for a green, white, and red appearahce that mimics the Mexican flag. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for a Cinco de Mayo party. Everyone is still talking about it. Perfect dessert, not too sweet. One cake goes a long way. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great recipe. I made this for the first time for a teacher appreciation luncheon. Everybody loved it and even had a few people from Mexico tell me it tasted just like back home. Make sure to use all the milk that is called for as it is supposed to resemble more of a bread pudding than a traditional cake. This is now my husband's favorite cake! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Served this at a Mexican-themed Christmas Party. Of all the desserts (and there were many!, this was the first gone and received the most compliments. Following some of the reviews, I poked lots of holes in the cake with a skewer and poured ALL the milk mixture over it. Perfect texture and taste. Will definitely make again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is quite possibly the worst Tres Leches I have ever tasted. Here in Houston we have lots of Mexican Restaurants and I taste the Tres Leches at almost every one. This recipe just isn't good. It tastes like a blob of flower with just a little bit of sweet sauce on it. Not sweet enough, texture is poor. I'm going to have to throw out the entire pan after tasting two pieces. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've made this several times now - as written each and every time. You definitely want to take your time when pouring the liquid over the cake at the end. Go slow so every piece soaks up some of that deliciousness. Even my uber-picky 6 year-old requests this cake. Outstanding! I serve it with berries and nectarines. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've never made this cake before. It turned out much better than I thought. I did read all the reviews, but still followed the recipe. It does use a lot of the milk mixture, and I thought that if I made this again that I wouldn't use as much. However, I conferred with some of my hispanic friends and they said it needed more milk. So, I would definitely make this recipe again and try to use all the milk mixture it calls for. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love, love, LOVE this cake. I usually add about 1/2 jar of caramel ice cream topping, lots of cinnamon, and a few tsps of sea salt to the milk mixture before pouring over the top. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was not as good as I expected it to be. Will not make again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Yum! I've never had this and was expecting a soggy result, but happily surprised! Of note: be sure you use a blender. I used my food processor and it leaked everywhere. Also, the milk sauce portion that was to be poured over the cake was nearly twice what I was able to use; I wound up throwing nearly half of it away. Even so, this is a GREAT cake, and I will definitely make again - and again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was okay. The whipped cream lacked sweetness and flavor. I am Hispanic and have had Tres Leches many times before and I don't think this recipe matched the "traditional" taste of an authentic one. Although I will add that just because it doesn't taste the same doesn't mean it tasted bad. After drenching it with the milk mixture after pulling out of the oven the cake was not too moist but after pouring the separated milk right before serving it it really is a moist cake with good flavors combined. Emeril,sorry, you did not get two thumbs up from me on this one but thank you anyway for satisfying a sweet tooth. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family absolutely loved this recipe! It was super moist and melted in your mouth. My in-laws said it was like bread pudding on steroids. This has quickly become a family favorite. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for a pot luck. I had it at a Cuban restaurant and also at a baking contest and I loved it. I found this recipe and, although it was a hit and everyone said they loved it, I was not happy with it. It tasted nothing like the Tres Leches Cakes I had tasted. The ones I tasted were almost like a pudding cake. This recipe, although it was moist, was still a little dry compared to the others I have tried. It was also very sweet for my taste. A man at work, who is from Cuba, said his wife makes the best Tres Leches Cake so I had him taste mine. He also said it should be much more soggy than it was so he is going to get me the recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is very close to the top of my favorite cakes. It received raves from all the family when used as a brithday cake today for my son-in-law. It is light, moist and makes you want more. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is AMAZING!!!! I made it for the 1st time for xmas and everyone loved it...right now im making my 2nd one of the week and will make another one for New Years Eve Party :. Chef Emeril is the BEST and i LOVE all his recipes!!!! THE BEST CAKE EVER....THANK YOU : item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious !! I only put 1 of the evaporated milk and one of the condensed milk it was perfect that way item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake yesterday. This was my second attempt (my first one being an absolute disaster and it was a screaming success. I had no trouble getting all the milk mixture to absorb but I found this cloyingly sweet. Recipe called for 2 cans of sweetened condensed and I would definitely cut that one extra out and maybe add 2 cans of evap. Getting the eggs right is the key to make the cake almost like a meringue. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried both Alton Browns Tres Leche and Emeril's. They are both excellent, Emerils is a bit sweeter and airy and Altons more dense and buttery. Both recipes are delicious and easy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Has anyone tried making this in a bunt cake pan? If so, what temp did you bake it, and how long? I just think it would look good...if it turned out. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was excellent! It was not a "wet" cake as most usually are. This was my first attempt at Tres Leche cake as an experiment for our upcoming company picnic. My niece LOVES tres leche cake and she LOVED this one too! I took a short cut with the frosting and used a commercial brand. Once I pre-sliced the cake to proper portion sizes, I added a marchiano cherry and sprinkled cinnamon on each piece. I'm my own worst critic and I enjoyed every bite! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was absolutely delicious! It really hit the spot! I was craving tres leches and I was very happy with the outcome. My only complaint is that the recipe ought to say approximately how long it will take to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, for us worrywarts who aren't super experienced. It seemingly took forever. Also, do NOT dump the amount of milk you're supposed to put on the cake all at once, or it will seriously overflow! The cake went all the way to the top of my 9x13 pan, so I just poured a little at a time, and since the middle was a little dipped in (I checked it too soon, I think, I just used my clean finger to push the milk from that center to the edges to help get a more even soak-in. I did have a little that didn't soak in, but not much. I didn't make the whipped cream topping because it just seemed like it might be overkill and I figured if I left it out I could just buy a pint of whipped cream. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I LOVE this cake recipe!!!! I used Alton Brown's mixture for the three milks, but I am in love with this cake recipe. It is the first cake I made from scratch, and I am going to use it again today. But, instead of using the tres leches mixture I'm going to use up some fresh plums, peaches, and nectarines. I'm going to cook them first to make a syrup and use the syrup to soak in the cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have tried 3 Tres Leches Cake recipes and this is the best one by far! It uses a sponge cake base and works the best at soaking up and holding the milk mixture. I think this version (and most traditional recipes) are very sweet--too me almost cloyingly so. In my last version, I cut the sweetened condensed milk in half and that seemed perfect to me. Agree with others to definitely let sit overnight and use the recommended amount of milk mixture. The cake is supposed to be "soggy"! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing! I have made this a couple times and it has been a hit. Definitely let it set overnight, the longer it the milk sets in, the better it is. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Omg!!! This is great I have made it several times and it is requested at work often. I made it as written, but also a tweak, using half white sugar and half brown sugar in the cake and instead of the sweetened condensed milk, I substituted 2 cans dulce de leche in the cream mixture. It gives a great caramel flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Tasted great and everyone at my pictionary party loved it. Instead of using the extra milk mixture I just used a can of whipping cream. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wish I could give it more stars! My new favorite cake! Made it twice for 2 separate gatherings and everyone loved it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
the best tres leche cake in the world! it is so fun to make and everyone at my party asked for the recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am prepping for a Mexican-themed party and did a trial run of this recipe for our dessert. It is tasty, but I did have entirely too much milk mixture than the cake could absorb. For the cup and a half of the milk mixture that you serve with the cake, I added some cinnamon for us to dip our bites in. That was a nice little addition. It's a very time-consuming cake to make, but we enjoyed it. When I make it for the party, I will poke holes in the cake and I will probably use less milk mixture. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Honestly this is the BEST tres leche cake ever! It is so rich and flavorful! It was a huge hit in my family. For some reason there was way too much of the leche mix left over .. we tried pouring it over each slice of our cake but still too much was left over. Overall a wonderful cake! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Had to prepare a traditional Mexican dessert to accompany my MIL's amazing homemade Mexican dinner. This dessert passed with flying colors! Easy to make and only soaked for 4 hours. I actually moved the cake to a larger pan and dumped the entire milk mix in for the full 4 hours. I also used a fork to poke dozens of holes into the cake. Worked marvelously! TRY IT! item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you freeze this cake after it has absorbed all the milk mixture, O.M.G. you practically have "TRES LECHES ICECREAM CAKE" that's how my father has eating it for forty years. GO FROZEN!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for fathers day and it was a BIG HIT. Everyone loved it. I found that by slicing the cake in half and pouring the milk mixture into both sides when the cake was still hot I didn't need to put in all the milk and the cake was moist enough all the way through without it becoming soggy. Super yummy!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very easy and delicious. Everyone loved it. It seems that there is way too much liquid for the cake to absorb but after refrigerating overnight, it was great. Try this recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was an easy recipe to make, and it's the only tres leches cake I've ever liked. Very light, slightly sweet. I'm a fan. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is the best 3 milk cake I have ever tasted! Not only is it good, but the recipe is easy to follow and turned out superb. I would not change a thing. Thank you Emeril. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This Tres Leches cake was soo good. Not one person did not like it!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for our anual Super Bowl party and everyone raved about it. The cake was easy to make--I just added more powered sugar to the whipped cream frosting. That is the only change I made. Thanks for the great recipe Emeril. item not reviewed by moderator and published
We made this for Xmas dessert this year and it didn't disappoint. The recipe seemed a little sweet (even for Tres Leches) so I decided to use only homemade whipping cream for the frosting. This also cut down on the level of difficulty. I'm also glad I read the reviews before baking--great tip to poke holes in the cake to allow for maximum soakage and I'd reco soaking overnight. The holes disappear. Will definitely make this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake over the summer and am making it again for a New Year's Day dinner. It was so delicious and exactly the Tres Leches I have been searching for! My "taste testers" said it was, "A slice of heaven". item not reviewed by moderator and published
My cake did not turn out very spongy, and the milk mixture wasn't absorbed at all. Will try again, beating the eggs longer, folding in the flour, and poking holes before pouring the milk. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made Tres Leches Cake for my spanish class, and earned rave reviews. I even managed to receive a compliment from my professor, who lived and studied in Spain for several years. It is such a delicious cake - moist and spongy, people were delighted with its sweetness. (It managed to find a balance point where it was sweet without being sickeningly sweet.) Thanks Emeril, this is a delicious recipe! I will try poking carefully spaced holes next time to allow for even draining of the milk. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is supposed to be very sweet, so if you don't like sweet cakes, then you won't like this type of cake. That being said, this cake was awesome and tasted very authentic. Just like the ones you would get in a Miami bakery. It is labor intensive, but very good and I promise you it is NOT BLAND at all. I made it for my husband's office luncheon and everyone asked me for the recipe and went out of their way to say how much they loved it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for book club and it was a huge success. I made it with lower fat evaporated milk and used 2% milk in the cake batter. It was still one of the richest desserts I have ever eaten. Sliced some strawberries on it - it was like a "kicked up" version of the home made strawberry (real) shortcake I remember as a child because we used to pour milk all over it and eat it that way. I would like to try making a few smaller cakes and freezing it since it makes so much. I wonder if it could be frozen without the tres leches and then when thawed, slightly warm the cake and pour the liquids over it then. I wonder if the tres leches liquid could be frozen too. Anyone tried this? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I however modified the recipe a little. I always add more vanilla extract then the recipe calls for, usually double (but always pure vanilla extract) I substituted 1 1/2 cups of the heavy cream for 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (so I suppose it would be quatro leches, but whatever) and I added a 1/2 cup of vanilla rum. I made sure to poke holes throughout the entire cake about a quarter inch apart using a small wooden skewer. Make sure the cake is completely cooled. Then starting at the center I slowly began pouring the milk mixture on the cake, waiting until each addition was fully absorbed before adding more; This process took about 30 - 45 minutes. But patience paid off as the milk was evenly absorbed and the bottom was not soggy. I also did not add the extra whip cream on top but drizzled caramel sauce and sprinkled toasted coconut flakes on the top. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was invited to a "Mexican" themed dinner party and wasnt sure what to bring. All the bases were covered for the entrees and I was in charge of dessert. I was a little nervous to try this one, but it was simple to make and turned out great! Everyone loved it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband raved about a tres leches cake he had in San Antonio so I made him this one for his birthday. He said it was much better than the one he had in TX. All our guests loved it!!! So delicious!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
What a great recipe Emeril !!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
And I don't think it's Emeril's fault. I compared this recipe to countless other tres leches recipes and they are very similar. After all the raving reviews about these cakes, I couldn't wait to try it. Sweetened condensed milk poured over cake, what's not to like? However, I thought this cake was really bad, really bland. It just tastes sweet. Even the vanilla doesn't shine through. The only thing I think would improve it would be to bake the sweetened condensed milk to make a sort of dulce de leche before pouring it over. The cake tastes very soggy and wet a few hours after serving. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Rich and delicious. I needed to punch large knife holes in the cake to allow the milk mixture soak in, and I still lost some. Instead of topping with the whipped cream, I just toasted some coconut and sprinkled over the cake. It was pretty and tasty too. I froze some of the cake in pieces and thawed for 24 seconds and it was perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake has become a fast favorite. My husband has requested i make it for his birthday. The guys at the firehouse are still talking about it a month later: ) item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is very sweet and very heavy. Its tastes great in small doses, once or twice. But now I have a huge cake in my fridge that tastes pretty good, but is really rich and I'm not sure if I want to eat much more of it. Its tastes good, but beware. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm not even sure how to describe how rich and delicious this cake is. If you have no willpower (like me), prepare for a tilt on the scale. It's a HUGE cake in every way possible. The amt of cake first of all makes it difficult to work with and I had to poke holes in it with a knife (the smaller holes I poked with a skewer weren't enough) in order for the milk mixture to actually soak into the cake and not run off the top and over the pan. The recipe says to let sit in the frig for between 4 and 24 hours. I served it at just 24 hours but found that it actually had a better consistency and taste somewhere around 48 hours. Also, the whipped cream on top makes the cake pretty but really is just too, too much. Everyone preferred it with confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top (and those whipped cream die-hards put a dollop on the side). The flavor is of eggs and sweet milk and vanilla. The consistency is almost a custard-like cake. It weighs a ton and tastes like heaven! item not reviewed by moderator and published
ANY THING EMERIL MAKES IS SUPER GOOD! item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Cinco de Mayo