tres leches cake Recipes

tres leches cake + a taco party

After coming to our senses about our dream of a Friendsgiving dinner party last month versus the reality of life with two kids, two full-time jobs, a small oven and a worrisomely low inventory of forks (seriously, where do they go?) we decided instead to have a Taco Dinner Party last weekend. Among our friends, in a tacos vs. turkey throwdown, tacos will always win. This might be why we get along so well.


taco party

The menu* is one of my favorites and it’s incredibly simple: A big brisket goes in the slow-cooker the night before and in the morning is transferred to the fridge where it can rest for the day so it can be easily de-fatted and gently rewarmed and shredded before dinner. [Recipe here.] A pot of black beans, which can also be handed off to the slow-cooker, is essential. [I use the Black Bean Ragout from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but this soup with less liquid isn’t a bad place to start.] I make a giant batch of Lazy Taco Slaw and Pickled Red Onions [recipes outlined at the bottom of this post]. My friend Ang brought over tomatillo salsa from her deck garden [but this one is a great place to start]. I raided the Mexican bodega in my neighborhood for corn tortillas, extra hot sauce, pickled jalapenos and crema, although the grocery store varieties of each work just as well. We juice a lot of limes and make a pitcher or two my go-to 3:2:1 margarita (3 parts tequila, 2 parts lime juice and 1 part Cointreau) [but if you can get blood oranges where you are, do yourself a favor and make these]. And then we made a lot of queso, because I sometimes delight in making food snobs clutch their pearls.

tres leches cake, what you'll need whipped egg whitesthen the yolkks dry ingrediemts last

fluffy cake batter cooling sponge
poking holes to improve absorption mixing the milks
soaking the cake whipped cream

And then, because everyone lies when they say they don’t need dessert, I made a Tres Leches Cake and it was decidedly mediocre. Not “went uneaten” mediocre, but absolutely not what I had in mind. I used what is probably the most popular recipe for it on the internet, and ended up with a hard too-sweet cake that didn’t absorb the liquid and left me Monday Morning Quarterbacking (look honey, I used a football reference!) over how to make it better. I reviewed 100 recipes online, I hunted through all of my cookbooks, and then I turned to one of my secret favorite sources for authentic cooking lessons — YouTube videos with fairly low production values, preferably not in English. After watching a few Mexican grandmothers make theirs from what seemed to be memory, a few themes emerged: all of them use a classic sponge cake (soft and light, with almost all of its texture and volume from whipped eggs), and almost none use the kind with butter in it; buttery cakes won’t absorb all that liquid as well. While 90 percent of them whip their egg whites and yolks separately and then fold them together, after seeing one or two make a go of it as almost a one-bowl cake, I did just this and will never go back. Finally, just about everyone seems to agree that because the cake is exceptionally sweet, as it should be, the whipped topping doesn’t need to be. From here, I made the tres leches cake that will be my forever go-to, which means it’s time for the next dinner party, right?

cloud of cream
tres leches cake
tres leches cake

* More Dinner Party Menus: In this new section, I’m building out some of my tried-and-tested dinner party menus from the archives. Included so far: Taco Party, Winter Dinner Party, A Little Fancy (with vegetarian swaps below), a Hanukah Party, Mussels and Fries (my go-to for inviting people over for that very night), and our summer favorite, a Ribs Fest. Check it out! [Dinner Party Menus]

My Favorite Hosting Tips: I wrote a short piece for New York Magazine’s The Cut about my entertaining “rules,” which also includes a second Moules Frites menu, the one from my cookbook. Check it out! [Smitten Kitchen’s Dinner Party Menu on The Cut]

Even More Hosting Tips: I contributed a few tips to Cup of Jo’s guide over here. [Dinner Party Tips on Cup of Jo]

Signed Copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: As in previous years, you can order a copy of TSKC inscribed any way you like by me, through McNally-Jackson books, a lovely little independent bookstore in Soho. The deadline to safely receive your order by Christmas this year is December 13th. [I will be signing all orders on the 14th.] [Signed Smitten Kitchen Cookbooks at McNally-Jackson]

One year ago: Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix and Gingerbread Biscotti
Two years ago: Cigarettes Russes Cookies
Three years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Four years ago: Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies and Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Five years ago: Roasted Chestnut Cookies
Six years ago: Balsamic Braised Brussels with Pancetta, Cream Biscuits and Coffee Toffee
Seven years ago: Cabbage Apple and Walnut Salad and Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Eight years ago: Rugelach Pinwheels, Fennel Ice Cream and Ratatouille Tart
Nine years ago: Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Wild Mushroom Pirogis, Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake and Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Picnic Pink Lemonade and Crispy Frizzled Artichokes
1.5 Years Ago: Nancy’s Chopped Salad and Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
2.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
3.5 Years Ago: Asparagus and Almonds with Yogurt Dressing and Strawberries and Cream Biscuits
4.5 Years Ago: Fudge Popsicles

Tres Leches Cake [Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk’s Cake]

This easily the most popular cake in Mexico, a vanilla sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three “milks” (sweetened condensed, evaporated and heavy or light cream) and topped with whipped cream. While sponge cakes can be made with or without butter, the butter-free ones that might be less enjoyable to eat plain (see: spongy and butterless) are perfect here because they drink the milks and become, IMHO, the highest calling of a sponge cake. Although tres leches cakes are supposed to be very sweet — it is tradition! — I cannot resist dialing back the sugar in the cake just a little. My two other tweaks are optional; if you have a fresh vanilla bean around, it’s exceptional in here. And, when I’m making this cake for a grown-up dinner party, I love adding 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum to the three mix mixture. Want to fiddle even more with tradition? Replace the cream with coconut milk or eggnog, for a holiday riff. Some people like to add a little cinnamon or nutmeg to the whipped topping, but I never do.

Butter and flour for cake pan
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 large eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped from pods or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 (12-ounce or 340 grams) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce or 400 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy or light cream (half-and-half)
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) rum (optional)
2 cups (475 ml) heavy cream (for whipped topping)
2 tablespoons (15 grams) powdered or granulated sugar (for whipped topping)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan, or coat it with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch (together, these make “cake flour” without you having to buy it), salt and baking powder. If using a fresh vanilla bean, rub seeds into 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar to disperse them and help release the most flavor. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the machine still running, gradually add the sugar (vanilla bean-infused or plain) and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. If you haven’t used a vanilla bean, now add your vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Add yolks one at at time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add milk and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture, one-third at at time, folding in each addition gently by hand.

Pour batter in prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, or until a tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Let completely cool in pan on a rack.

In a large bowl, preferably one with a pouring spout, whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups heavy or light cream. Add rum, if using. Use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over cake. Pour all but 1/2 cup milk mixture over cake and transfer to fridge, giving the cake several hours but ideally overnight to soak it up. (Save last bit of milk mixture for serving.)

Before serving, beat 2 cups heavy cream with 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over top of cake.

Serve cake in squares, first pouring a little puddle of reserved three-milk mixture at the bottom of plate.

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179 comments on tres leches cake + a taco party

  1. Alison

    I looooove tres leches cake. I’ve made the Coconut Tres Leches cake from Chowhound a billion times and highly recommend that as well. I think it really benefits from the crunchy coconut for some textural contrast.

  2. Isadora

    I LOVE queso, and made it ‘from scratch’ a few weeks ago, but deferred to Velveeta (eek!) for its melty gooeyness. Is there a better cheese candidate? (Is that a crazy question?)

  3. Lilly

    More important…what’s your queso recipe? Classic velveeta and rotel, or do you have a better one? We’re hosting a holiday work party for my husband tomorrow and had already settled on a taco night.

  4. deb

    I make queso with Velveeta and Ro-Tel and it’s perfect. I know it can be made from scratch, and perhaps I will one day, but for the 1x a year we make it for parties, I have no qualms about the unnatural stuff. You should see how fast it goes.

  5. Liz

    Maybe I’ve got this all wrong here, but is it possible that “exceptionally sweet” was meant to link not to McNally Jackson, but to a baby picture? ;)

  6. Beth in Seattle

    Mmmm, queso. Normally I’m grossed out by processed cheese, but queso may have been the best thing about living in Texas. When we moved back to Seattle, I tried to make a more natural version using this recipe (http://bit.ly/1Y2tfgG) from the Homesick Texan. While it was tasty, it just wasn’t queso. So it was back to the Velveeta and Rotel. So good :)

  7. Kimberly

    I’m so glad to see the Dinner Party section. I cannot get enough of the menus other people put together and their planning tips.

  8. Ashley

    Oh no! You cannot use velveeta and rotel! I will save you from terrible queso-ness!

    Take about two (depending on your heat preference) chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped. Add a jalapeno or two chopped, and saute with a tablespoon of butter in a pan with a teaspoon or so of cumin and a half teaspoon of smoked paprika.

    When that has softened up, add a half cup of milk until warm.

    Then add about a quarter pound of white american cheese FROM THE DELI COUNTER, not that is prewrapped.

    stir. add more milk if it’s too thick. It’s pretty forgiving.

  9. Jenevieve

    Tres Leches is my favorite dessert ever. I always use the rum; my kids love it and I’m a bad enough parent that I don’t worry about it. :)

  10. Kati

    Was this a taco party for dragons? Were there pantloads of tacos?

    If this question doesn’t make sense to you, then I highly recommend getting the book Dragons Love Tacos [http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Love-Tacos-Adam-Rubin/dp/0803736800]. If it does make sense to you, then how did you keep them safe from that bottle of hot sauce? :)

  11. Arkay

    I’ve been using Alton Brown’s Tres Leches Cake recipe since the day he aired it YEARS ago, and I have to say, it’s stellar. the hardest part is making sure your oven racks are level.

    My secret for the best “milk cake” as my kids call it, is that you have to top the whipped cream with a hearty layer of fresh raspberries. The tart berry is the perfect compliment to the sweet and milky cake. One time i made it with lilikoi topping, and that was my favorite, but the kids prefer the raspberries.

    You’re inspiring me to make a taco (and tamales of course) party christmas eve!

  12. Katie

    One of my New Years resolutions for 2016 is to make a cake every month. (I’m all for resolutions that make you happy!) my husband had two questions for me:
    – why don’t you start in December?
    -can you make tres leches?

    Thanks for the recipe :)

  13. deb

    Lauren — Zaragoza on Avenue A.

    Arkay — That was the one we didn’t like at all. Maybe it was user error? Which leads me to the question I couldn’t get answered anywhere. He calls for cake flour. Did he mean self-rising? Usually recipes will specify. I assumed not self-rising because he also calls for baking powder. My cake was firm and thin; it did not absorb more than 3/4 the liquid.

  14. Alleira

    Cook’s Illustrated (or maybe it’s Cook’s Country, I can’t remember) has a recipe for coconut tres leches cake that I’ve made four or five times. It is terrific and a great variation on the traditional cake. In addition, when I make either the traditional version or the coconut version, I always boil my sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes. This makes the end product much richer than just using the sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can.

  15. Amy

    I can’t wait to try this cake, and the brisket tacos, and the margaritas. I’m feeling the need to schedule an impromptu dinner party!! Have you ever tried Martha Stewart’s recipe for smoky beef tacos? There are only five ingredients, but I swear they taste so much more complex and amazing than the list of ingredients suggests. Every time I serve them, every last bite of meat is gone at the end of the meal. Definitely trying your brisket next time instead, though. You know, for research purposes.

  16. Francia

    Hi Deb! I know this is a little unrelated, but I need your help. This year I’m in charge of the christmas dinner and the new year’s eve dessert. I’m a little intimidated, love baking but I don’t have that much experience, and this will definetely be a challenge, as a straight out of college “adult”. I want to impress my parents and other family members, but I have no idea what to make and was wondering if maybe you could suggest some recipes? It will certanly be appreciated!

    Greetings (from Venezuela),

    F.

  17. SallyO

    I’d be suspicious of anyone who DIDN’T make their queso from Velveeta and Ro-Tel. It’s the only allowable reason to use Velveeta. The Tres Leches looks fabulous. As a Latina who has had countless versions in over 10 years, I’ve never heard it referred to as cake (torta) in Spanish, but as the Postre de Tres Leches. Potre being the Spanish word for dessert. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, South America vs. Mexico, or whether the idea is for it not to be too “cakey” but more like a pudding, or a flan once the liquid had been absorbed. Latinos love their creamy, milky desserts, I must say. I’d say the sponge cake is the way to go.

  18. Beachgirl

    The first time I ever had tres leche I made it from the recipe I discovered on the wrapper of magnolia sweetened condensed milk. It was amazing! I thought, if it’s this good from the wrapper imagine how much better a *real* recipe would be! Sadly, that was not the case and thanks to your post I know why! The magnolia recipe is so close (it makes a smaller cake) to this one! No butter, sponge cake! Yum! I’m inspired again.

  19. I’m geeking out over the idea of getting recipes from watching grandmas cook on youtube. I’ve never had a tres leches cake that I love, but this cake may be the one to change my mind.

  20. Lindsey robertson

    Is it possible to get your queso recipe? I visited Austin TX earlier this year, tried the queso, and am now obsessed with remaking it at home.

  21. First, your queso recipe: flawless. That’s what I grew up on, and had more than once as dinner even as a child (and the product of hippie parents, no less. Balance in everything).
    Second, these are the times that I curse my husband’s dairy and nut allergy. Coconut milk can’t work as a sub for all three milks., especially sweetened condensed, which is pretty much the nectar of the gods.

  22. Yup. Everyone lies when they say they don’t want dessert. 100% true. It’s like, you’re eating dinner dwelling on what dessert might be. And the fork issue. You nailed it. Where do the forks go? I know where my mother in laws spoons all went because we always seem to be “borrowing” them and forgetting to return. Oppsie. Gotta return though. With a lemon pie. Or just host a taco night. Sounds like a good ole time.

  23. Susan

    #29 – SallyO – It’s interesting to hear that it is considered in SA to be more of a pudding than a cake. Now this creamy/wet concoction makes sense to me. I could never figure out why anyone would deliberately render a cake soggy ..and yet I love it! Really, it answers so many questions I had about this “cake”! Thanks!

  24. john burke

    Long ago, when delis used to hand out openers–called “churchkeys” for some reason–with beer (because this was before pop tops, truly)–someone suggested that you could never find a beer opener in the kitchen because they matured into wire coathangers, of which they were the larval stage. Can this be the explanation for the missing forks?

  25. Marcie

    Hi Deb – this looks amazing as usual – one question, would you sub in 2 cups of cake flour for the 1 3/4 cups of AP and 1/4 cup of cornstarch if you have it on hand? Thanks!

  26. nzle

    I’ve had really good results with the Pioneer Woman’s tres leches cake, of all things — comparing hers and yours now they’re actually pretty similar except that yours is even easier!

  27. Leah

    AHHHHHHH!!!! I just had tres leches cake for the first time last weekend – shameful, both because it’s available all over my neighborhood and and because I now regret all the years I spent without it. Thanks for sparing me the disappointing process of hunting down a great recipe!

  28. Jenna

    So funny, I had a very similar menu for my daughter’s 1st birthday party (which was really more of her mum & dad celebrating making it through our first year of parenthood). We did a beer braised shredded chicken offering & a stirfried quinoa, corn & coriander for the vegetarians. My coconut tre leche cake was a bit of a flop, which was my own fault as I tried to make an eggless version (yes, of an egg-heavy cake!) since my daughter has allergies & I don’t keep eggs in the house. Luckily I had made some of David Leibovitz’s spicy chocolate icecream & baked some cinnamon sugar tortilla strips & some brought dulce de leche, so we made cake icecream sundaes instead. This version looks amazing, I’m hoping my girl will grow out of her allergies so I can try it! I’ve always had success baking from your site.

  29. Katherine

    Can this cake be saved and eaten the next day? I’ve never made one and we probably (hopefully!) wouldn’t go through the whole thing in one shot.

  30. hamletta

    Cake flour isn’t self-rising, it’s finer milled than AP and has a lower protein content to make the crumb softer. It usually comes in a box, and the only brand I’ve ever seen is “Swan.” It’s usually on the lower shelves of the baking aisle.

  31. Katy

    This is not a thing I have heard of in the UK but it sounds DELICIOUS. Thanks for the new inspiration Deb!
    Also Katie: your new year’s resolution sounds so awesome I am copying it – it is an excellent idea guaranteed to fill 2016 with joy :)

  32. hamletta

    @Lindsey robertson: Classic Ro-Tel and Velveeta Queso (known in Nashville as “Ro-Tel) is just the smaller brick of Velveeta cubed, then you mix in a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (tomatoes and chilies). Put it in the microwave and blast on high for 5 minutes or so, stirring once or twice.

    It’s the petrochemical industry’s most perfect food! You’ll want a spoon.

  33. jessica wilms

    I love tacos. A taco with all the fixings and a fresh margarita is a heavenly! For my son’s 1st birhday I had yummy margaritas, a tres leche cake and a taco bar for our big family! I know for sure it was a great plan now!

  34. Your new section on throwing dinner parties is the best!! I would love to see (and be at) a pizza party as much as a taco party, I think. Hard to decide! Anyway, this cake looks great! I’ve made a few tres leches in my day and am glad to hear that you nailed the recipe down. Yum!!

  35. Amy

    So excited about the new dinner party section!! You always make me look good… Thank you so much for all you do and your amazing recipes. I believe your Rosemary flatbreads are what led me to your site 4 years ago and I’ve been cooking from it ever since. Just made acorn squash poblano quesadillas yesterday and my husband was a very happy man!

  36. Brittany W

    I have a slow-cooker cookbook, and most of the recipes say to either cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. I was wondering if you have any experience with cooking chicken or beef recipes for 10 hours. I’d love to use my slow cooker more, but it needs to be in 10 hour increments. Do you think things would get tough and overcooked, or just more tender and fall apart?

  37. rachel

    Yum! Maybe it should be renamed cuatro leche cake! Because of the whipped cream – which seems a fine addition I’ve never had before.

  38. ~B

    Thanks for sharing this – I’ve just gone done the most fabulous dinner party hole with so much pinning right now…

    I had the.most.delicious tres leches cake in Miami and wanted to recreate it myself. I discovered that different countries use different toppings – Cuban topping is meringue (which is what I like), Mexican is whipped cream and Puerto Rican is whipped coconut cream. It also lends itself to delicious grown-up additives, such as Malibu rum, Rumchata, Bailey’s or the traditional rum included in the milk sauce. Top notch.
    FYI – the Taste of Cuba cake is my favorite (with the meringue topping, of course) http://www.tasteofcuba.com/tresleches.html

  39. deb

    Cake flour — Comes self-rising and regular (not self-rising). Usually recipes will specify. In the early days of this site, whenever I suggested cake flour (not self-rising) people usually responded with confusion because they only understood it to be with leaveners. I’ve moved away from it entirely, as you can see above, because it can be so easily hacked and seems more likely that people will have cornstarch around.

    Queso — 1 pound Velveeta, 1 can Ro-Tel. :) I put it in a small slow-cooker and set it out with chips.

    Francia — I hardly know where to start! Are you thinking layer cake or pastries? Tiramisu Cake, Gingerbread Cake, Red Wine Chocolate Cake, S’More Cupcakes (New Years), Stout Cake… you might sift through these Celebration Cakes to start.

    Amy — No, haven’t seen it but I’ll check it out.

    Kati — Of course we have that book!

    Susan/Sally O — Pudding in the Brit sense, maybe? (They often call puddings what we call cake.)

    john — First, I love the idea of something called a “churchkey” being used to open beer. And second, maybe! It would certainly explain a lot.

    * Like everything else in life, I have to be difficult about this. I don’t just want to buy a dozen new forks, I want to find The Pattern I will want to use forever and buy an unnatural number of them, say, 24 sets to protect against any loss (16 being a normal number to keep) and pattern discontinuation. I have not yet found The Pattern.

    Katherine — It can and should. It’s good for a few days.

    Brittany — I assume you’re asking because you want recipes that will stretch out while you’re out for the day or sleeping at night? One way to get around this is to use a programmable one that will shut off when you tell it to. Regardless, there isn’t one magic amount of time that will work for everything, but brisket works very consistently for me on low for 8 to 10 hours. I wouldn’t go higher than a recipe recommended on the first test because I wouldn’t want to ruin the dish, but you might find that many recipes can be stretched out longer with few issues.

  40. Paula

    Bummer about the online recipe. When I made a tres leeches cake for a cinco de mayo party at work some years ago, I used Alton brown’s recipe, which I see is the 2nd one to pop up with The addition of rum to the soaking liquid from a food & wine recipe. (Yes, my specialty is bringing boozy baking to work.). Simple to make, soaks up the liquid like a sponge & my office loves it.

    And thanks for the inspiration for my office gifts for next year.. I looked at your 1 year ago recipes, saw hot chocolate & gingerbread biscotti and kicked myself for not doing that last year.

  41. Riley Walker

    Since I love the idea of 3-2-1 Margaritas, but won’t be able to remember which of the ingredients goes with the 3, which with the 2 and which with the 1, may I suggest renaming to the 3-2-1 TLC Margarita? Your recipe is truly the way Margs should be made.

    1. deb

      Riley — Great idea! Plus, a lot of people advocate TCL but that’s too sweet. These are perfect, fairly tart, just sweet enough. Goes well 1:1 with ice in a pitcher.

  42. SallyO

    Ah, now that’s interesting. Brits may call cake “pudding” but I think that’s because Brits call all desserts pudding. It’s what they call the course, as in “what’s for pudding”? But, that’s probably because they often do have some sort of pudding for “pudding”. A typical summer pudding would be bread (or cake) soaked in fruit and juices and molded until its pudding, so yeah, there’s definitely a correlation. I got totally geeky about all this and looked up the origin of Tres Leches and while many countries claim it, it seems that the recipe was from the back of a Nestle’s condensed milk can from the 40’s possibly distributed from centers in Mexico, Central or South America, which explains it’s predominance in Latinoamerican cuisine. I have even had a version from a Columbian fried that has no cake at all, more like a flan. Interesting stuff!

  43. Charlotte

    My husband loves tacos. I love tres leches cake. This posts makes us simultaneously very happy, as well as inspired to throw a taco party!

    Also, when I’ve made tres leches cake in the past, I usually serve it ‘as is’, but my favorite addition is mango (as a few if the commenters have already suggested).

  44. Regarding FORKS. I have a weekday home and a weekend shack. I used to have a pattern (service-for-8) at the weekday home and a yard-sale-mixture at the weekend shack. And they would travel back and forth and get mixed up, I DONT KNOW WHY.

    So I went to K-mart. I found an lovely pattern in the Martha Stewart Collection. Stainless, heavy-weight, really nice. I bought 6 boxes of service-for-4. So I think I opened up three boxes at the weekday house, two boxes at the weekend shack, and I have one box in reserve. I now wish I bought 7 or 8, as it appears discontinued. And some spoons have gone missing.

    My point, if there is one, is to check out K-mart and buy way more than you think you need.

  45. Amanda

    I made the NYT mango tres leches cake for memorial day and it turned out lovely… I was relieved to see in the comments that the recipe that you didn’t like was a different one. =) I have no idea how authentic it is, but it is mighty tasty!

  46. Bad Mommy

    OMG, I ADORE the Abuelas on Youtube. That’s totally the only way to go. Thankful on a regular basis that I am fluent in Spanish because regularly my jaw hangs open with amazement at how to do things properly. It’s generally a lot easier than the cookbooks said once the Abuelas are done with it. I recommend replacing the rum with kahlua or Tia Maria. YUM.

    Oh, and anyone who clutches their pearls at queso — made entirely with velveeta and a can of rotel — is not welcome at my house. That is such a huge TexMex staple!

  47. Linda

    Try Pati Jinich’s recipe for Tres Leches cake…the best I have ever had, bar none. I put berries over top of mine…
    Pati Jinich tres leches cake

  48. SandyH

    Yay Deb! As a native Texan and queso expert, it’s Velveeta and Rotel all the way. You can jazz it up however you’d like, adding browned ground beef, sausage, or whatever, but it’s not necessary. Not necessary at all. The only accompaniment, for me, is sliced pickled jalapeños.

  49. Arkay

    Deb-I do get the flat’ish cake-but I use the thinnest skewers I have and make at least a hundred holes-then I never have a problem with the absorption.
    I WILL be giving your recipe a try though! (do you have weights for the dry ingredients?)

  50. Amanda

    Ah, Rotel with velveeta. In grad school, my Korean-American roommate from California, who did not grow up with it but was a talented cook in her own right, had heard of this on the interwebs and begged me to make it for her. I did, but couldn’t help teasing her.

    On mussels: I’ve tried a few times but they always taste bland. I get them at Whole Foods in DC. Is this possible something where the ingredient quality in NY is simply closer to harvesting grounds and therefore better?

  51. Randi

    I’m sorry, but me and tres leches cake aren’t kindred spirits, however tacos and I are besties. Friends to the end along with Velveeta Ro-Tel queso. It’s the only way! I’m so excited about the new dinner party section, thanks for all the great ideas. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family!

  52. Harmony

    Thank you so much for the dinner party menus. I’m trying to be more relaxed about just having low key dinner parties and not waiting for an occasion. This is a sign!

  53. Michele

    Can’t wait to make this and love the new Dinner Party Menus section! How about another section like, “Perfect for bringing to a dinner party” for recipes that are great to make ahead of time and can be transported. At this time of the year, I never know what to make and bring to a dinner party and some suggestions would be wonderful :)

  54. Jane

    Oh Deb, it’s like you read my mind. I’ve just spent 5 weeks in the US and came home rather depressed at the lack of decent Mexican in Australia. This will brighten my mood and help with the entertaining dilemma I have for Christmas eve with friends. :)

  55. minik

    That dinner party sounds and looks perfect, am I invited?
    I’ve been using Martha’s tres leches recipe with success. It doesn’t have butter in it but it’s egg white/egg yolk separated (I kinda like that process actually, am I weird?) and I’m excited to try yours because you are after all the QUEEN.
    I highly recommend the coconut milk variation for everyone, once in a while, it’s amazing!
    For the three milks; if anyone like me can’t find evaporated or condensed milk where they live – I use heavy cream, normal milk and make my own condensed milk (with a whole vanilla bean!) so I don’t use any evaporated milk and it’s still our favoritest cake of all time. Just play with the ratios of milk with what you have on hand and it’ll be delicious I promise!

  56. minik

    Oh, I forgot to say this; Deb, can you please put the weights in? I mean when you have the time from being indulged in that little gingerhead! She’s too good for words, I’m dying a little bit everytime I see her… My eyes get watery from the cuteness. Bless.

  57. I love tres leches in any form. Funny we have a potluck cooking group this weekend, and I have to take dessert. Hmmm.

    And, lately I’ve been puzzling over the mystery of the disappearing forks.

    As a work at home freelancer, I blame it solidly on the “I’ll just pack a fork in my lunch – don’t worry I’ll remember to bring it home” office worker types in my house.

    Thanks for another good one.

    -GK

  58. jen

    re forks: a few years ago my friend discovered her five year old threw away her “used” spoons with her pudding cups. Just something to keep an eye out for.

  59. Sarah U

    Long live Velveeta! Ain’t no shame. I use it a few times year for this “dip” my husband loves. It’s velveeta and browned sausage in a crockpot, served with corn chips. He thinks it’s the best dip in the world and requests it as an appetizer for all the dinner parties, big games and holiday gatherings. Insert laugh-cry emoji!! We’re pretty high-brow here.

  60. Silvia

    I’m so excited! I’ve been scouring your site for this recipe for about 6 months and now it’s here!!! thank you! I am going to make this tonight!!

  61. What a fun idea for a dinner party! To be honest, I can never decide what I think of tres leches cake. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. But my husband loves it, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl again!

  62. Lee Ann

    That cake looks amazing. I need to have a taco party, I haven’t had one in a while! My sister (who’s a baker) makes an amazing tres leches that is just like this one, whipped cream topping & all. I’m not sure where she learned to make it, but I’m glad she did! I see them sometimes in our local Mexican bakeries as a 2-layer cake with a bit of pineapple or strawberry jam between the layers.
    I love the classic velveeta-and-rotel queso. If you can get the white velveeta, it’s even better! I usually get it at this tiny Hispanic grocery by my house, but it might be available at other stores too.

  63. Karen

    I enjoy your recipes and your comments – they always lighten my day.
    I make a tres leches cake before Thanksgiving and instead using 12 oz can of evaporated milk I used 12 oz of Pumpkin Liqueur – made a lovely cake and was definitely very adult. Co workers enjoyed so much I made cakes for them for Thanksgiving to share with there families.

  64. Paula

    I’m heading to a tequila tasting on Saturday night and have been hemming and hawing about what to bring for a dessert. I thought about a tres leches and hesitated because of how cloying they can be; but lo! You did all the research and created the perfect recipe for me. I and my fellow sippers thank you.

  65. Super, Deb that’s exactly what I was thinking for a less stressy birthday bash this year – carnitas, tacos and all the the trimmings. You’ve just reminded me of the bean fabulous ragout or even better the soup (my husbands favourite), so party done. Now, I don’t even have to think about the rest but just follow the list! Thank you, can you hear that, big boulders tumbling down my weighed down shoulders.
    Nicole

  66. Oh my goodness. This sounds to die for. And I looked up your recipe for the brisket too. Good heavens, dear, it took you that long to start using your slow cooker?!? I’m glad you finally realized how awesome it is! I love mine!

    Also, your baby is ADORABLE and we have the exact same bouncer. Although yours is probably in better shape than mine… our cat decided the fuzzy stuffing peeking out at the bottom would be fun to shred. I replaced the stuffing with one of those old-fashioned cloth diapers for a little padding and duct-taped the heck out of it. Fortunately, from the top you cannot tell. (We don’t have said cat anymore… and not just because he shredded the baby’s bouncer, although that was part of it.)

    I can’t wait to make this cake!! And thanks for the tip about the cornstarch+flour=cake flour. I would have never guessed.

  67. Sarah

    I love the new dinner party sections! So helpful for new, but enthusiastic, hosts like me. Love getting advice on how to prepare it all and still enjoy the party yourself!

    Would you consider adding a brunch menu too? I’m trying to plan a brunch for my birthday and have been using your other tips in past posts (especially how to sleep in before it), but I’d love to know what your best combo would be :)

  68. Elisheva

    As a San Antonian (currently trapped in Minnesota), I wholeheartedly applaud the inclusion of queso in any taco party (or Tex-Mex Fiesta, as we like to call such meals). May I suggest adding about half a jar of smoky salsa (I use anything that says “fire-roasted” on the label) to the velveeta and ro-tel? It adds some smoky spice and loosens up the (sometimes gloppy) texture a little. Plus, then you can say your queso is a secret family recipe, rather than what is on the back of the Ro-tel can.

  69. I’m with Kati (comment #18) I can’t read taco party and not think of the book “Dragons Love Tacos”. It definitely should be on all kids’ bookshelves. We’ve read it so many times I have it nearly memorized.

    But who doesn’t love a good taco party?!?

  70. Dahlink

    Echoing Sarah #93–a brunch category would be great.

    I have a small dinner party tonight and the main course (chicken with lemon and green olives) is in the slow cooker right now, the roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are in the warming drawer, and your roasted pears are in the oven.
    Now to put my feet up until the guests arrive!

  71. I straight up dislike the taste of velveeta… Except in queso. That recipe is magical – I’ve had hipsters who drone on about kombucha and bulletproof coffee devour it.

    Also yay dinner party section!! Totally doing this one very soon.

  72. Quark

    Tres Leches (or as it’s known in my boyfriends family ‘Three Leeches’)…it is my most hated and requested cake.
    Eating it is no problem, it’s a tasty cake, but it’s just such a pain in the arse to make. I use the Cook’s Country version which works every time, but they microwave the condensed milk for about 10 minutes and it’s just…ugh.
    I’m going to stealth test your non-microwaved condensed milk version and see if anyone can notice a difference. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this one works out better so I can turf that PITA (but tasty!) recipe.

  73. catherine

    an awesome post, a dinner party i’ve always wanted to host but cannot figure out how to have mass amounts of tortillas warm and still tasty for making tacos. Any tortilla tips?

  74. Jeannette

    Just out of curiosity, if the sweetness level here is scaled back, what was it originally? I usually cut down on the sugar in anything I make but don’t want to here if it’s already been done.

  75. Mary K.

    I’ll second the recommendation of Pati Jinich’s recipe, and of her as a good source for Mexican recipes in general (I use her cookbook, so can’t vouch for the website material). Her recipes have always worked for me, though there have been times where I adjust things to taste, but I chalk that up to a difference in tastes and expectations. And she’s vouched for by my MIL, who grew up in Mexico, and gave me Pati’s cookbook with an inscription saying “this is real Mexican.” [can of worms, I know!] She also loves Rick Bayless and had never heard of Diana Kennedy (whose books I like, however). I’ve had Fany Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico on my wish list for ages, too.

  76. Jo

    Me encanta que uses palabras tan latinas como queso, tres leches y crema.
    Im not a big fan of tres leches, but being latina, it is a must to know at least the recipe :), love the recipe and the images you post. Im a big fan of all your food, and the recipes you give, i will give it a try real soon. It is funny and real how you said, you went youtubbing on abuelas recipes.

  77. Kirstin

    Please please please go sign your books at McNally Jackson!!! Christmas gifts are awaiting you and the shipping method is oh so slow…

    I beg you.

  78. Jillian

    I use Alton Brown’s recipe too but I’ve never made a scratch cake correctly. They are always gross to me. So I use a box of yellow cake mix and his milk ratios and it is my favorite dessert ever.

  79. I too loved the ‘pearl clutching’ line (no 10) which reminded me of the Beatles’ 1963 Royal Variety performance – when John Lennon said to the audience (which included the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret) “For our last number I’d like to ask for your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvBCmY7wAAU

  80. Linda S

    I have made The Pioneer Woman’s tres leches cakes a bunch of times with a few small changes. I always use all the soaking liquid (I don’t turn it out of the pan) and I cut the sugar back a bit. Everyone loves it.

  81. Yael

    My first time commenting but I wanted to thank you! I hosted a brunch today and basically followed your concept top to bottom. It was brilliant! Stove largely stayed off on an unseasonably hot day in NYC, which allowed me to relax and enjoy the party. I cooked most of it the night before while my 15-month-old slept (so didn’t have to deal with dragging him around the kitchen while he clung to my legs). The brisket was amazing with just the right amount of heat, the pickled onions were the easiest and tastiest, and the tres leches cake is just ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous. My favorite cake that I’ve ever made. Thanks for making me look seriously impressive to my friends! This was next level. :)

  82. Sarah

    Made this yesterday for a work party – a chili competition! I have a very sad, underpowered hand mixer, so my egg whites and sugar never seemed to reach stiff peaks. The cake turned out great, though, and everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe!

  83. Holly

    Ina Garten does a ridiculously delicious tres leches cake with berries in the Make it Ahead cookbook. It’s gotten great reviews when we’ve used that as a birthday cake for relatives.

  84. Kari

    Yay! We are doing a taco party/potluck at work next week. Dessert wasn’t one of the options to sign up for, but I’m going to make this anyway :)

  85. Deb

    Wow. I made this last weekend. It is out of this world good. I sliced it into thirds, placed each on a pretty plate, drizzled chocolate lightly over the top and neatened the edges… Looked and tasted like it was from a 5 star restaurant!
    Addictive. Excited to make with again with some other fun flavoring.
    ( I used a little Kahlua this time).

  86. Sara

    So if I ever need cake flour again the ratio is??? Can’t wait to make this for my friend who is a little mexican, in genes and in stature :)

  87. Anna

    I also have used Alton Brown’s and have always got very good results. I use the Swans cake flour and I always reduce the sugar amount in the topping significantly. But the pan definitely has little puddles of milk on the bottom, but I thought that was normal. I am looking forward to trying your recipe with fresh vanilla bean (along with the whole taco party theme…) soon!

  88. Hemal

    In India we don’t get evaporated milk, so I am wondering whether I can boil down the whole milk to half its original volume and sub that for the evaporated milk.

  89. deb

    Hemal — I haven’t done it before, but as per Google: To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup. In many recipes, evaporated milk may also be replaced with a combination of whole milk and half-and-half.

  90. deb

    Jeannette — I’ve seen versions with up to 1/2 cup more sugar in the cake (which is madness) and the famed Alton tres leches has 8 ounces sugar in the whipped cream (i.e. over one cup!).

  91. Rebecca

    My family does Mexican food every Christmas Eve and THIS is what we’ll be having for dessert this year! We did your pecan pie at Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. You have become my surefire goto. Don’t know how you do it, but I’m sure glad you do!

  92. Marianne

    Hi Deb! I just wanted to thank you for personalizing a copy of your beautiful book for my sister Carolynn. She received it today and was thrilled! Wishing you and your sweet family all the best in 2016. Thanks again!

  93. Francia

    Thanks Deb! I went with the Gingerbread Cake. It was a little tricky to get out of the bundt pan, but it’s already in its serving plate, waiting to be dusted with copious amount of confectioners sugar in a few days. If the batter is any indication, it will certanly be a hit. Thank you again.

  94. Kari G

    I made this late last night for a Nacho Bar/Idaho Ho Ho potluck-thing today at work (groan, too clever coworkers: love ’em!). Anyway, added just under 2 tablespoons of white rum, forgot topping’s vanilla and used stabilized whipped cream because I knew it was going to sit out for an unspecified amount of time… My oh my, but this was good.

    My ex-husband dropped our toddler off as I was getting off work, and I got him to try a piece. He doesn’t care for the dessert, but…he said he liked it and would have it again. Amazing! A convert. At least to *this* recipe. I converted his brother a few years ago to cheesecake (my mom’s recipe, he still won’t have anyone else’s).

    Yay! I may not be able to cook worth a damn, but I am a passing-fair baker.

  95. Sharon

    Hi Deb

    I have just poked and filled my Tres Leche it is now 15.13pm in South Africa I am preparing this for a dinner tomorrow evening.

    Do you think i should keep that bit of milk sauce back in case it dries out or would you just pour all over and refrigerate until ready to “dress” with cream. I added TBSPS contreau & the sauce tasted delicious. First time i have made this and the rise is great – thank you for the recipe….. i will return with the vote :)

    You are inspiring – thank you and best wishes from a sunny & humid Durban South Africa.

  96. emiie

    I finally made the tres leches cake. My family loved it! I substituted the sugar for coconut sugar and cut all the sugars in half and it still came out great!

  97. Jill

    Hi Deb! Can’t wait to make this favorite! Do you have an idea how to add a thin chocolate shell atop whipped cream? A huge thanks for some amazing recipes in your collection. We’ve enjoyed 20+ in last 2 weeks!

  98. Katie H

    Just so you know, light cream and half and half are not the same thing. According to the US FDA, Half-and-half is the food consisting of a mixture of milk and cream which contains not less than 10.5 percent but less than 18 percent milkfat while light cream is cream which contains not less than 18 percent but less than 30 percent milkfat.

  99. Renee

    I copied your idea of a taco party for “day after christmas” dinner with my family visiting. It was great, although i didn’t make tres leches cake, but rather your pear cake, because i could make that in advance.

    However – even better was the link to the mussels and fries recipe that you did for the The Cut. Most of my family hates seafood, but my sister likes it, so i made it for dinner when it was just her and I. It was awesome, and came together super fast! Totally worth running all over LA to find good mussels. Thanks so much for all these great dinner party ideas!

  100. Leslie Maddock

    This meal was so fantastically good that my daughter served it for Christmas Eve (including the cake!) and I followed up with the same (with your buttermilk slaw) on New Years Day. The day of the party dawned with everything already cooked and ready to go and the crowds went wild!! Many thanks.

  101. Meagan

    I just made this and am quite disappointed. The bake time is way off. I baked it for 24 min as instructed and the toothpick looked clean in the center. It sunk completely in the middle and almost looks raw in spots. I just read Pioneer Woman’s recipe and another, and they call for 45 minutes of bake time!!! Her cake is a nice golden, dark color. I wish I had known it was supposed to be darker. I wasted $10 and a lot of time. Sorry, I wish I had read other recipes first.

  102. Meagan

    I wanted to add that I was so sad about throwing the cake in the garbage that I decided to make it again right away. This time I baked it as other recipes indicate. I left it in for 38 minutes (35-45 seems to be recommended) and it came out amazing! It really needs to look golden and dry looking. Not like normal cake where you don’t want it to brown. I love this cake now, just wish I didn’t waste the first one. I can’t imagine how 18 minutes would even come close to being okay.

  103. Panya

    RE: Alton Brown’s recipe… That’s the one I made 6.5 years ago, and it worked okay for me — though I did have to let it sit [in the fridge] for an hour for the majority of the milk to absorb. I remember being frustrated that it didn’t absorb as quickly as he said it was going to, and thinking that I’d done something wrong even though I’d followed the directions almost exactly [subbing out for the cake flour as you did here]. I’d never had tres leches cake before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but after the world going on about how awesome this cake was, I was severely underwhelmed. There were no interesting flavors or unique textures; it was just a very soggy cake with a sweet cream taste. *shrugs* I could just as easily make a gingerbread Bundt and pour eggnog over the served slices [as I did for National Bundt Day in 2014]. Do I just not understand the appeal of this cake?

  104. Carrie

    Much too my surprise, this cake was NOT a soggy mess with dissolved whipped cream on day 2, but even more delicious! I only allowed 2 hours for the cake to soak before serving it. If I make it again, I will allow more time as that definitely improved the texture. I appreciate Deb toning down the sweetness, because this is still plenty.

  105. Savitha

    Hi, My favourite is Trech leches. I crave for it all the time, but never find it available in the stores. I tried your recipe and it tastes so yummmm. I am gonna save this recipe. My family is totally bowled over with my 1st attempt. I made an entire tray with the hope of sharing it with friends, which I now doubt I will :)
    Thanks much!

  106. Hayes

    Este pastel fue muy divertido para hacer. Lo hice con mis amigos, y pasamos mucho tiempo cuando haciéndolo. Recomiendo que uses menos leches porque hay demasiado en el pastel. Este pastel fue muy delicioso me gusta mucho

  107. Tiffany

    I ate a big piece right after baking, and it was pretty great. I thought the sweetness was spot on and I couldn’t stop licking the whip cream off the spoon. The cake worked out well for me too, and I even used a gas grill instead of the oven (the oven is currently out of order). It came out great, right around 19 minutes. Used 4 burners, two on low, two on medium high. About 5 minutes in, I turned all burners to low, and I got a beautiful golden cake 14 minutes later!

  108. Elizabeth

    This was delicious, super-easy to make, and, unlike last week’s homemade marshmallow experiment, was easy to clean up after, too. :) I always hate spending the extra money on vanilla beans when I’m at the store, but every time I use them I remember why I go to the trouble and expense. Like other commenters, I also had a little trouble with bake time – at 24 minutes, the cake had formed a solid-looking (but extremely pale) top layer that jiggled like a waterbed when I moved the pan. I gave it a total of 20 extra minutes (in 5 minute increments) until it no longer waved at me when I moved the pan, turned a nice golden-brown color, and the tester came out clean.

  109. Last weekend my boyfriend and I hosted dinner for 4 friends in our tiny studio. The bf made his famous chili and I was only making the Aleppo chili cornbread (and the cheese straws…I’m a little guilty of relying on smitten kitchen) but I realized I needed a dessert. The idea of tres leches seemed perfect! Everyone enjoyed it but I didn’t feel that rush of success until I spotted one houseguest eating it for breakfast! I then made bf take leftovers to work and it was a big hit. Definitely let it soak overnight, it just gets better!

  110. Linda

    Pati Jinich has the most fabulous Tres Leche’s cake recipe on the planet…my go to. You might give it a try. Very few ingredients…and amazing flavor….perfect. My only changes are to leave the cake in the pan and not turn out onto a platter. Just easier to store leftovers back in the fridge that way. She also has a marble chocolate version which rocks as well.

  111. Gretchen

    Made this, finally, for my own birthday cake. This German girl served it to three native-born Mexicans and everyone of them loved it. None more than I did. Thank you once again, Deb!

  112. amy

    So, this cake is perfect…I’m totally not confessing how many times I’ve made it since you posted it. LOVE. I had been hungry for tres leches and a friend’s “recipe” just used white cake mix…OK, but not awesome. Shortly after I made it that way, you shared this. SO much better!

    Had to jump on and tell you about my brilliant husband’s inspired idea: Tres Leches Con Cafe. !! Once he suggested it I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I finally gave it a whirl this weekend.

    I added 4 tsp espresso powder to the milks, and then another 2 tsp espresso powder to the whipped cream topping. I did both in the blender to make sure the espresso got mixed well. It was fabulous!

  113. Maggie

    I love this recipe for Tres Leches, it is so good and want to make it for a big birthday celebration. Does anyone know if I can freeze the cake, then thaw and do the milk?
    Just need something I can do ahead.

  114. Brittany W

    In what might be the dumbest question to date, I need to know ask how long does it take the Velveeta to melt in the crockpot? I’ve never used it before but plan on making queso on Saturday.

  115. deb

    Brittany — Heh, I don’t remember how long, but of course hi vs. lo and if it was cold and if it was first cut into cubes will affect it. In cubes on high, probably not more than 20-30 minutes. That said, you can start it really early even because it can just stay warm without losing texture forever, because it’s made of magic. :)

  116. Sandra

    Is there possibly a mistake in the cup to gram conversions? Wondering that my 250 grams of sugar don’t make a 1 1/4 cup, googled the conversions and it should be more (280g). Same with flour, which seems to be a little too much.
    I usually don’t measure in cups and got my cup measure just yesterday, so used that on a scale and it was a bit off.

  117. Jen

    Is there any way to make this in advance and freeze part of it? I’m having a house warming party on May 15th. I was just worried the structure of the sponge cake would change too much in the freezer unlike other cakes. Thanks, Deb!

  118. Kristin

    At what point will this be too soggy? I was going to make it tonight and serve it for a lunch party at work tomorrow? And could I make the whipped icing tonight and just put it on tomorrow? Thanks, can’t wait to try it!!

  119. Jen

    I’m an experience baker, but have never made a tres leches cake before and have only tasted it once before and wasn’t particularly excited about it. However my teenage son needed to bring something to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in his high school Spanish class and everyone else had already chosen chips/salsa/guacamole, etc. He has NEVER baked anything before in his life but we worked on it together so he could learn. (He’s an honors student, and great in school, but hasn’t even done much cooking. Before I could stop him he dumped the vanilla into the flour!!! So, we sieved it out and I added a bit more to the batter. He learned about wet ingredients and dry ingredients after that.)

    We doubled the recipe so that I could take the rest for our Staff Appreciation luncheon at our middle school. It turned out beautifully. Not even knowing what it was supposed to taste like, I jokingly told one of the hispanic aides at the middle school to just tell me that it was good no matter what. She is pretty straight forward and was openly stunned when I told her I made a tres leches cake for everyone. She told me later that the staff was very impressed that it was homemade and she couldn’t believe that I had made one for the first time, being a “gringa”, because it was excellent!

    I would have never tried this recipe without a reason as I just wasn’t that interested in tres leches cakes, but it really turns out a delicious cake. Thanks for the great recipe and for the fun memory with my oldest son. We will always remember his first cake!

    PS – for Kristin (if you read this): I made our cakes yesterday afternoon and let them soak in the fridge overnight. At 6:30 this morning I made the whipped cream and put it on the cakes, then refrigerated them until lunchtime. By the time I got a slice, they had been cut, served, and sitting out for over an hour and the whipped cream was a little soft, but delicious and the cake was wet, but as I think it is supposed to be. It wasn’t quite soggy, but more like what I think of British pudding-y. Deb said to serve with sauce on the bottom, but that wasn’t going to work in high school or for a buffet, so I just added the sauce to the cake even though it was more liquid overall and it kind of oozed to the bottom anyway and worked out just fine.

  120. Grant

    Made this yesterday (as one does for Cinco de Mayo, even when one’s ancestry hails from as far for Mexico as can be) and my mother has declared it her favorite cake I’ve ever made. And while I might not go quite that far, I did have a hard time stopping eating it… Even after three huge pieces. Que. Bueno.

  121. alyssa

    Thanks a lot, Deb! My husband and I now have to eat a giant, gorgeous, delicious cake all weekend, all by ourselves. Quel horreur. ;)
    As always, this recipe was so easy to follow, and I never worried that I was doing something wrong because you have photos of each step. Bonus: delicious for breakfast the next day…

  122. Kari

    Just made it again (last time was late December) for my sister’s birthday. Different crowd ate it, but the reviews were just as raving!

  123. Danica

    Any thoughts on how this would hold up as a layer cake or a suggestion on how to dress it up a touch for a golden birthday?

    1. deb

      Danica — I wouldn’t use this as a layer cake because it’s heavy and wet! But it doesn’t mean you cannot put candles on it.

  124. Kari

    My family (and I!) are in love with the soaking liquid. Can it be frozen? We wouldn’t be able to use it quickly enough, I think, before it went bad.

  125. susi

    ohhhhh this was beyond fab, i live in mexico and for my sons party all were mexicans and ooh yeah baby everyone said it was the BEST tres leches they EVER had!!!!!!! now thats a fiesta

  126. Melanie

    Made this for a party this weekend and it was a huge hit. My husband ate two huge pieces and he doesn’t even like sweets! Super yummy!

  127. My boyfriend requested a tres leches cake for his b-day–despite never having eaten it before (and I have never made or eaten it). Anyhow, my egg whites fell when I added sugar. I wasn’t sure how it would affect the cake–I think it made it “tough”? But since you add all the milks you can’t really tell? Regardless, it was delicious. I will definitely try to make it again (correctly). And I used Kahlua, as some commenters suggested, instead of rum because I had it. Thanks!!

  128. Kari

    Hi, Deb. Have you (or anyone else, please chime in) ever successfully frozen the soaking sauce for the tres leches? I loooove it in coffee, but [I assume] I wouldn’t be able to finish it before it goes bad.

    I figure I could use an immersion blender to emulsify it, then pour it into ice cube trays. I am worried about it having a godawful/greasy/icky texture as it melts. What do you think?

  129. Samantha

    Hi Deb,

    I wanted to make Tres Leches cupcakes. Do you think that would work? How would you adjust the baking time?

    Thank you!!

    1. deb

      Cupcakes usually bake for between 18 and 25 minutes, so check at the earlier number and if they need more time, check each minute or two thereafter until they’re done.