Tres Leches Cake

May 02

Tres Leches Cakevanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon milk soak, whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Tres Leches Cake - vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon soak, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. #cakebycourtney #treslechescake #layeredtreslechescake #cincodemayocake #cincodemayo

Tres Leches Cake

With Cinco de Mayo just two days away, there’s no better time than the present to make a Tres Leches Cake. This flavor has been requested over and over during the past few years and I’m so excited that I finally got around to making my own version.

I’ve always seen Tres Leches Cake in a 13″x9″ pan, but knew that when I did mine, I wanted to turn it into a layered cake. I worried about doing that, though, because a Tres Leches Cake, soaked in a milk mixture, always seemed fragile to me.

Tres Leches Cake - vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon soak, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. #cakebycourtney #treslechescake #layeredtreslechescake #cincodemayocake #cincodemayo

After doing some research, I learned that most Tres Leches cakes are made kind of like a meringue with a lot of whipped egg whites to give it a fluffy, sponge-like consistency. Several recipes I looked at also had equal parts sugar and flour. I knew that if I wanted to make a more stable cake for layering, I’d need to add a bit more flour than sugar to my recipe.

I reviewed my Classic Vanilla Cake recipe and compared it to the Tres Leches recipes I had been researching. It wasn’t too far off from the actual ingredients other recipes used, I just needed to adjust my amounts a bit.

I ended up using more flour in my recipe than other Tres Leches recipes so it would for sure be stable enough to be a layered cake once the soak was added.

Tres Leches Cake - vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon soak, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. #cakebycourtney #treslechescake #layeredtreslechescake #cincodemayocake #cincodemayo

The Soak

The soak for this cake is made up of heavy cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. The cinnamon gives it a bit of a horchata flavor and I think you’ll love it!

Tres Leches Cake - vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon soak, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. #cakebycourtney #treslechescake #layeredtreslechescake #cincodemayocake #cincodemayo

Just make sure to poke holes into your cake after it’s cooled, so when you pour the soak on the cake, it really absorbs into the layers.

The Whipped Cream

The whipped cream filling makes enough for the filling and to add a dollop on top of each slice of cake. To simplify the stabilization process, I used E-Z Gel from Gygi. If you can’t find E-Z Gel, you can also use gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream like I do in my Strawberry Shortcake Cake.


Tres Leches Cake

Vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon milk soak and whipped cream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword cinco de mayo, tres leches, tres leches cake



  • 7 egg whites room temperature, (save four yolks)
  • 4 egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. (10 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk room temperature


  • 2 tsp (5.28 g) ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (189 g) evaporated skim milk
  • 3/4 cup (173 g) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (306 g) sweetened condensed milk


  • 2 cups (462 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (62.5 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp. E-Z Gel this stabilizing the whipped cream
  • 1 tsp. (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • Diced fresh strawberries


FOR THE CAKE (best made ahead of time)

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour and the baking powder. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

  4. Gradually beat in the sugar and then the yolks. Beat in the vanilla.

  5. Switch to the paddle attachment and alternately add the flour mixture with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

  6. Evenly pour the batter in the two pans, about 20 ounces in each. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.

  7. The cake should rise to the top of the pan and be a little spongy. That's good. We want that texture to soak up the milk soak. Let the cakes cool in the pans.


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.


  1. In a chilled stainless steel bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and E-Z Gel until it thickens and soft peaks begin to form. Refrigerate until you're ready to use.


  1. The day before you want to serve your cake, trim the top of the cakes to expose the crumb. Poke holes into the cake with a fork (all over), but leave about 1/4 inch rim around the edge of the cake without any holes so that the soak doesn't penetrate the outer edge of the cake.

  2. Slowly pour the soak into each cake layer, allowing time for the mixture to soak into the cake before adding more. Let the cakes sit and soak the milk mixture in. Wrap the layers with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  3. When you're ready to assembly, place one cake layer on a cake plate or cake stand and cover with a cup of whipping cream and fresh strawberries. Reserve the remaining whipping cream to serve with each slice of cake.

  4. Dust top of the cake with cinnamon.

  5. Serve cold.

21 thoughts on “Tres Leches Cake

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Courtney,

    can this cake be covered in a thick coat of the whipped cream or maybe Swiss meringue ?

    I just ordered my acrylic boards and the edges i am soo excited..
    thank you,

  2. Hello. There are strawberries in the filling for a Tres Leches cake? Just double checking!
    It does look wonderful!

  3. Hi Courtney!
    I was wondering if there was any way I could replace the gel/gelatin with corn starch?
    Dying to make this one!

  4. Hi!
    The recipe says single layer but i like how you made it into a layer cake. Is it possible to do that or will it fall apart?

  5. If someone wanted a themed tees leches cake, is there a way to cover such a cake in fondant? Or would it not work because if the soak?

  6. Hey!
    I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe. I was wondering how long the soak process should take? I’m afraid the cake will crumble if I leave it in the milk mixture for too long?

  7. Hi Courtney!

    I was wondering if you can cover this cake in a buttercream (after layering and filling with the stabilized whipped cream)