Tres Leches Cake

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. I have requests for this cake over and over. I finally got to create my own version!

I’ve always seen Tres Leches Cake in a 13″x9″ pan. I 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 could see that most Tres Leches cake is kind of like a meringue. A Tres Leche cake has 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. To make a more stable cake for layering, I would need to add a bit more flour than sugar to my recipe.

I compared my Classic Vanilla Cake recipe 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. This was 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 Tres Leches cake consists 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 once 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.

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Tres Leches Cake

5 from 9 votes
Vanilla sponge cake with a cinnamon milk soak and whipped cream.

Ingredients
 

FOR THE 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

FOR THE SOAK

  • 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

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM

  • 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

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE (best made ahead of time)

  • 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.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour and the baking powder. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gradually beat in the sugar and then the yolks. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and alternately add the flour mixture with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Evenly pour the batter in the two pans, about 20 ounces in each. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • 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.

FOR THE SOAK

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

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM

ASSEMBLY

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dust top of the cake with cinnamon.
  • Serve cold.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword cinco de mayo, tres leches, tres leches cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. For soaking the cake, if you can’t find jist plain heavy cream, can you substitute it with heavy whipping cream or whole milk?

  2. Hi!! Making this cake for a special event coming, to make it the 2 layers like you have in the picture — would you stack similar to your other cakes? Or keep the top layer right side up?? Hopefully this makes sense! Really want to make a 2 layer cake, but just wanted any extra tips for making this work with a wetter cake. Thanks!!

  3. Hello! This sounds delicious! I have someone asking for tres leches cake for her wedding. I have only ever made it in a rectangular pan. I am going to do a test run this week, but wanted your thoughts on turning this into a tiered cake. If I were to make 3 of these separate 2 layer cakes, do you think they would fall apart if I were to insert dowels to hold up the next cakes? Also, would it be easy to trim the cake layers down to progressively smaller sizes so that I don’t have to fiddle with the recipe? 🤣 Any thoughts or help would be appreciated!

    1. I’d be worried about stacking this cake to be honest. With as moist as it gets, I’m not sure if its a good idea for lower tiers. I think you could use it for the top tier though.

  4. 5 stars
    I am completely new to baking. This was literally the first cake I have ever made. And it was so freaking good! Everyone loved it and nobody believed I’d never made it before. I’m very excited to try more of your recipes.

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