Tres Leches Cake: Also known as milk cake, this sweet cake is a classic butter yellow cake that is soaked with a sweet milk syrup and topped with whipped cream and strawberries.  The sweet milk is made up of three different types of milk, hence the name–three milks.

While the name sounds fancy, it’s a simple poke cake, like our favorite Chocolate Poke Cake From Scratch!

A slice of tres leches cake on a pewter plate, cake is topped with strawberries

I am a big fan of desserts, especially desserts like these three ingredient peanut butter cookies, or peanut butter frosting. I am typically a cookie lover, but sometimes I want cake, and this easy tres leches cake is a total favorite. It is so delicious. And I have a secret that makes this tres leches cake recipe easy too!

Does Tres Leches Cake Have Alcohol?

Typically, no, but you could easily add some rum to the milk syrup if you want some alcohol in it.

The rum goes well with the cinnamon and the milks really well. Just remember, you do not bake the milk syrup. So the alcohol will not be baked off.

Honestly, you can add all kinds of variations to this tres leches cake. I add a little cinnamon to the batter because I love the richness and depth it gives the cake. And I top with fresh strawberries (but this is not necessary).

Tres leches cake on a pewter plate, with berries in the background

How to Make Tres Leches Cake

This cake is made with three layers: Cake, filling and topping.

I like keeping things eazy peazy (hahaha) and so to make this cake I start this tres leches cake with cake mix. I used a butter yellow cake mix. However, the awesome thing about this recipe is you can use any light-colored cake mix you have. White cake mix, yellow cake mix, and butter cake mix all work well.

Of course, you can make the cake from scratch as well. And if you happen to be missing something, check out these baking substitutes.

The filling is made with 3 kinds of milk:

  • Evaporated milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Heavy cream

If you do not want your cake too sweet, then cut down on the sweetened condensed milk and replace it with equal parts of heavy cream.

The topping is a whipped cream topping. It is a homemade whipped cream that uses heavy whipping cream, a little powdered sugar, and vanilla.

Tres leches cake with strawberries on plates

Strawberry tres leches cake is amazing. The strawberries are a really fun addition. This is a very sweet cake, so adding the berries adds just a little tartness that can cut through the sweet.

More Delicious Poke Cakes You’ll Love:

While the actual person who first created the tres leches is unknown, it does have Latin American roots. It was created many years ago and has evolved through the years into a standard celebration cake in certain regions of Mexico and even Nicaragua.

Whoever created it, let’s all take a moment to thank them for this sweet, delicious cake!

tres leches cake in a pan with the holes poked in

If you do not want to add fresh berries to the top of your tres leches cake, you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon to add some color and make it look great.

How Long is Tres Leches Cake Good For in the fridge?

Once a tres leches cake is covered with the sweet milk syrup, and topped with the whipped cream topping, it will last 4-5 days with refrigeration but is best consumed within the first 48 hours.

The cake soaks up the liquid you dump over it, but it can get “soggy” if it sits too long. It is a nice moist, delicious cake, much like this banana pudding cake. But it can’t sit as long as other cakes without going bad.

A slice of tres leches cake on a pewter plate, cake is topped with strawberries
5 from 33 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake is a deliciously sweet cake that is soaked in milk syrup and topped with whipped cream.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Refrigerate Overnight 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Rachael
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  • 1 package butter yellow cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk 14 ounces
  • 1 can evaporated milk 12 ounces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish (Optional):

  • Berries


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine cake mix, eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat with a hand mixer to combine until well incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes.
  • In a large bowl combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream together. Whisk topping ingredients until combined.
  • Use a chopstick or skewer, and generously poke holes in top of the warm cake. Pour milk mixture slowly over cake, and let the mixture absorb and fill the holes.
  • Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Just before serving, add cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, and beat until it begins to thicken. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Spread over cake.
  • Serve with sliced strawberries (optional)


5 from 33 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 338 | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 750IU | Vitamin C: 6.6mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Tres Leches Cake on a plate with strawberries and a fork with writing
Tres Leches Cake in a casserole dish and on a plate with strawberries and a title



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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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  1. Hi. may I add a few suggestions. So Mexican tres leches cake is a sponge cake with tres leches ( 3 milks). in order for the cake to absorb the milks properly, the cake has to be sponge like and airy. I see on your photo the milks didn’t absorb in the cake, it’s all sitting on the bottom half of the cake. to help with this, one can use either a scratch made sponge cake recipe or use boxed cake mix, but you have to separate the eggs, and whip the egg whites, and then fold it into the rest of the batter. bake and cool completely, slowly pour in 3 milks. Then let soak overnight, preferably. And because heavy cream can be a bit pricey sometimes, authentic tres leches is made w/ a can of Media Crema as one of the 3 milks instead of heavy cream. it’s also thicker and gives some weight to it. Typically 2-3 egg yolks is added to the 3 milks for some body but it’s optional. I was grilled by my Spanish mother in law once by bringing a cake that was not soaked properly.

  2. I followed the recipe exactly as written and I’m disappointed. The edges of the cake cooked way quicker than the middle, and I ended up with a misshapen cake with a sunken middle. This took way longer than 35 minutes. The milk syrup and whipped cream recipes are just fine, but the cake let me down.

  3. I love how simple, and delicious this cake is. Thank you for coming up with such a simple recipe. These cakes are typically $50+ in our local grocery stores.5 stars

  4. My family is obsessed with this cake and I refuse to tell anyone how easy it is to make. I sometimes cut back the cinnamon just based on personal preference. Also, strawberries are non-negotiable!5 stars

  5. Hello, I have made many Tres Lache cakes before but this recipe is by far the Best!!! It is simple and easy to make, thank you Rachel.
    Carlene in Colorado5 stars

  6. Definitely would cut back to 1/2 of the condensed milk (w/ out replacing to heavy whip because it’s a lot of liquid); otherwise excellent cake :)