Easy Pastel Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)

Tres Leches CakeThe texture of this special occasion cake is “wet”.  It is soaked with 3 different kinds of milk, and the texture is similar to having a piece of cake with ice cream, and mixing the two.  You know…when the ice cream melts a bit and you take a spoonful with both the cake and ice cream mixed together.   

Tres Leches Cake is a favorite party cake in Mexico and it has migrated to the United States.  It originated in Sinaloa. Sinaloa is the most prominent state in Mexico in terms of agriculture and is known as “Mexico’s breadbasket”.   Livestock produces meat, sausages, cheese, milk as well as sour cream.  So, what to do with all that milk?  Make a special cake with it!

There are many different versions of this cake if you want to make it from scratch.  I have the Classic Tres Leches Cake recipe here.  But I was asked to make a lot for a bridal shower, so I experimented with recipes for a more crowd-friendly version. For this easy cake, I had my own “cake wars” at work, making 2 different recipes and asking my co-workers to vote on their favorite.  This was the winner, hands down!  And it’s easy, too.  Just be sure to make it well ahead of time.  It must have time to soak up all that milk, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.  I prefer it made 2 days in advance.

Buen provecho!

Poke holes in the cake so it can soak up all that milky goodness.


Then pour away!


Easy Pastel Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15 servings
Be sure to make this at least one day ahead of time to give the milks plenty of time to soak into the cake.
  • 1 box yellow cake mix, with pudding in the mix
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease and flour or spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
  3. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Poke top of hot cake every ½ inch with long-tined fork or chopsticks.
  5. In large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whipping cream. Carefully pour evenly over top of cake. Cover; refrigerate overnight. Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip. Store covered in refrigerator.

Et cetera:  This recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker.


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