A Twist on Tres Leches

I find that my most common complaint about cakes is that they are too dry. When I have a slice of cake at a restaurant it’s always crumbly and too sweet, and even most grocery store bakery cakes aren’t moist. When I can’t bake it myself I always turn to two cakes that are guaranteed to be moist and delicious: ice cream cakes and tres leches cakes. A tres leches cake is traditionally a classic white cake or sponge cake that is soaked with three milks (evaporated, sweetened condensed, and cream) after its baked. This is such a brilliant idea when you think about it, and especially when you taste it.

leches 3

I’ve been making my own version of a Tres Leches cake for a long time now, and I finally decided to post it. I LOVE coconut and I think it pairs perfectly with a dessert like this so one of the three milks I use is unsweetened coconut milk. I also sprinkle shredded coconut over the top of the cake for lovely added texture. This is such a wonderful base for any flavor path that you would like to follow; I’ve seen Strawberry Tres Leches Cake, Tres Leches topped with cherries, chocolate curls, or chopped nuts, and even a red velvet Tres Leches (although red velvet is not a real flavor…<– there’s a long back story to that).

Whatever you decide to do with this cake, it’s NEVER going to be dry, which is such a beautiful thing. The best part is, it’s incredibly simple to make!

Happy Baking,

Ivy B. Lake

leches 1

For this recipe you will need a large mixing bowl, medium bowl, wooden skewer/toothpick or fork for poking holes in cake, whisk, electric mixer for making fresh whipped cream, and large spoon or 1/3 measuring cup for ladling milk onto cake.


  • one baked 13×9″ cake or two 8×8″ cakes
    • Compatible cakes: classic white, sponge, angel (my favorite), or vanilla cake
    • leave the cake in its pan!
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (8 oz)
    • Alternative milks: heavy cream, almond milk, whole milk, soy milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)


With your baked and cooled cake still in its pan, start to poke several deep holes using a skewer/toothpick/fork. To start, poke every inch or so, but if you find that the cake isn’t absorbing the milk within 2 minutes, add more holes. Different cakes will have varying densities and textures (this is why I prefer using angel cake, because it absorbs the milk almost instantly!)

In a medium bowl whisk together the three milks. Use a large spoon or 1/3 measuring cup to pour this evenly and slowly over the cake. Allow 2 minutes in between each addition for the cake to absorb the milk (time varies based on what cake you use, add more holes if needed). The goal is for the cake to absorb as much of the milks as possible so don’t be shy even though it may seem like a lot.

In a large mixing bowl, beginning beating the heavy whipping cream until it seems slightly thickened and holds very loose peaks. At this point add the powdered sugar (and any extracts that you’d like (coconut or vanilla perhaps?)). Continue mixing until whipped cream forms (stiff peaks) but be careful because mixing TOO much can make this into butter!

Spread the whipped cream over the top of the soaked cake and sprinkle with desired toppings (I love to use coconut and almonds). Chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve!

Enjoy this lovely dessert! There’s nothing to complain about with this cake. Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.



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