Have you ever had a bite of Tres Leches Cake? “Three milks” cake is a sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream.

Some say the cake comes from Nicaragua; others, Mexico. No matter where it came from, it’s delicious, And it’s easy to make.


The sponge cake needs to be made a day ahead, allowed to cool, poked all over with a fork, covered with the three-milks mixture and refrigerated overnight to allow the milk to soak in.

The first time I made it, I questioned whether it wasn’t too much milk. It isn’t.

Be sure to use the heavy cream and the sweetened condensed milk but if you don’t have a can of evaporated milk, you can use an equal amount of half and half instead.

Most recipes call for this to be backed in a 9-by-13-inch cake pan, but I like to use my springform pan for a better presentation. Do not remove the ring until ready to serve.

Tres Leches Cake


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Milk mixture:

  • Pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 oz.) can evaporated milk


  • Pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon, for garnish

Make the cake: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a non-stick spray, grease a 8- or 9-inch springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until well combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, about 45 minutes. Once cool, pierce cake many times all over with a fork.

For the milk mixture: 

Whisk together the milks and cream. Pour evenly over cake. Do this in batches, allowing milk to soak in, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the topping: 

In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread over chilled cake. Dust top with cinnamon.

Lynn Greene’s collection, “Recipes from a Wisconsin Inn,” can be found on Amazon.com. Follow her on Facebook HERE.

By Lynn Greene

Author Lynn Greene, of La Grange Township in Walworth County, Wisconsin, has written "Lynn's Place" for numerous publications over the years in southern Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here on Walworth County Community News.