Tres Leches Cake

This is a sweet, moist, delicious cake that’s perfect for almost any occasion.

The first time I had this cake was at a ladies’ Bible study. I really enjoyed it, but I never got the recipe for it. Recently, I was browsing other food blogs and came across a recipe for a layered tres leches cake at Natasha’s Kitchen and decided to give it try. I altered the recipe a little to include flavors that my family enjoys–caramel and coffee–and made it for my father-in-law’s birthday. It was a hit with them, and I hope it will be with your family too!

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided into 3/4 and 1/4 cups
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup 2% or whole milk


Syrup Ingredients

  • 2/3 of a 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 2/3 of a 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp brewed black coffee

Frosting Ingredients

Baking the Cake Layers

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two round 9″ cake pans. Set up two large mixing bowls and one medium mixing bowl. In the medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Separate eggs into two large bowls–egg yolks into one bowl and egg whites into the other.


Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed for about 2 minutes until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla extract.


Pour flour mixture over egg yolk mixture and beat on low speed until combined.


With a clean dry whisk, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form (about 1 minute). While continuing to mix, pour in 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high until egg whites are stiff (about 1 minute).


Gently fold egg whites into the yolk/flour mixture until combined.


Divide evenly between the two cake pans and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow them to cool to room temperature.


When cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to trim the tops and edges of the cake layers so the surfaces are level. Use a food processor to turn the trims into crumbs for the cake topping.

Mixing the Syrup

In a large measuring cup with a pouring lip, stir together evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, and 1 tbsp brewed black coffee.

Assembling the Cake

(I would advise assembling the cake on whatever surface or cake plate you intend to serve the cake on so you don’t have to worry about moving it once you’re done frosting it.)

Place one of the cake layers flat side down on a cake platter. Using a fork, poke holes all around the top, all the way to the edges and all the way through the cake.


Use a spoon to pour on half of the syrup. Let cake stand and absorb the syrup while you make the frosting (see instructions below).


Generously frost the top of your first layer.


Poke holes in the second cake layer just like you did with the first, and place it on top of the first layer with the flat side up. Spoon the remaining half of the syrup evenly over the top cake layer. Let the cake stand for 10-15 minutes to let the syrup soak in.


Frost the top and sides of the cake and smooth out the frosting with a cake spatula.


Finish the cake by evenly spreading out the crumbs that you made from the trims on top of the cake.

Making the Frosting

(To make your own caramel, use one of these methods for turning sweetened condensed milk into caramel. I usually boil it in the can.  You can also just buy caramel, but I think the taste and consistency is better when you make your own. The caramel needs to be cool before using it in the next step so if you make your own, make sure you leave yourself enough time to cook it and let it cool.)

Beat 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add caramel and 1 tbsp of brewed black coffee. Mix until combined, but don’t over-beat or the cream will turn into butter.


Приятного аппетита! (Priyatnova appetita! Russian for ‘Bon Appetit!’)


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