I've updated this easy, authentic Tres Leches Cake recipe with a splash of rum, a squeeze of lime, and a touch of rich white chocolate. It's a dense, moist cake that is absolutely the best dessert ever for potlucks or to end any South of the Border dinner party! You make it ahead of time so it just couldn't be easier. If this isn't quite what you're looking for check out this tropical tiramisu!
For this recipe you'll need: all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eggs, butter, limes, key lime juice, vanilla, heavy cream, Eagle Brand (not working with them - it's just the brand I recommend) sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, white chocolate chips, rum, white chocolate powdered instant pudding mix
What Is a Tres Leches Cake?
I am so glad you asked.
A Tres Leches cake, sometimes called milk cake, is a dense butter cake that's been soaked in a mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. It's usually topped with whipped cream and often dusted with cinnamon.
I think that the recipe surfaced sometime in the mid-1950s or 60s, right along with Frito Pie and other brand created foods - at least in the United States. I know that it was on the back label of evaporated milk cans for years.
Some people make a lighter, fluffier cake for Tres Leches but I think that a dense cake - with almost a pound cake texture, works best. If the cake is too fluffy it just turns into a wet, soggy mess.
Lime White Chocolate Tres Leches Cake Recipe Step by Step
Making this recipe is so easy! The most difficult part is waiting while it sits overnight soaking up all that milky goodness. It will take about 40 minutes to make the cake then you'll need to refrigerate it overnight.
Cream the Butter and Sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - this takes between 2 and 5 minutes.
Add the Eggs
Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each.
Add the Vanilla and Lime Zest
Beat in the vanilla and the zest from one lime.
Add the Flour
Add the flour, then the lime juice with the mixer running on slow. Mix just until well blended.
Pour into Pan
Pour into a greased pan and bake.
Remove from Oven
Remove from the oven when a toothpick comes out clean.
Poke holes in the cake with a skewer. No need to let the cake cool.
Soak the Cake
Pour the cream mixture over the cake a little at a time, pulling the edges away from the pan and letting the cream flow under the cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving drizzle some lime juice over the cake and then top with the whipped cream. Keep leftovers in the fridge.
Here are the most commonly asked questions about this recipe. If you don't find the answer to yours here leave a comment below or email me - I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
Does tres leches cake need to be refrigerated?
Yes. It needs to be refrigerated overnight to let the cream mixture soak into it - and any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator as well.
What is a tres leches cake made of?
It's a dense butter cake, sometimes called milk cake, that's been soaked in a mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream plus whatever flavor variation you've chosen.
How long will a tres leches cake last?
It's fine to eat for up to 4 days but the quality starts to deteriorate after 2.
Can you freeze a tres leches cake?
You can freeze the cake itself before adding the cream mixture - then remove from the freezer, thaw, and finish the recipe. You can't freeze the cake once the cream mixture is on it.
More Mexican Fiesta Recipes
Mexican food is absolutely one of my favorite cuisines! I love the smoky, spicy flavors and rich textures that make up those great South of the Border dishes! Here are some of my favorite recipes for when I'm celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just enjoying dinner with the family. I hope you love them, too.
- Mexican Street Corn Soup has to be one of my favorite comfort food recipes. It has all the flavor of elote.
- Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos are SO easy to make in the slow cooker.
- Chicken Enchiladas with homemade cream sauce are one of our favorites.
- Sopapillas are cinnamony sweet and totally addictive.
- This pitcher of margaritas is a necessity on any fiesta table!
I think a few of these Mexican Chocolate Blondies with coffee would be the perfect way to end the day!
You May Need...
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This is a great cake for taking to picnics and potlucks as long as you have something to carry it in like this cake carrier. It's red (no surprise there, right?) and really tough so it holds up well.
Tres Leches Cake Recipe
This is my very favorite flavored tres leches cake. It's just the right combination of tangy and sweet to go with beef fajitas, smoky and spicy on the grill. It's one of those things that you can take to a church picnic and walk away with a licked out cake dish.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Lime and White Chocolate Tres Leches CakePrint Add to Collection Go to Collections
- 1-3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup key lime juice
- Zest from one lime
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk, , I use Eagle Brand and recommend it
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup white chocolate
- 1 tablespoon rum, optional
- Lime juice for sprinkling cake
- 2 cups heavy cream, very cold
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon rum, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 teaspoon powdered instant pudding mix, white chocolate
- Blend the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
- Add the vanilla and the zest.
- Add the flour, quickly mixing in.
- Now add the lime juice.
- Mix carefully.
- Spoon into a 9×9 inch pan or a 7x11 pan, or a 9-inch round pan and bake at 350F until done, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven.
- Heat the heavy cream to a simmer.
- Add the white chocolate to the cream and stir until smooth.
- Mix the cream mixture, Eagle Brand condensed milk, rum, and evaporated milk.
- Poke the cake with a fork in several places.
- Pour the cream mixture slowly over cake, stopping to let the cream be absorbed now and then.
- Repeat until all of the cream mixture is gone. The cake will be covered in liquid.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Just Before Serving
- Next day turn out onto a cake plate.
- Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup more lime juice.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla and rum until it just begins to thicken.
- Add in the 1/3 teaspoon of instant pudding powder and begin slowly adding the sugar while whipping.
- Whip the topping until it holds soft peaks - don't overwhip or you'll have butter.
- Top the cake with the whipped cream and serve.
- I added shards of white chocolate to the top of my cake for a garnish. The nutrition info is not included in this recipe.
- It needs to be refrigerated overnight to let the cream mixture soak into it - and any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator as well.
- It's fine to eat for up to 4 days but the quality starts to deteriorate after 2.
- You can freeze the cake itself before adding the cream mixture - then remove from the freezer, thaw, and finish the recipe. You can't freeze the cake once the cream mixture is on it.