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Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix

If you think tres leches cake is dreamy, wait until you try this tres leches cake with cake mix.

It takes half the time to prep but has twice the yummy flavor.

In fact, it’s probably one of my top five favorite cakes in the world – and it only takes one bite to fall in love.

Homemade tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix Topped with Strawberries
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Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix

This authentic Mexican dessert is unbelievably moist and undeniably delicious! And it’s all down to the milk.

With tres leches, you’ll soak the cake in not one, but three kinds of milk.

So, even if the cake comes out a little dry, the added dairy will make it ultra-moist and tender.

It’s also surprisingly easy to make, thanks to the boxed cake mix. The recipe only needs a few minutes of your time and a little patience while it bakes.

Ready to give it a try? I know I am!

Homemade Tres Leches Cake with Strawberry Top View

What Is Tres Leches? 

Tres leches is a type of poke cake that means “three milks” in Spanish.

Once the buttery sponge is baked and cooled, it’s covered in a creamy blend of milks that needs at least four hours to soak up.

After a quick chill, this popular Mexican dessert is ridiculously moist and milky.

Besides the milk mixture, the butter cake base is spectacular.

After all, how can you go wrong with the combination of milk and butter?

It’s so good; you’ll want to make it again and again.

Tres Leches Cake Ingredients - Yellow Cake Mix, Egg, Milk, Butter, Heavy Whipping Cream and Sugar

How to Make Tres Leches Cake 

Since this cake is served in the pan it’s baked in, I like to use a nice glass baking dish for presentation purposes.

But that’s totally up to you!

No matter what baking dish you use, here’s how to make it:

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1. Make and bake the cake. You’ll know it’s done if the toothpick comes out clean.

2. Make the milk mixture while the cake bakes. That way, it’s ready when it comes out of the oven.

3. Poke and pour. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes. Then poke holes over the top with a sharp knife or skewer and pour the milk mixture over the whole cake.

4. Cover and chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

5. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Melt in Your Mouth Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix

Tips for Making The Best Cake

Want the best tres leches cake ever? Here’s some handy tips and tricks:

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This helps everything mix more easily.
  • Let the cake cool before pouring the milks over. If you add them too soon, the cake will be mushy.
  • Use a butter cake mix for the best flavor. You can also bake a sponge cake from scratch for a completely homemade version. Just be sure it’s mild in flavor so it doesn’t distract from the milk.
  • Slice off the top of the cake. This part isn’t required, especially if your cake hasn’t formed a crust on top. But if it does, this trick will help the milks absorb better.
  • Don’t substitute condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream for anything else. The combination of these specific ingredients creates a perfect balance of flavor and consistency.
  • Trust the process. It will look like there’s way too much milk mixture but I promise, it’s right.
  • Serve the cake chilled, straight from the fridge. Definitely don’t leave it on the counter!

Recipe Variations

As good as this cake is on its own, why not add toppings for some textural contrast?

Or maybe mix somthing right into the cake batter?

You can’t go wrong with any of these:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Fresh strawberry slices
  • Chopped cherries
  • Chocolate or salted caramel sauce
  • Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of rum in the milk mixture

How to Store Tres Leches Cake 

Since this cake needs a minimum of 4 hours to chill, it’s the perfect make ahead dessert for any occasion.

That said, the whipped cream topping won’t last that long. So only add that when you’re ready to serve.

Here’s how to store it the right way:

To Store: Cover the cake with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for 4-5 days. If storing leftovers, scrape the whipped cream off and add fresh when serving.

Note: I don’t recommend freezing tres leches cake. There’s too much dairy and it won’t thaw well.

More Mexican Dessert Recipes You’ll Love

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Disney Churro Bites
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Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix

Course: DessertCuisine: Mexican
Servings

20

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

343

kcal

If you think tres leches cake is dreamy, wait until you try this tres leches cake with cake mix. It takes half the time to prep but has twice the yummy flavor.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 1 (15.25 ounces) box butter golden or yellow cake mix

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2/3 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • For the Milk Mixture:
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • For the Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or two 9-inch round pans) with butter or baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, eggs, milk, softened butter, and vanilla on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the milk mixture. In a 4-cup measuring glass with a spout, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1 cup of whipping cream.
  • Poke holes in the cake using a knife or skewer. Pour milk mixture over the cake and let cool for 30 more minutes.
  • Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  • For the topping, beat 1 cup of whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Spread whipped cream over the cake right before serving. Enjoy!
Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

4 thoughts on “Tres Leches Cake with Cake Mix”

  1. I am confused in recipe you say in the ingredients to add condensed sweetened milk to the cake mix and then it says again to to put it the the #4 directions.? Should it only be I added in the #4 directions?

    Reply
    • Hi Janet, sorry for any confusion! You want to follow the more detailed directions on the recipe card and add the milk mixture in step 4.

      Reply
  2. This was delicious!! I would like to suggest you move the sweetened condensed milk to the ingredients for the milk recipe. It was probably an oversight but it is listed as an ingredient for the cake.

    Reply

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