Tangy Tres Leches Cake

March 19, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

My favorite version of the most classic tres leches cake subs out buttermilk for the whole milk. I love the subtle tang it adds and how it makes the cake itself a little less rich, meaning I can really load up on the whipped cream topping later. —Erin McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

For more on how to make, and vary, tres leches cake, see the full article. —The Editors

  • Makes one 9 x 13 inch cake
  • Cake:
  • 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 g) granulated sugar
  • 7 large (397 g) eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (271 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
  • Soaking:
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • one (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • one (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • lightly sweetened whipped cream, as needed for finihsing
  • ground cinnamon, as needed for finishing
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well to combine. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add the mixture to the mixer and mix just until incorporated. Scrape well to ensure the batter is evenly combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 38-40 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Poke the cake all over with a wooden skewer. In a large container, preferably one with a pour spout, whisk the buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk to combine.
  7. Gently pour the mixture all over the cake, letting it soak in through the holes. Most of this will happen quickly, but if some liquid pools up anywhere on the surface of the cake, just spoon it back over the cake until the mixture is absorbed (let it sit for about 30 minutes).
  8. Finish the cake with the whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 hours before serving.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Lola Lopez
  • Bria Knowles
    Bria Knowles
  • Erin McDowell
    Erin McDowell
  • Mackenzie Skye King
    Mackenzie Skye King
  • Lhos Yvette
    Lhos Yvette
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.