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Tres Leches Cake | the little epicurean

Toasted Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake is a white cake soaked in "three milks." Adding a toasted meringue topping not only adds a pop of color, it also brings a nice contrasting flavor to this otherwise very rich and very sweet cake.
Yield: 9''x13'' cake
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Assembly: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: tres leches cake, milk cake, soaked sponge cake, toasted tres leches
Servings: 15
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Sponge Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Tres Leches:

  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk

Meringue Topping:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9"x13" baking pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until mixture has thickened and is pale in color. Add milk and mix until incorporated.
  • Add dry flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Whip egg whites to medium peaks and gently fold into batter until there are no longer any white streaks.
  • Transfer cake batter to prepared baking pan. Spread into an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes until top of cake is golden brown. Leave cake in pan and let cool to room temperature.

Tres Leches:

  • Using a fork (docker or skewers), poke holes throughout the cooled cake.
  • Whisk together milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Pour a little bit at a time over poked cake. Once all the milks have been added to cake, let cake stand for about 30 minutes until all the liquids are fully absorbed.


  • In a small sauce pot, combine sugar and water.  Set over medium-high heat and cook to 238°F.
  • Meanwhile, the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed. Once mixture is foamy, increase speed slightly and whisk to soft peaks. By this time, the sugar syrup should have reached its desired temperature. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup.
  • Once all the sugar syrup as been added, increase speed and beat until shiny, stiff peaks. Add vanilla and salt and whisk until incorporated.
  • Spoon meringue over milk soaked cake. Use the back of the spoon to evenly distribute meringue. Use a kitchen torch to brown and toast the meringue. Slice and serve immediately.


  • Best served and enjoyed immediately. 
  • When stored in the fridge too long, eventually the meringue topping will separate.
  • Add a splash of rum or coffee liqueur to the milk soaking mixture to spike up the flavors!