Dec 222011
Today’s Reader Guest Post for The Holiday Project:
Alberto from Woodland, California

[I can vouch for this cake. I’ve eaten it, and it’s deliciously moist! Oh, and what a friendly reminder that guys like to bake too! All you other guys out there, step it up. Thanks, Alberto!]


I am a January baby. Being so, I enjoy the crisp cold air of winter and the dark gray tint of the winter sky. While many people get a sort of depression upon the return of Jack Frost, I relish in the incoming cold weather. Alright! I know I have a strange fascination with cold weather, and at this point I should explain that I was born and raised (and currently go to school) in California! I can sense the non-Californians chuckling at the idea of a California winter, I know, I know.. I might not have the full experience of a blizzard storm, but hey if the thermometer reads below 70, it’s winter in my book!

And if it’s winter, then that means Christmas is around the corner! I’m from a fairly large Mexican family, so my holiday experiences are a bit skewed from the Christmas “norm.” First off, there is no Christmas in my memory that did not include a steaming pot of Tamales ranging from chicken, beef, and sweet tamales to a few plain masa tamales (for my picky palate). There were cups filled with the sweet aroma of champurado, a sweet chocolaty beverage that cleanses the palette of any previous spicy Mexican dish you may have dove into. But above all, there was also a delicious slice of pastel de tres leches.

Literally translated, the cake is called three milk cake. As a kid I was always fascinated by the name and always wondered what three milks they were referring to. Could it be a strange assortment of different mammalian milks? Or perhaps a mix of cow, goat, and llama! I really don’t know if people even drink llama milk, but I bet somewhere they do. The mystery was solved when I asked my mom what it actually was made of and I was a little bummed by her response–it was only cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk! These three milks are poured over a simple yellow cake and then given time to soak up into the cake and refrigerated. It’s topped with a light whipped cream and adorned with various fruits.

I hope you really enjoy my tres leches cake recipe. Try it out at your next holiday gathering, and make sure to save some leftovers, this cake is even better the following day!

Tres Leches Cake


  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Strawberries for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, add the cake mix, 1 cup evaporated milk, oil, and eggs. Using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat for 2 minutes until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, remaining evaporated milk, and 1/4 cup cream. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cake. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake. Place in the refrigerator until the liquid absorbs into the cake, at least 1 hour or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, in a large bowl, add the remaining cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until the cream holds soft peaks.

Slice the cake and serve with whipped cream and strawberries to top it off. Enjoy!

Hey! My name is Alberto, and I am a student at UC Davis studying Biopsychology. I was born and raised in California! I lived most of my childhood in sunny SoCal, moved to Davis for school and got a taste of real weather! I’m a foodie at heart, but with a not so adventurous palate, but I’m working on it. I enjoy cooking for family and friends and enjoy bugging them about what they thought about my food. In the future I hope to get a doctorate in quantitative psychology. Nerdy guys can cook too!

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  3 Responses to “Tres Leches Cake”

  1. This looks so fresh and delicious – love the red and white for the Holidays too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. YUM! I love tres leches cake and this looks like a easier way to do it, with the boxed cake mix. Definitely might have to add some booze to the mix though …

  3. What a yummy looking cake! The charm of the Tres Leches cake really comes through the voice of the writer, and makes me want to hurry home and make this delicious cake. I would really like to try this; I can tell that the milk will make this cake moist and supremely enjoyable. And the strawberries are a nice touch. Love it!

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