Delicious Tres Leches Cake Recipe – Easy & Quick

My dear readers, I am delighted to share with you a recipe that is sure to have your taste buds dancing with joy – the Lemony Tres Leches Cake Recipe. This sweet treat is a delightful fusion of Brazilian and American cuisine that combines the flavors of tangy lemon with the classic tres leches cake.

As you sink your teeth into this delicious dessert, you will notice the soft, spongy cake soaked in three milks – sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream – that give it a rich and creamy texture. The addition of lemon juice and zest provides a refreshing burst of flavor that cuts through the sweetness of the cake.

This recipe is a perfect balance of textures and flavors that will make it a crowd-pleaser at any gathering. Whether you are celebrating a birthday or hosting a dinner party, this cake is sure to impress your guests. So let’s put our aprons on and get started on creating this heavenly dessert!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Lemony Tres Leches Cake
Lemony Tres Leches Cake

Dear readers,

I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for Lemony Tres Leches Cake. This is a dessert that will leave you and your guests raving long after the final bite. Here are just a few reasons why I know you’ll love this recipe:

First, the combination of sweet vanilla sponge cake soaked in three different types of milk – sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream – creates an incredibly moist and decadent base for this cake.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the addition of fresh lemon zest and juice. This gives the cake a bright, tangy flavor that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the three milks. It’s like a lemon meringue pie and a creamy tres leches cake had a deliciously indulgent baby.

And let’s not forget about the whipped cream on top. This airy and fluffy topping, delicately flavored with more lemon zest and juice, is the perfect complement to the rich, creamy cake below.

Not only does this recipe taste amazing, but it’s also surprisingly easy to make – even for beginner bakers. In just a few simple steps, you can have an impressive dessert ready for any occasion.

So whether you’re looking for a showstopper dessert for your next dinner party or simply want to treat yourself to something special, give this Lemony Tres Leches Cake a try. I guarantee it will become a favorite in no time.

Happy baking!

Yours truly,

[Your Name]

Ingredient List

 A slice of heaven on a plate
A slice of heaven on a plate

Here is a list of all the ingredients you will need to make this delicious and refreshing Lemony Tres Leches Cake:

For the Cake
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 cup white sugar
– 4 large eggs, separated
– zest of 2 Meyer lemons or regular lemons
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Three Milks Mixture
– 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– juice of 2 lemons
– zest of 1 lemon

For the Lemon Cream
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– zest of 1 lemon

For the Lemon Meringue Topping
– 4 egg whites
– Pinch of cream of tartar
– Pinch of salt
– 3/4 cup sugar
– Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Make sure you have all these ingredients on hand before starting to make this delicious cake!

The Recipe How-To

 Sweet citrusy goodness in every bite
Sweet citrusy goodness in every bite

Mixing the Cake Batter

To start, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and prepare a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together 1¾ cups (220 g) of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together ½ cup (115 g) of unsalted butter with 1 cup (200 g) of white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 4 large eggs, one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Next, add in 2 tbsp of finely grated lemon zest and 1 tbsp of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to the mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine.

Baking the Sponge Cake

Gradually fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture in batches, while alternating with adding ⅓ cup (80 ml) of whole milk between each addition, to keep the mixture light and airy. Be careful not to overmix the batter – it should be soft and smooth with no lumps.

Pour the cake batter into your prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once done, let it cool for a few minutes before proceeding to soak it in three types of milk.

Soaking the Tres Leches Cake

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 can (14 fl oz) (414 ml) of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can (12 fl oz) (354 ml) of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of whole milk with a splash of vanilla extract.

With a fork, pierce the surface of the cooled sponge cake all over, to allow the mixture of three milks to soak into the cake. Pour the milk mixture over the cake, making sure it gets absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight) to let it fully absorb.

Making The Lemon Cream Topping

Once ready to serve, in a medium-sized mixing bowl add 1 cup (240 ml) of heavy cream and whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Add in 2 tbsp of lemon juice and continue whisking until desired stiffness. Be careful not to overbeat – it should be creamy but not clumpy.

Finishing Touches

Take the cake out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and spread a thick layer of lemon cream topping over the soaked sweet milk cake.

Zest 2 lemons over top for garnish, slice into squares and serve.

Enjoy your delicious lightly tart Lemony Tres Leches Cake!

Substitutions and Variations

 The ultimate dessert for any occasion
The ultimate dessert for any occasion

Dearest readers, while this lemony tres leches cake recipe is already quite exquisite on its own, I understand that some of you may wish to put your own spin on it. Worry not, for I have collected a few variations and substitutions for you to try if you so desire.

Firstly, if the lemon flavor is not to your liking, fear not! You can omit the lemon zest and juice altogether, and just make a traditional tres leches cake. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try using lime instead of lemon for a tangy twist.

If you’re looking for a different type of sponge cake beyond the basic white cake mix, I suggest trying a blueberry or strawberry shortcake mix. It’ll add an extra bit of sweetness and fruity flavor to the cake.

For those who prefer a more tart flavor, a homemade lemon curd can be added between each layer of the cake along with the sweetened condensed milk mixtures. Though it requires a bit more effort, the end result is undeniably worth it.

If whipping up egg whites for the meringue topping seems overwhelming on top of everything else (sometimes one must avoid too much labor in cooking), feel free to use whipped cream instead. It will still provide delicious richness to balance out the sweetness.

Lastly, if by any chance sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk are inaccessible in your area or if you would like a lighter version of this classic dessert for health reasons, use low-fat milk in place of these two milks. Simply add one additional cup of milk and increase sugar by half a cup then cook slowly over medium heat until lightly thickened then season with vanilla extract after cooling.

I hope these suggestions have stirred up newfound creativity in you. Whether you follow my recipe exactly as written, or make adjustments to suit your personal preferences, remember that in cooking as in life there should always be room for experimentations!

Serving and Pairing

 A refreshing twist on a classic Latin American dessert
A refreshing twist on a classic Latin American dessert

Ah, the beauty of serving and pairing. This is where you can get creative with your dessert flair. The lemony tres leches cake calls for simple yet exciting pairings and serving styles.

First and foremost, keep this cake chilled before serving. You don’t want your sweet milk to leak all over your beautiful plate! Serve it in dainty slices with a dollop of whipped cream or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream for that extra touch of sweetness.

If you’re feeling adventurous, pair it with blueberry or strawberry shortcake. The tart and sweet flavors of the fruit complement the tangy notes from the lemon zest perfectly, creating a flavor burst in every bite.

And let’s not forget the classic lemon curd. Spread a spoonful on top of each slice and watch as everyone’s taste buds dance and sing in unison.

For a grande finale, serve it as a layered cake with lemon cream as frosting between each sponge layer. You can even add a meringue topping to create a classic lemon meringue pie effect.

The options are endless, but one thing is for sure – this lemony tres leches cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Moist, rich and flavorful
Moist, rich and flavorful

If you need to make the Lemony Tres Leches Cake Recipe ahead of time, it is best to prepare the cake and soak it in the milk mixture. Then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

The soaked cake can also be frozen for up to two weeks. To thaw, remove from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature while still covered with plastic wrap.

When you are ready to serve, whip up some fresh cream and meringue topping to spread on top of the cake. It’s best to do this just before serving. If you have any leftover cake, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

To reheat, place a slice of cake in the microwave for a few seconds until warm or heat in the oven at 300°F for 5-7 minutes.

Keep in mind that the longer the cake sits in the milk mixture, the softer it becomes. So if you plan on making this cake ahead of time, be aware that it may become too soft if left in the refrigerator for an extended period. However, It will still be delicious!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors
The perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors

To achieve perfect results with this Lemony Tres Leches Cake Recipe, follow these tips and tricks:

1. Beat the egg whites separately: this will make your sponge cake fluffier and lighter. I recommend using a hand or stand mixer to get those stiff peaks.

2. Don’t overmix the flour: mix the flour and baking powder just enough to incorporate them into the batter. Overmixing can toughen the cake.

3. Make sure the cake is cooled before adding the milk mixture: it’s essential to let your cake cool before adding the tres leches mixture; otherwise, it will not absorb correctly.

4. Use a toothpick to poke holes: once you’re ready to pour the tres leches mixture over your cake, use a toothpick or fork to make small holes in the surface; this will allow the liquid to soak in evenly.

5. Let it rest overnight: as tempting as it may be, don’t serve the cake immediately after adding the milk mixture! Cover it and let it sit in the fridge overnight so that all flavors blend and soak well.

6. Add some zest: feel free to sprinkle some lemon zest on top of your cake for extra lemony deliciousness!

With these tips in mind, you will undoubtedly achieve a perfectly moist and flavorful Lemony Tres Leches Cake. Enjoy!


Moving on to the FAQ section, I have compiled a set of frequently asked questions about this Lemon Tres Leches Cake recipe. From troubleshooting cake leakage issues to adapting the recipe for alternative flavor profiles, this section aims to address all your queries and concerns so that you can make this cake with ease and confidence. So, let’s dive in!

Why is my tres leches cake not soaking?

Have you noticed that your tres leches cake is not soaking up the milk mixture even after many hours? This might be occurring due to overmixing the batter, which can cause the cake to become thick, weighty, and unable to absorb the liquid completely. To help the cake absorb the milk mixture properly, make sure to use a skewer to poke holes all over it.

How do you keep tres leches from getting soggy?

Preparing the tres leches cake is all about finding the right balance between moistness and texture. To prevent the cake from losing its shape or becoming too soggy after being soaked in the three milks mixture, we have made some adjustments. We have reduced the quantity of the three milks by half a cup, which allows just the right amount of liquid to seep into the cake without compromising its structure. This way, we can ensure that every bite of our cake is rich, satisfying, and delightfully moist.

What’s the difference between tres leches and cuatro leches?

When it comes to delicious desserts, tres leches cake is a classic favorite. However, there is a way to make it even better: by adding caramel or dulce de leche as the fourth milk component. This irresistible twist takes the cake to the next level and creates a truly indulgent treat.

How do you keep a tres leches cake from leaking?

When constructing a tres leches cake, it is crucial to employ a cake pan with tall edges to confine the liquid combination. Equally vital is guaranteeing that the cake has cooled comprehensively before introducing the liquid mixture. Stowing the cake in the refrigerator after baking for a limited time will further aid in establishing the cake’s solidity.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Lemony Tres Leches Cake recipe is a perfect dessert for any occasion. Its tangy lemon flavor and moist texture make it a crowd-pleaser. Do not let the thought of making this cake intimidate you, it is simple to prepare and has ingredients available at any local grocery store. The substitutions and variations are endless, so you can customize the cake to your liking.

Whether you’re baking for a special occasion or just want something sweet, this cake is sure to impress your guests. It’s great for birthdays, dinner parties or even a simple night in. You can pair it with your favorite fruit or whipped cream and enjoy the flavorful treat.

Finally, always remember to keep Tres Leches cake from leaking by allowing it to soak in the liquid mixture for at least half an hour before adding toppings or frosting. With these tips and tricks, anyone can become a pro at making this dessert. Give it a try by following the recipe above and enjoy the delightful flavors of this Lemon Tres Leches cake!

Lemony Tres Leches Cake

Lemony Tres Leches Cake Recipe

OMG how divine! This is not wet like some tres leches cakes can be but moist, covered with a glamorous amazing looking icing, The meringue frosting is light but maintains its texture with refrigeration - delicate tasting when compared to other frostings. Adapted from the Chicago Tribune via Food & Drink, a weekly Tribune publication. The recipe comes from the mother of a member of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago. Tip - use dental floss to cut the cake layers - way easier than cutting.
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Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 535.4 kcal


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 1 lemon, juice of


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Beat the 7 egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Beat in the yolks one at a time. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the whole milk; repeat twice, beating until smooth. Add vanilla.
  • Pour the mixture into 2 buttered and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Lower the oven to 350 degrees; bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes; unmold. Cut the cakes into 2 horizontal layers; place on wire racks set into shallow baking pans.
  • Combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream and brandy in a medium bowl. Prick the top of each cake layer with a toothpick. Drizzle one-third of the milk mixture over each cake layer; set aside.
  • For the meringue, beat the 6 egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl to form stiff peaks; set aside.
  • Combine the sugar, water and lemon zest & juice in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil over medium heat; cook until temperature reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage. Remove from heat.
  • Carefully add the syrup in a thin stream to the egg whites, beating with electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until firm, 5-6 minutes.
  • Restack the cake layers; cover the sides and top of cake with meringue. Refrigerate until serving time.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 236gCalories: 535.4kcalCarbohydrates: 85.2gProtein: 13.6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8.9gCholesterol: 171.5mgSodium: 269.9mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 61.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Dessert
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.