Enjoy deliciously Easy Tres Leches Cake using cake mix. Rich, golden butter cake drenched in sweet milks, adorned with whipped cream and strawberries—a heavenly dessert treat.

moist tres leches cake with on a white plate

What is tres leches?

“Tres Leches” is Spanish and translates to “three milks.” In culinary circles, the phrase is commonly linked to a traditional Latin or Mexican dessert cake.

What is a tres leches cake?

A Tres Leches Cake is a Latin American dessert famous for its moist, custard-like texture and delightfully sweet milk flavor. It’s made by soaking sponge cake in three types of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. The result is a rich and creamy homemade treat with a comfortingly sweet taste.

two servings of tres leches cake on plates

Why We Love Cake Mix Tres Leche Cake

  • Quick and convenient: Utilizes a cake mix for easy and efficient preparation.
  • Deliciously moist: Soaked in a blend of sweet milks for an irresistible texture.
  • Customizable toppings: Perfect canvas for adding whipped cream, strawberries, or other favorite toppings.
  • Familiar flavors: Retains the classic taste of traditional Tres Leches Cake with a simplified method.
  • Time-saving: Provides a shortcut to enjoy this beloved dessert without compromising on taste.
ingredients for easy tres leches cake made with a box cake mix

Ingredients You’ll Need

With just a boxed cake mix and these basic ingredients, you can create a moist and tender tres leches cake without relying on oil or butter, thanks to the richly satisfying three-milk soak.

For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

When you are making this recipe, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.

Chef’s Tip

Do not overmix! The key to the perfect consistency in a tres leches cake is in the cake’s ability to absorb the milk soak. Overmixing the batter is your enemy, as it forms dense, rubbery gluten strands and drastically reduces air pockets. The cake doesn’t have enough air pockets to absorb the milk, so it pools instead. No bueno!

piece of tres leches cake with a bite missing on a dessert plate

Notes + Tips From The Kitchen

  • A light and airy texture for the milk cake is your priority so the milk can absorb properly to get that luscious custard-like consistency.
  • Avoid overmixing the cake mix tres leches cake batter so the gluten won’t develop; less is best!
  • Using a large spouted measuring cup or bowl helps to easily control and pout the three milks topping evenly over the cake. 
  • To ensure the cake is fully baked, check with a toothpick into the center; if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
  • It’s best to wait until you are ready to serve the cake before whipping up the topping and garnishing. 
  • When whipping the leches cream topping, make sure your bowl is scrupulously clean and chilled for the best results.
  • The BIG ONE: For the best milk-soaking avoid poking the fork all the way to the bottom of the cake. This keeps all the deliciously sweet liquid contained within the cake


Store your Tres Leches Cake covered in the fridge for 3-5 days.

For convenience, prepare the cake 1-2 days ahead, allowing the cake to soak up the milk mixture overnight.

Freeze the baked and cooled cake for up to 3 months, ensuring it’s well-covered, and thaw it in the fridge before adding the milk mixture.

a bite of tres leches cake on a fork

Recipe FAQs

What cake mix is best for tres leches cake with a boxed mix?

While there’s no definitive “best” cake mix for tres leches, Golden and yellow cake mix are widely favored for their light texture to pair well with the rich milk soaking. You can also try vanilla, butter pecan, spice cake, or strawberry cake mixes for creative variations.

What 3 milks are in tres leches cake?

The three milks you usually find in a tres leches cake recipe are evaporated milk for its caramel notes, condensed milk for rich sweetness, and heavy cream. This milk trio creates the moist and indulgent texture that defines this beloved dessert.

Why is my tres leches cake soggy?

A tres leches cake will become soggy because the gluten develops when overmixed. A dense cake batter means fewer air pockets. Without air pockets, the cake will struggle to soak up the milk. This typically results in a dry texture with milk pooling on the surface and running to the bottom.

Do you have to use all three types of milk in a tres leches cake?

Yep, you’ll want to use all three types of milk for that classic tres leches goodness. It’s what gives a cake mix tres leches cake its rich and moist texture, making it so delicious!

moist tres leches cake with a fresh strawberry and a fork on a white plate

Topping Variations

Strawberries are a classic tres leches topping, but here’s a list of delicious options to explore:

Fruit Options:

  • Stone Fruits: Fresh peaches, mangoes, or nectarines add a juicy sweetness that complements the creamy cake. (canned and drained fruits, too.)
  • Berries: A medley of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries offers a pretty visual and tart counterpoint.
  • Tropical: Pineapple, guava, kiwi, or passion fruit bring a burst of exotic flavor.

Classic Elegance:

  • Caramelized Bananas: Sliced bananas caramelized in butter and brown sugar create a warm and decadent topping.Chocolate: Covered or drizzled, a rich chocolate ganache, shavings, or sprinkles are a vote for chocolate lovers.

Creative Additions or Stand-Alones:

  • Toasted Coconut: Flakes or shreds add a delightful textural contrast and a hint of tropical flavor.
  • Chopped Nuts: Pecan, almonds, or hazelnuts provide a satisfying texture and crunch.
  • Dulce de Leche: This creamy caramel sauce adds a decadent Latin twist.
close up of a slice of tres leches cake with a fresh strawberry on top
moist tres leches cake with a fresh strawberry and a fork on a white plate

Easy Tres Leches Cake With Cake Mix

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes

No-fuss Tres Leches Cake made easy with a box cake mix! Golden butter cake drenched in sweet milks, topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries!


  • 1 pkg (15.25 oz) Golden Butter or Yellow Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • ground cinnamon, for garnish
  • fresh sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional


  1. Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with baking spray.
  2. Mix the Cake Batter: In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for 1 minute until well combined.
  3. Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  4. Poke Holes: Use a fork or wood skewer to poke holes in top of warm cake.
  5. Milk Mixture Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup heavy whipping cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake, filling the holes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Whipped Cream Topping: Just before serving, beat the remaining 1 cup whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
  7. Finish and Serve: Spread the whipped cream over the set cake, lightly dust the top of the cake with cinnamon, and serve with fresh strawberries, if desired.


Avoid poking the fork all the way to the bottom of the cake for the best milk-soaking. This keeps all the deliciously sweet liquid contained within the cake, making it easier for the crumb to absorb.


Store your Tres Leches Cake covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. For convenience, prepare it 1-2 days ahead, allowing the cake to soak up the milk mixture overnight.

Freeze the baked and cooled cake for up to 3 months, ensuring it's well-covered, and thaw it in the fridge before adding the milk mixture and whipped topping.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 376mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

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