Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze


Cinco de Mayo is only a couple of days away. You know, Cinco de Mayo. That is the date that folks in Mexico commemorate their victory over France in the Battle of Puebla which took place way back in 1862. I’m not so sure folks here in America know exactly why they’re celebrating, but hey we’ll take any chance for a party, so we’re happy to join in! And it just so happens that I’ve got a great dish for you to bring along to your celebrations…Tres Leches Cake with a boozy, rum laden Dulce de Leche Glaze! Let me tell you, this cake is da bomb! So moist, so sweet and rich, it nearly defies the imagination.


For those few folks out there who haven’t heard of this confection before, allow me to tell you all about it. “Tres Leches” translates to “three milks”. A Tres Leches cake is a light and airy sponge cake which has been soaked in a milk bath mixture of three different milks, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Although its origins are not clear, this dessert is very popular in Latin America. And once you take one bite, I assure you, you will know why. That sponge cake soaks up every bit of that sweet, dreamy, ambrosia of a soaking mixture creating the most amazing texture. You might think it would be soggy, but nope. Not soggy, but moist sweet boozy perfection.


And that rum spiked Dulce de Leche glaze really puts this cake over the top. This recipe is easy but please take care to follow the directions. Now, I won’t lie, there are a few nail-biting moments along the way, like when you suspend the cake upside down to cool (I was sure it was going to fall into a huge pile of crumbles on the counter, but it didn’t) and then when you pour an impossible amount of liquid over the cake (I was sure it would not all get absorbed and my cake would be left ruined bobbing around in that milk lake, but it soaked it all up like a sponge. Maybe that’s why its called a “sponge cake” huh?). Have faith, the cake will be fantastic and you’ll be a Cinco de Mayo legend!


Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze

  • Servings: 24 Two Inch Squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe from: Once Upon a Chef (One of my absolute favorite blogs! Definitely Check it out!)


For the Cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or unbleached cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Milk Bath (soaking mixture):

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum

For the Glaze:

  • (13-ounce) can dulce de leche (I found this at the local grocery store in the “Hispanic Specialties” section.)
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1/4 cup water

For Baking:

  • One 9 x 13 x 2-inch Pyrex pan, ungreased, plus 4 cups or glasses for inverting the cake pan after baking


Preheat the oven to 325° F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine. Do not over-mix.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up. Whisk in the oil, water and vanilla, one at a time. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat with the paddle on medium speed for exactly one minute to aerate it slightly (it’s very important not to overmix). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for just a few seconds more.

In a clean, dry mixing bowl combine the egg whites and salt. Place on the mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held mixer with beaters) and whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are white, foamy and beginning to hold a very soft peak. Increase the speed to medium high and add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow stream. Continue whipping the egg whites until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks.

With a large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Be very careful not to over-mix. Scrape the batter into the ungreased pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until it is set in the middle and golden. Let the cake settle on the stovetop or a rack for 1-2 minutes, then invert four glasses onto the countertop and invert the cake pan onto them, positioning one in each corner of the pan. (A chiffon cake needs to hang upside down to cool or it may collapse and fall.)

Once the cake has cooled, flip it over and run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or point of a small, sharp knife at 1/2-inch intervals.

Prepare the soaking liquid: in a large bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and rum. Slowly pour the soaking liquid over the cake. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. If it’s slow to absorb, run a knife around the edges of the cake again and poke a few more holes. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Once the cake has chilled, make the glaze: in a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the dulce de leche, rum and water. (Note: If you want a really boozy cake, change the proportions in the glaze to 3 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons rum. You better believe this is how I made my glaze and it was superb!). Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, then whisk to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spread over cake. Place the cake back in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired.


Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze brought to you by: Runcible Eats (

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

9″x 13″x 2″ Pyrex Baking Pan

Dulce de Leche


3 Responses to Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze

  1. This looks great! I think we may need this for dessert on Thursday.

  2. Yum! What a great dessert to finish any Mexican feast!

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