Tres Leches Cake

Luis Gonzales

Cienfuego - Death & Co., and Mayahuel, NYC

Tres Leches is a luscious sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk or cream. Luis Gonzales trades in the traditional whipped cream topping for a light meringue and some tequila-soaked strawberries.



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 8 eggs
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  • 1 cup sugar
  • Water as needed
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tequila (preferably reposado)


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9 x 9-inch cake pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients in 2 parts, beating the mixture for 4 minutes after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate.

Place the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Pour over the cooled cake and refrigerate overnight.

To make the meringue, place the sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add water until the mixture resembles wet sand. Bring the mixture to a boil, then continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the syrup reaches 250ºF. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. With the mixer still running, pour the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl and into the egg whites. Beat until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Spread the meringue over the top of the cake. Return the cake the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To make the strawberries, toss them in the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the tequila and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, slice the cake into individual portions and top with strawberries.


6 to 8 servings