The Ultimate Dessert to Impress Your Guests With – Costa Rican Tres Leches

Last week, Emma’s mom flew all the way from Miami just to cook for us. When I tell you this woman can touch anything and it turns into gold, I mean it. Especially if there’s cooking involved. Of all the delicious things she made for us, such as lentils and ropa vieja, it was the tres leches that truly stuck out to me. And as a food connoisseur, I’m quite difficult to impress. So, hear me out when I tell you that you will drop jaws with this dessert, including your own once you take that first bite. It is a bit of a long recipe but you can store in your fridge and enjoy it for a week which makes it totally worth it. I’ve posted below the ingredients, the recipe, and a video tutorial of me making it. I look forward to hearing your feedback and I’m so excited for you guys to try it! And of course, major shout out to Adriana Gonzalez!!!!


Costa Rican Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Yield: approximately 24 small pieces, 12 large



Tres leches cake ingredients:

4 eggs, room temperature and separated yolk from the whites

1/2 cup milk (whole milk preferred)

1 cup of white granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Non-stick cooking spray


Milk Cake sauce ingredients:

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (leche condensada)

1 cup evaporated milk  (leche evaporada)

1 cup whole milk (optional- cuts down on the sweet taste of the sauce if you feel it is too sweet)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Sweet Cream

Tres leches topping ingredients: (See notes below)

3 cups of heavy whipping cream (1 pint and a half)

4 tablespoons granulated sugar (you can add more if needed)

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional) you can add more if needed

Cooking Tools:

Hand or stand mixer.  

9 x 13 inch baking dish


Cake Instructions:

Place a mixing bowl, the beaters and the 3 cups of heavy whipping cream (in a separate bowl) in the freezer for about 30 min (This is for whipping cream topping)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray your baking dish with cooking spray. 

2. Separate the yolks from the whites for each of your eggs. I personally think that using room temperature eggs works better.

 3. Measure out dry ingredients into a medium bowl (flour, baking powder and salt)  and whisk until combined. 

4. In your mixer or mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and beat on medium speed until the yolks turn a pale yellow.

5. Next, add 3/4 cup granulated sugar (leaving 1/4 cup behind), add 1/2 cup milk and vanilla to the yolk mixture and stir. Pour the whole thing over the flour mixture and stir until just combined. 

6. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

7. Add the eggs whites to the flour mixture and stir. Your cake batter should be light and airy. Pour into your baking pan and place in the center rack of the oven.

8. Bake this cake for about 20 to 25 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  It can take up to about 30 minutes. 

9. While the cake is baking, you can stir or whisk together the different types of milk for the sauce. 

10. When cake is done, remove from one and Allow to cool slightly- the cake will be spongy and naturally pull away from the edges of the baking pan. Poke holes into the cake with a fork, and pour the milk mixture over the entire cake until absorbed.

11. You can then top with your topping and serve, or keep refrigerated for up to five days. I love to eat this cake right after I make it, but it does also get better with age. 

Whipped Cream Topping:  take out the mixing bowl and whipping cream from freezer.

 Pour the cream into cold mixing bowl and start Mixing at medium speed, until stiff peaks are just about to form. Add the sugar and Vanilla.   You can now mix a little faster but make sure not to over-beat, or cream will then become lumpy and butter like.  

Video Tutorial

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