Layered Tres Leches Cake

This layered tres leches cake is exactly what dreams are made of and more. Made with a doctored-up boxed cake mix for a base we get three layers of flavor and simplicity. You’re going to love this milk and berries cake!

a strawberry and red flower garnishes tres leches cake with more berries and flowers to the side

Strawberry Tres Leches Cake

A tres leches cake, also known as a “3 milk cake” is a very moist cake served with a whipped cream topping and fresh fruits, oftentimes it’s strawberries but other fruits and berries work great too. These cakes are also usually made in a 9×13 baking dish so that they are a single layer. We however took it to the next level and made a 3 layer tres leches cake.

Made with a stabilized whipped cream frosting on the outside and a boxed cake mix on the inside, this cake is super easy for anyone to make. I am not a professional cake decorator but just look at how incredible the cake can turn out!

The best part? the inside of the cake is really moist thanks to our three milk syrup and the fresh strawberries between every layer will have our tastebuds in heaven.

aerial view of a flower and strawberry topped tres leches cake next to striped towel

Layered tres leches cake ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Cake mix
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Boxed vanilla pudding
  • Cinnamon *optional
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Oil
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla pudding mix
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh strawberries

For the Tres Leches Syrup:

  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Heavy cream (or milk)
  • Vanilla extract

What you’ll need to make this recipe

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tall tres leches laered cake with strawberries and red flowers for garnish

Tips for making tres leches layer cake

If you want the cake a tad shorter but more level, you can remove the cooked cakes from the pans and then level the tops before returning to the pans. Spoon the tres leches syrup over the top and let them sit to absorb the liquid.

You won’t need all of the liquid but this will make the cake even moister inside the layers so be careful when stacking to make sure that the cake has cooled and absorbed all of the added liquid without becoming unstable.

If at any point the frosting becomes a tad messy and difficult to apply to the cake, place the cake in the freezer and place the frosting in the fridge. Just giving it a few minutes (10-15) to chill can really make a huge difference.

I used a large frosting leveler for spreading it around the tops and sides (bought off of Amazon for under $10) but other things that could work include a butter knife and a clean office ruler.

If your cake’s sides look a little too messed with for your liking and you want to cover it up, you can do like I did and take a little cinnamon in a sifter or sieve and gently shake it up and down the sides of the cake. This looks cool and hides a lot of little spots (or at least makes them far less noticeable).

aerial view of a sliced tres leches cake with strawberries and flowers on top

How to make layered tres leches cake

Prepare the cake layers

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut some parchment paper into circles that can fit at the bottom of your 8-inch cake pans. Spray cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and lay the parchment circles inside. Spray again with cooking spray and set aside.

In an extra-large mixing bowl whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, and boxed vanilla pudding mix. Add in the cinnamon if using.

In another mixing bowl blend together the eggs, sour cream, oil, water, and vanilla.

Add your wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until well combined and no flour streaks remain.

Divide the batter evenly between your three cake pans and spread the batter to level it out nicely.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean.

Once the cakes have finished baking allow them to cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes before flipping over onto a cooling rack while warm, poke the tops with a toothpick several times.

a collage showing how to make the cake batter and bake it

Syrup & Frosting

Tres Leches Syrup

Prepare the syrup by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid in a small bowl.

Spoon the syrup onto the cakes and use the back of the spoon to press the liquid into the cake as you go along. You will need to repeat the syrup over the top of the cakes a few times to get them nice and moist.

Whipped Cream Frosting

Combine the vanilla pudding mix with your reserved Tres Leches syrup. Whisk together until well blended and allow to sit for a few minutes to set.

In a large mixing bowl beat the heavy whipping cream with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

Add in the pudding mixture and continue to beat for about 15-20 seconds until the mixture has been fully incorporated. You should still have stiff peaks forming.

a collage showing how to prep and assemble the cake layers

Assembly

Place some frosting into a pastry bag or Ziploc baggie with a corner snipped off.

Frost the tops of two of the cakes with frosting and add some sliced strawberries on top. Apply another thin layer of frosting over the top of the berries.

Stack the cakes and then chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. Keep unused frosting in a covered bowl in the fridge. This helps for stability to keep the cake and frosting cold. Alternatively, half the time in the freezer may work too.

Frost the outside of the cake as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and fruits. Sprinkle with cinnamon along the sides if desired.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!

a large slice of three layer tres leches cake

More great cake recipes to try

a close up of a layered tres leches cake with strawberries and red flowers
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Layered Tres Leches Cake

This layered tres leches cake is exactly what dreams are made of and more. Made with a doctored-up boxed cake mix for a base we get three layers of flavor and simplicity. You're going to love this milk and berries cake!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: layer tres leches cake, layered tres leches cake, milk and berries cake, strawberry tres leches cake, tres leches layer cake
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 613kcal
Author: Beeyond Cereal

Equipment

  • Parchment paper
  • (3) 8 inch cake pans

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix (just the dry stuff!)
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 small box (3.4oz) Vanilla Flavored Instant Pudding Mix (just the dry stuff!)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon *optional
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Frosting

  • 1 quart Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 small box (3.4oz) Vanilla Flavored Instant Pudding Mix (just the dry stuff!)
  • 1 cup Reserved Tres Leches Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 pint Fresh Strawberries

Tres Leches Syrup

  • 1 can 12oz Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can 14oz Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (or regular milk)
  • 1 splash Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cut some parchment paper into circles that can fit at the bottom of your 8 inch cake pans. Spray cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and lay the parchment circles inside. Spray again with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In an extra large mixing bowl whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, and boxed vanilla pudding mix. Add in the cinnamon if using.
  • In another mixing bowl blend together the eggs, sour cream, oil, water, and vanilla.
  • Add your wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until well combined and no flour streaks remain.
  • Divide the batter evenly between your three cake pans and spread the batter to level it out nicely.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean.
  • Once the cakes have finished baking allow them to cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes before flipping over onto a cooling rack while warm, poke the tops with a toothpick several times and spoon the Tres Leches Syrup over the top.

Tres Leches Syrup

  • Prepare the syrup by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid in a small bowl.
  • Spoon the syrup onto the cakes and use the back of the spoon to press the liquid into the cake as you go along. You will need to repeat the syrup over the top of the cakes a few times to get them nice and moist.

Prepare the frosting

  • Combine the vanilla pudding mix with your reserved Tres Leches syrup. Whisk together until well blended and allow to sit for a few minutes to set.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the heavy whipping cream with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
  • Add in the pudding mixture and continue to beat for about 15-20 seconds until the mixture has been fully incorporated. You should still have stiff peaks forming.

Assembly

  • Place some frosting into a pastry bag or Ziploc baggie with a corner snipped off.
  • Frost the tops of two of the cakes with frosting and add some sliced strawberries on top. Apply another thin layer of frosting over the top of the berries.
  • Stack the cakes and then chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. Keep unused frosting in a covered bowl in fridge. This helps for stability to keep the cake and frosting cold. Alternatively half the time in the freezer may work too.
  • Frost the outside of the cake as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and fruits. Sprinkle with cinnamon along the sides if desired.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @BeeyondCereal or tag #BeeyondCereal!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 71.5g | Protein: 6.9g | Fat: 34.2g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11.5g | Trans Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 119.1mg | Sodium: 528.8mg | Potassium: 183.7mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 282.5IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 140.7mg | Iron: 0.9mg

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