My recipe for Strawberry Tres Leches Cake includes a homemade sponge cake, three milks and three different types of strawberries.
A classic tres leches cake is a homemade vanilla sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three milks (tres leches). My French Strawberry Cake is one of my most popular recipes. So when it comes to any type of cake, it makes sense for me to make a strawberry version. For this recipe, in addition to the three milks, I use three different types of strawberries to flavor the cake – fresh, frozen and freeze dried.
Why this recipe works
The cake, milk mixture and whipped cream frosting all get a kiss of natural strawberry flavor. Thanks to thawed and strained frozen strawberries plus crushed freeze-dried strawberries. My cake recipe is from-scratch, no cake mix, no Jello. This cake looks stunning with its pale pink frosting and bright red topping. Perfect for any spring or summer gathering or celebration. It’s a dessert meant to be served cold, so another bonus for serving it in warmer weather.
Ingredients for strawberry tres leches cake recipe
- Eggs – The cake uses five large eggs for its batter.
- Evaporated Milk – One of the three milks that gives this cake its name.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – Thick, sweet and creamy it helps to flavor the strawberry milk mixture for the cake.
- Whole Milk – The third milk used in the milk soak mixture.
- Heavy Cream – For the homemade strawberry whipped cream frosting.
- Frozen Strawberries – Thawed and then strained, this strawberry puree gives the cake and milk its punch of strawberry flavor.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries – These strawberries are pulverized in a food processor. The powder is then used to flavor the frosting and to decorate the top of the cake.
- Fresh Strawberries – Sliced fresh strawberries are used to garnish each slice of cake. I also like to plate each piece of cake with a couple of whole strawberries.
- All Purpose Flour – One cup of flour is all you need for this sheet cake.
- Powdered Sugar – Used to sweetened the frosting.
- Granulated Sugar – Used to sweeten the sponge cake.
- Baking Powder – Creates air bubbles to give your cake a light and airy texture.
- Salt – Enhances the sweet flavors of the other ingredients.
- Vanilla Extract – Enhances the flavors of the milks and sugar.
Instructions for how to make strawberry tres leches cake
- Separate five large eggs.
- Beat together the egg whites with 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff and glossy like a meringue.
- Beat together the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk and flour mixture.
- Spread the cake batter evenly into an ungreased 9×13 baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F 25-30 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool.
- Meanwhile, pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until powdered and set aside.
- Microwave the frozen strawberries.
- Use a fork or the back of a spoon to press them through a strainer so you are left with smooth strawberry purée/juice.
- To make the frosting, use a whisk attachment and the bowl of a stand mixer to whip together the heavy cream with powdered sugar and powdered, freeze dried strawberries until thick and fluffy.
- For the milk mixture, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk and strawberry purée.
- Poke holes in the cooled cake. I prefer to use something thicker like a metal chopstick. You can also use a toothpick.
- Evenly pour the milk mixture over the top of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour.
- Frost the cake with the prepared strawberry whipped cream.
- Garnish each slice of cake with a slice of fresh strawberry.
If you happen to have two stand mixers or if you have a stand mixer and a hand mixer, that will make it simpler to make this cake. Use one mixer for the egg whites and sugar. And the other mixer to make the cake batter with the egg yolks. There are a lot of steps to this cake, but I promise the end result is worth the effort!
You could make a boxed white cake mix as a short cut and proceed with the rest of the steps to the recipe. But I really like the texture of this vanilla sponge cake that is made from scratch.
Store the tres leches cake in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator, after it has been baked and frosted. Do not freeze this cake.
A tres leches cake is the perfect dessert for a Mexican-style meal. Here’s some of my favorite dinner recipes to serve this cake with…
- 9×13 metal cake pan for baking this cake
- Metal chopsticks for poking holes in the cake
- Metal strainer for straining the frozen strawberries
- Small offset spatula for frosting the cake
- Small spatula for serving the cake
More cake recipes
Strawberry Tres Leches Cake
- 1 Stand Mixer
- 1 Hand Mixer
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 oz freeze dried strawberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp strawberry purée
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tbsp strawberry purée
Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries
- Prepare the strawberries and set aside.Microwave the frozen strawberries until softened. Press through a metal strainer to remove the seeds.Grind the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until a powder is formed.Clean, remove the stems and slice the fresh strawberries for garnish.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar on high until glossy stiff peaks are formed, like a meringue. Set aside.Beat together the egg yolks and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture and vanilla to the egg yolks and beat until combined.Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the cake batter until just combined.Spread the cake batter into an ungreased 9x13 metal baking pan.Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Mix together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, two tablespoons of whole milk and two tablespoons of the strawberry purée until smooth. Set aside.
Whipped Cream Frosting
- Beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of the freeze dried strawberry powder until stiff peaks form. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake
- Use a chopstick or toothpick to poke holes in the cooled cake. Slowly pour the prepared milk mixture evenly over the top of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours.Frost the top of the milk-soaked cake with the prepared whipped cream frosting.Evenly sprinkle the remaining freeze-dried strawberry powder over the top of the frosting.Slice the cake into 12 pieces and top each piece with a fresh strawberry slice.
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