Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is a twist on a classic! Rich chocolate cake soaked in cream and sweetened milk, topped with whipped cream.

This easy dessert is the chocolate version of Classic Tres Leche with our easy Whipped Cream topping. It’s the perfect Dessert Recipe for chocolate lovers!

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake slice on plate and bite on fork

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? It’s honestly hard to think of anything better than a traditional, simple Chocolate Cake. In fact, the only thing that could be even better is probably this delicious Chocolate Leches Cake. The sweet chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, and creamy topping all combine for a bite that’s absolutely unbeatable.

Tres Leches Cake is a traditional Latin American dessert. Originating in Mexico, the name Tres Leches means three milks. The delicious cake is named this way because it’s soaked in three different kinds of milk. Heavy cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk all come together to make this milky cake the most tender and moist you’ll ever taste.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake baked in pan pouring cream on top and batter in bowl collage

It’s traditionally served for birthdays, weddings, and any kind of gathering or celebration. Tres Leches is a great cake recipe to make ahead because you don’t have to worry about it drying out. You’ll be soaking it in milk anyways, so go ahead and make the cake part up to 4 days in advance and then the morning you want to serve it, drench it in the sweet cream mixture, letting it soak while you finish the rest of your party preparations.

This Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is topped with our homemade Easy Whipped Cream, but you can always swap it with store-bought or homemade Cool Whip too. Skip the cream topping all together and make it even more chocolatey with a layer of rich Chocolate Ganache or scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake batter in baking pan unbaked

Key Ingredients

To make the traditional milky cake a rich dark chocolate flavor, you just have to add some cocoa powder and coffee to the mixture. The cocoa powder makes the Tres Leches wonderfully chocolatey, while adding coffee brings out dark chocolate notes. Hot brewed coffee or a tablespoon of espresso enhances the flavors of the chocolate for a richer, deeper chocolate flavor. If you don’t want to brew coffee or you prefer a less dark chocolate flavor, you can always substitute the coffee with boiled water.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake baked and frosted

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Baking Tips

  • Prep: Start by preheating your oven and preparing your baking pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray or lightly grease it with butter and sprinkle flour over it. The flour creates a barrier between the butter and the cake batter.
  • Dry Ingredients: Add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to your stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer use an electric hand mixer. Use the lowest speed on the electric mixer to combine the flour mixture without making a mess.
  • Liquid ingredients: Whisk together the eggs, milk oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add them to the stand mixer while it’s still on the lowest speed. Slowly increase the speed until combined. Turn off the mixer, and pour in the brewed coffee. Mix the coffee in by hand. Doing this part by hand will make sure the coffee doesn’t splash out and burn you. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Tres Leches: Mix together the three kinds of milk while the cake is near the end of the baking time. When you take the cake out, pierce the top of it with a fork all over. This will create ways for the milk to soak in all over. Pour the milk mixture over the top, and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours. This will give the cake time to chill and for the milk to entirely soak in. Top it off with whipped cream and ground cinnamon right before serving.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake slice on plate with fork in top

Variations

  • Chocolate shavings: Add to the cinnamon topping by sprinkling chocolate shavings over the top. You can also just leave the cinnamon off and use all chocolate or use sweetened cocoa powder.
  • Mexican Chocolate: Try adding some spice to the chocolate mixture with cayenne pepper. Up to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper should be plenty to add a little spice to the Mexican chocolate. Add chili pepper and cinnamon with the cayenne for a classic Mexican or Aztec flavor combo.
  • Coffee: If you don’t want to use the brewed coffee in the recipe, you can add boiling water. To still get that coffee taste mix in 1 tablespoon instant espresso with the hot water.
  • Flour: If you want a gluten-free Tres Leches Cake, try using almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour to replace the all purpose flour.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake slice on plate with bite next to it

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How to Store

  • Serve: This Chocolate Tres Leches is best served chilled, after it has been soaked for at least 3 hours in the cream mixture. Store this cake after no more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Store: Cover the cake pan in plastic wrap to store it in the fridge. It’s best within the first 48 hours but can stay good for as long as 4 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze Chocolate Tres Leches for up to 3 months. It is best frozen without the whipped cream topping. Make sure it’s covered tightly so moisture doesn’t get in, a sheet of plastic wrap before covering with aluminum foil or pan lid is a great way to preserve your cakes in the freezer.

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake slice on plate with fork

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Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is a twist on a classic! Rich chocolate cake soaked in cream and sweetened milk, topped with whipped cream.
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee , you can substitute boiling water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 4 cups Whipped Cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray or butter and flour it.
  • In a stand mixer on low speed mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla then add it to the stand mixer on low then medium speed until just combined and finally add in the hot coffee carefully and stir it in by hand until just combined (do not turn on the mixer, it may splash on you).
  • Pour into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking whisk together the heavy cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk.
  • Remove from the oven, pierce all over with a fork and pour the milk mixture over the cake, then cover and chill for at least 3-4 hours.
  • Top with whipped cream and sift ground cinnamon on top before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 324mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 388IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Mexican Choclate Tres Leches Cake

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake slice on plate and preparation collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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