Tres Leches Bundt Cake
A light sponge cake soaked in three types of milk, Tres Leches Bundt Cake combines the classic tres leches flavor with the beautiful look of a bundt cake. Top with fresh berries for a perfect summer treat, worthy of any celebration.
If you asked me what kind of cake is my favorite, the answer will hands down be bundt cakes. I love that they’re somehow fancy yet simple — so much easier to assemble than a layer cake, but just as celebratory and event-worthy.
(Love bundt cakes? Check out the 30+ bundt cake recipes I have on my site!)
If you asked me to choose a favorite flavor of cake, it might be a toss-up between some a lemon cake and tres leches. I love the sweet vanilla flavor and custardy-like texture of tres leches cake.
While we usually find tres leches as a sheet cake (traditional tres leches cake recipe), I decided to try to combine my two big cake loves and make a tres leches bundt cake.
The end result? Absolutely delicious – no more work than a sheet cake, but the bundt cake shape makes it seem even fancier.
While tres leches cakes are popular around Cinco de Mayo, this is a perfect cake to enjoy all summer long. Top with fresh berries and whipped cream, and I will gladly take a slice any day!
Sponge Bundt Cake
Tres leches cake is made from a sponge cake with three kinds of milk (…tres leches…) poured over the top. The texture of the sponge cake allows the milk to soak into the cake, resulting in a wonderfully creamy texture.
We’ll use the same method as a traditional sheet pan sponge cake to keep things light and fluffy: whipping the egg whites before mixing them into the cake batter. How does this help? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Whipping egg whites forces air into the egg whites, which causes the protein to stretch and form air bubbles around the water molecules. Over whipping egg whites, however, breaks these bubbles and causes the water molecules to separate from the protein resulting in whipped foam and a puddle of liquid.
Whipping Egg Whites
The key to the sponge texture for this tres leches bundt cake is properly whipping eggs. Let’s go over a few key tips to help with this process:
- Fresh egg whites are more stable when whipped compared to old egg whites
- Separate the whites completely from the yolks – any trace amounts of fat will cause the egg whites to collapse
- Ensure the beaters and bowl you use are free from any grease or oil residue
- If you have difficulty whipping egg whites, add a pinch of cream of tartar
- Beat the eggs to the appropriate level as directed by the recipe: soft peaks, firm peaks, or stiff peaks
For this recipe, we’re looking for stiff peaks – if you turn the whisk upside-down, the peaks will still hold. It’s better to err closer to firm peaks if you’re not sure. The egg whites should still look shiny and moist, not dry.
Tres Leches Mixture
After the bundt cake bakes and cools, place the cake on a rimmed plate and poke holes all over with a chopstick or long skewer.
The tres leches mixture includes evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream, mixed together. I also like to include a little cinnamon, but if you’re not a cinnamon fan, leave it out.
Slowly pour the mixture all over the cake and let it rest for 30 minutes to absorb the liquid. Lots of this liquid will initially pool under the cake, but by the end of the 30-minute rest period most will be absorbed into the cake.
Because the answer to “does this cake need whipped cream?” is always a resounding yes, I piped whipped cream stripes along the bundt cake. If you’re using a classic bundt cake shape, whip the cream until a little stiffer and spread the whipped cream on top of the bundt cake with a knife.
You might have some of the milk mixture left over after soaking your cake. Save this and pour a little extra onto each slice as you serve it.
Recommended Tools to Make Tres Leches Bundt Cake
- Bundt Pan: This recipe is written for a 10-cup bundt pan. The particular shape used in these photos is the Heritage bundt pan.
- Stand Mixer: The egg whites can be whipped using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, and the rest of the batter can also be mixed with the stand mixer.
- Immersion Blender: If you prefer to make the rest of the cake by hand, an immersion blender with a whisk attachment is the best way to whip egg whites quickly without using a stand mixer.
- Mixing Bowls: My favorite set of mixing bowls, which are both microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
- Grilling Skewers: A long skewer is the perfect way to poke holes through the entire cake to help the cake absorb more of the milk mixture.
Frequently Asked Questions about Tres Leches Bundt Cake
A boxed mix can be used, but be sure to whip the egg whites separately and fold them in to get the best light and fluffy texture.
The answer to all of these questions — and more — can be found in my post about how to bake the perfect bundt cake!
I bake this cake in a 10-cup bundt pan, which is the size of most of the “fancy” bundt pans on the market. This particular pan is the Nordic Ware Heritage bundt cake pan (affiliate link). Classic shaped bundt pans can be 12 cups; while this size will work, the cake will be on the shorter side.
The bundt cake can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored at room temperature. Once the tres leches mixture is added, the cake is best consumed the same day, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Use this recipe for a traditional sheet cake tres leches cake.
More Bundt Cake Recipes
- Funfetti Bundt Cake
- Maple Walnut Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bundt Cake
- Carrot Cake Bundt Cake
- Nutella Bundt Cake
- All Bundt Cake Recipes »
For the Bundt Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (75.6 grams) whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Milk Mixture:
- 12 (340 grams) ounces evaporated milk
- 14 ounces (397 grams) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup (113.5 grams) heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups (340.5 grams) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (28.4 grams) confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- fresh berries
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a 10-cup capacity metal bundt pan.
- Make the cake. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl using an electric mixer or an immersion blender. Start on medium speed, beating until soft peaks form. Turn the speed up to high and continue to whip until egg whites are stiff but not yet dry. Spoon the egg whites into a separate bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar to the mixing bowl and whisk (by hand or using the stand mixer or immersion blender) until the yolks are pale yellow and doubled in size, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Add in the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. The batter will be very thick.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks of white remain. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
- Bake the cake. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a moist crumb and the surface of the cake feels springy when touched. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely.
- Make the tres leches mixture. Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (with an optional pinch of cinnamon) in a large measuring cup or bowl. Prick the surface of the cooled cake many times with a chopstick or a long skewer. Slowly drizzle half the milk mixture over the cake. Allow this mixture to soak in for 10 minutes, then drizzle approximately half the remaining milk mixture over the top of the cake, until no more liquid is. absorbed. Let the cake sit for 20 minutes.
- Decorate the cake. Beat together the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract until medium-stiff peaks form. Using a piping tip or a zip-top plastic bag with the corner snipped off, pipe the whipped cream along the top and sides of the bundt cake. Decorate with fresh fruit.
- Use an electric mixer or immersion blender with a whisk (recommended) to whip the egg whites and heavy cream.
- Fresher egg whites whip better than old egg whites.
- The bundt cake can be baked up to 3 days in advance, but the milk mixture should be poured on the same day as consuming.
Leftover cake should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the cake will be best on the first day. Freezing this cake is not recommended.
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol