The College Housewife » Recipes » Strawberry Tres Leches

Strawberry Tres Leches

This strawberry tres leches cake is mouthwateringly delicious! The light and airy sponge cake is soaked with a strawberry milk mixture to create the ultimate sweet and fruity dessert. Enjoy the moist cake topped with whipped strawberry cream and – you guessed it – more strawberries! This is the perfect make-ahead cake you can pull out of your fridge for spring and summer parties!

a slice of strawberry tres leches cake on a decorative pink plate with strawberries on top and scattered around the cake

Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Tres Leches Cake

This strawberry tres leches cake is the dessert of my dreams – especially for the summer! It’s fruity, moist, and darn cute to look at! Plus, you can bake it ahead of time and have it waiting in the fridge to be served. 

All you need to do is poke the light sponge with holes and then drench it with the strawberry milk mixture to soak into the cake. Then, slather on a fluffy strawberry-flavored whipped topping that balances out the density of the soaked cake perfectly! Top everything with some crunchy freeze-dried strawberries for a burst of flavor. 

In order to make the “leches” mixture of this recipe the perfect consistency, I substituted strawberry milk for some homemade strawberry syrup that I had on hand for cocktails. Instead of strawberry milk thinning out the mixture and making the cake soggy, the syrup allows us to flavor the milk and keep it creamy! 

Stay on theme and enjoy your cake with a strawberry cocktail! Try a strawberry gin mojito, a frozen strawberry margarita, or a strawberry mocktail

Strawberry Tres Leches Cake Ingredients

This cake recipe is pure luxury in your mouth! The ingredient list may look long at first glance, but when we break it down into separate components you’ll see that it’s really quite simple to pull together. 

milk, flour, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla

Cake Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt 
  • Eggs, separated
  • Granulated sugar, divided 
  • Vanilla paste or vanilla extract 
  • Milk 
condensed milk, evaporated milk, and strawberry simple syrup

Strawberry Milk Soak Mixture: 

heavy whipping cream, strawberry simple syrup, freeze-dried strawberries, powdered sugar, vanilla

Strawberry Whipped Topping: 

  • Heavy whipping cream 
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Freeze dried strawberries (see notes)

How To Make Strawberry Tres Leches

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with unsalted butter. Set the pan aside for later

Step 2: Start to Make the Cake

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside, and then separate egg whites and egg yolks into two separate bowls and set them aside too. 

pouring flour into a bowl and cracking eggs into a bowl

Step 3: Beat Egg Yolks and Sugar

In a bowl fitted with a stand (and paddle attachment) or hand mixer, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until the yolks are very pale and fluffy. Add in ⅓ cup of milk and stir everything together until it’s combined. 

Step 4: Add Egg Mixture to Flour Mixture

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and fold them together gently until just combined (do not over-mix).

beating batter

Step 5: Add Egg Whites

With a stand or hand mixer and a whisking attachment, add the egg whites to a mixing bowl and beat the mixture on high for 4-5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the whites to the cake batter and gently stir everything together once more, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

Step 6: Bake Cake

Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown. Remove the cake and let it cool completely. 

batter in a cake pan and strawberry flavored milk in a bowl with a whisk

Step 7: Make the Milk Soak

In a medium bowl, whisk together the strawberry syrup, evaporated milk, and condensed milk until everything is smooth and combined. Once the cake has cooled, poke holes in it with a fork. 

poking the cake sponge and pouring the milk soak on top

Step 8: Add Milk Soak

Pour the milk soak evenly all over the cake – inside the holes and around the edges. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour (or best overnight) to soak up all of the liquid. 

Step 9: Soak Strawberries and Prep Whipped Topping

In a bowl, combine the strawberries and ¼ cup strawberry simple syrup and let them macerate for 10-20 minutes to let the strawberries soak up the syrup. Blend the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until a powder forms. Alternatively, the freeze-dried strawberries can be crushed in a plastic ziplock bag until a powder forms. 

beating crumbled freeze dried strawberries into the batter

Step 10: Whisk Whipping Cream

In a large bowl fitted with a stand or hand whisking attachment, whisk the heavy whipping cream on medium speed until medium peaks form. Add in the freeze-dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together for another 2 minutes or so or until a fluffy whipped topping forms (be careful not to over-beat). 

adding strawberry icing to the cake and topping it with strawberries

Step 11: Add Toppings

Top the cake evenly with strawberry whipped topping and soaked strawberries. 

strawberry tres leches cake with light pink icing and fresh strawberries on the top

Tres Leches Cake Tips 

  • Add extra freeze-dried strawberries as a topping. It’ll add more strawberry flavor and a crunchy texture. 
  • You can top the cake with fresh strawberries as well!
  • If you don’t have time to make the cake from scratch, use a box cake and then make your own strawberry milk mixture and whipped topping. 
  • Make this recipe ahead! Pop the sponge and milk mixture into the fridge to soak and then make your whipped strawberry topping. Cover it and place it in the fridge to put together and serve for your party the next day. 

Variations

  • Make your cake with different fruits or berries. A blueberry tres leches cake sounds yummy to me! You can also make the cake as the recipe is written and add different fruits as toppings. 
  • Make your strawberry tres leches cake with golden Oreos! Crumble them up and sprinkle them on top for a crunchy topping. 
  • Make them into tres leches cupcakes!
  • Add a homemade jam or curd layer beneath the whipped topping. It’ll add more flavor and texture. 
  • Get creative with the appearance of your cake. This recipe would make a cute American flag cake for July 4th
  • Make the sponge a different flavor! Chocolate or lemon sounds delightful to me. 
strawberries on top of the cake with a slice cut out of it

FAQs

Is tres leches cake soggy?

No, I wouldn’t call it soggy. The milk mixture and airy sponge of the cake balance each other out and create a perfectly moist cake. 

Why is my tres leches cake not absorbing milk? 

If the milk isn’t absorbing into the cake, your sponge might be too dense. The key to a good tres leches cake is baking a light and airy sponge that will allow the milk to absorb evenly throughout. If it’s not light, you might have over-mixed the cake batter and created a denser cake than intended. 

How long does homemade tres leches cake last? 

Since strawberry tres leches is made with so much milk, you have to refrigerate the cake. You can easily cover it with plastic wrap or portion it into smaller airtight containers. Then, refrigerate your cake and it’ll be good for 3-5 days (although there’s no way it’ll last that long in the house – it’s too delicious!).

How could I make strawberry tres leches cupcakes? 

It’s so easy to make this recipe in cupcake form! Simply bake the batter in cupcake tins and poke small holes in them just like you would with the cake. Carefully pour the milk mixture over each cupcake and refrigerate them in an airtight container for at least an hour, but preferably overnight. Go ahead and add the strawberry whipped topping when you’re ready!

More Strawberry Dessert Recipes to Try

If you make this Strawberry Tres Leches cake, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
a slice of strawberry tres leches cake on a decorative pink plate with strawberries on top and scattered around the cake

Strawberry Tres Leches

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: 8-10 slices 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This strawberry tres leches cake is mouthwateringly delicious! The light and airy sponge cake is soaked with a strawberry milk mixture to create the ultimate sweet and fruity dessert. Enjoy the moist cake topped with whipped strawberry cream and – you guessed it – more strawberries! This is the perfect make-ahead cake you can pull out of your fridge for spring and summer parties!


Ingredients

Scale

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup milk

For the milk soak: 

For the strawberry whipped topping: 

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. For cake: In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Separate egg whites and egg yolks into two separate bowls and set aside. 
  3. In a bowl fitted with a stand (and paddle attachment) or hand mixer, beat together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla on high speed until the yolks are very pale and fluffy. Add in ⅓ cup of milk and stir together until combined. 
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and fold together gently until just combined (do not overmix). 
  5. With a stand or hand mixer and a whisking attachment, add the white and beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add whites to the cake batter and gently stir together once more, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown. Remove cake and let it cool completely. 
  7. For the milk soak: In a medium bowl whisk together, strawberry syrup, evaporated milk, and condensed milk until smooth and combined. Once the cake has cooled, poke holes with a fork over the entire surface. 
  8. Pour the milk soak evenly all over the cake inside the holes and around the edges. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour (or best overnight) to soak up all of the liquid. 
  9. For the strawberry whipped topping: In a bowl combine strawberries and ¼ cup strawberry simple syrup and let macerate for 10-20 minutes to let strawberries soak up syrup. Blend freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until a powder forms. Alternatively can be crushed in a plastic ziplock bag until a powder forms. 
  10. In a large bowl fitted with a stand or hand whisking attachment, whisk heavy whipping cream on medium speed until medium peaks form. Add in the freeze dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together for another 2 minutes or so or until a fluffy whipped topping forms (be careful not to over beat). 
  11. Top cake evenly with strawberry whipped topping and soaked strawberries.

Notes

Note: I put about 8 strawberries, halved in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the strawberry syrup as I start the recipe. I let this soak while the cake is soaking and then use it as the yummy topping!

Keywords: strawberry tres leches, strawberry tres leches cake, tres leches cake

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
a slice of strawberry tres leches cake on a decorative pink plate with strawberries on top and scattered around the cake

Strawberry Tres Leches

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: 89 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This strawberry tres leches cake is mouthwateringly delicious! The light and airy sponge cake is soaked with a strawberry milk mixture to create the ultimate sweet and fruity dessert. Enjoy the moist cake topped with whipped strawberry cream and – you guessed it – more strawberries! This is the perfect make-ahead cake you can pull out of your fridge for spring and summer parties!


Ingredients

Scale

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup milk

For the milk soak: 

  • ½ cup strawberry simple syrup
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

For the strawberry whipped topping: 

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. For cake: In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Separate egg whites and egg yolks into two separate bowls and set aside. 
  3. In a bowl fitted with a stand (and paddle attachment) or hand mixer, beat together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla on high speed until the yolks are very pale and fluffy. Add in ⅓ cup of milk and stir together until combined. 
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and fold together gently until just combined (do not overmix). 
  5. With a stand or hand mixer and a whisking attachment, add the white and beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add whites to the cake batter and gently stir together once more, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown. Remove cake and let it cool completely. 
  7. For the milk soak: In a medium bowl whisk together, strawberry syrup, evaporated milk, and condensed milk until smooth and combined. Once the cake has cooled, poke holes with a fork over the entire surface. 
  8. Pour the milk soak evenly all over the cake inside the holes and around the edges. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour (or best overnight) to soak up all of the liquid. 
  9. For the strawberry whipped topping: In a bowl combine strawberries and ¼ cup strawberry simple syrup and let macerate for 10-20 minutes to let strawberries soak up syrup. Blend freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until a powder forms. Alternatively can be crushed in a plastic ziplock bag until a powder forms. 
  10. In a large bowl fitted with a stand or hand whisking attachment, whisk heavy whipping cream on medium speed until medium peaks form. Add in the freeze-dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together for another 2 minutes or so or until a fluffy whipped topping forms (be careful not to overbeat). 
  11. Top cake evenly with strawberry whipped topping and soaked strawberries.

Notes

Note: I put about 8 strawberries, halved in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the strawberry syrup as I start the recipe. I let this soak while the cake is soaking and then use it as the yummy topping!

Keywords: strawberry tres leches, strawberry tres leches cake, tres leches cake with strawberries

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