Tres Leches Cake – Cheater’s Version

Tres Leches or 3-milk cake is one of those cakes that is terrible for you but in spite of knowing it, you cannot put the fork down.  It is hard to feel that you are not doing something really BAD as you eat it.  Some of my friends think I add some narcotic/alcohol to this cake which is why it feels so good.  We might as well call it “crack cake”.  Eat too large a piece and I promise you, you will feel hungover.

I enjoy making it primarily because I like hearing my little one call it “Lees Leeches” cake.  Ria, my little dessert-fiend LOVES it and behaves quite badly after eating it.  This cake is so moist it almost borders on being liquid and that is the beauty of it.  As result of this cake, I find almost every other cake I make (Honey Walnut Cake, for example) or eat a tad dry.

My friend Anu, who isn’t even a huge dessert person (there are other reasons to love her) is obsessed with this cake.  I came up with this cheater’s version recipe for her.  I was out of town and she desperately needed the recipe for a party.  Why would I go on vacation with my “Lees Leeches” cake recipe?  I recently made the “cheater’s version” for a Margarita Party (that’s a whole other story) and I do not think I am ever going to go through the trouble of making my own cake from scratch.  Let Betty Crocker do the heavy lifting.

Anu, this one is for you! 🙂

Tres Leches Cake – Cheater’s Version

makes one 9 X 13 cake

This cake has to be made a day or even more in advance.  Don’t even bother to make it if you plan to eat it right away.  You have to let the milk permeate the cake and that takes time.  Good things come to those who wait.


1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix (requires eggs, vegetable oil and water to make)

1 can (12 fl. oz) evaporated milk

1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk

1 cup heavy cream

Whipped cream – out of the aerosol can (fun!)


  1. Bake cake per directions on box
  2. Cool slightly and make holes all over cake with a wooden skewer, about 1 inch apart.  This makes for an ugly cake but that is what the whipped cream is for – to conceal the holes.  Frosting does the trick as well but we prefer whipped cream
  3. Mix all three milks in a bowl
  4. Cool completely and pour by the half-cup full, the milk mixture all over the cake.  Allow to sit 10 minutes or so.  Add next half cupful.  This takes a while but is necessary to achieve a moist cake.  Repeat till all the milk mixture is used up
  5. Refrigerate and eat the next day and beyond!

Condensed Milk Vanilla Ice-cream!

Condensed milk was a childhood favorite of mine.  I am so glad I (sort of) outgrew it.  I have fond memories of begging my mother for a spoon of cold condensed milk from the refrigerator as dessert.  She would make a can last forever and ration it out to me super slowly. (She was a good mother otherwise).  Somehow condensed milk is not as big in America as it is in Asian countries.  Strangely, my “American” kid is not so fond of it.  I tried to pass on my childhood addiction to her but it did not really work (go figure!).  However, this condensed milk ice-cream she did like….I may just be a little bit crazy to want her to like this super-sweet stuff :).

My ice-cream maker is getting a ton of use these days much to my visiting mother’s chagrin.  I think it is her fault for eating it all in one sitting and then blaming her grandchild for eating it.  Upcoming flavors I want to try are roasted banana, peach with cardamom and pineapple (mom doesn’t know).

I have been obsessing about making condensed milk vanilla ice-cream (inspired by this from NYTimes) for quite a while and finally pulled the trigger recently. I modified the recipe a little bit and thought I was headed for disaster but it worked out well.

If you like sweet, very sweet and if you like condensed milk, this is a must try.  It’s awesome, creamy-silky and incredibly sinful!  Serve it with salted roasted pecans for a nice counterpoint.

Condensed Milk Vanilla Ice-cream


1 cup cold heavy cream

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 (14-oz) can cold sweetened condensed milk

1. Combine all ingredients and transfer to ice-cream maker and churn for 35-40 minutes

2. Transfer into a container with lid. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight

Serve with roasted nuts…..and anything else you fancy.  Ice-cream sandwich anyone?

Taking good photos of ice-cream is impossible….this melting action took at most a minute.  I will make this again and be back with a better photo.  In the meantime, I need to finish some ice-cream!