Chocolate Tres Leches Cake: the phenomenal recipe for a decadent Mexican dessert

Total time: 60 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist

Perfect for holidays, birthday parties, potlucks, or any time you have a group of chocolate lovers in the same room, chocolate tres leches cake is an amazing, rich dessert that's sure to please a crowd. Made with luxurious layers of moist chocolate cake, sweet milky chocolate filling, and topped with chocolate whipped cream, chocolate tres leches cake is great for feeding a large group.

This easy-to-make dessert is the chocolate version of the classic Mexican dessert tres leches (three milks) cake. The cake gets its name from the three types of milk it's made with: sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and evaporated milk. The cake also has buttermilk, which makes it ultra-soft and moist. Chocolate tres leches cake is perfect for special occasions, especially served with a cup of coffee or tea.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake Ingredients

Use room temperature ingredients to make your chocolate tres leches cake. Along with staple ingredients like flour, cocoa powder, and sugar, you'll need eggs, oil, and buttermilk to make the cake moist and soft.

When combined with the leavening agents baking powder and baking soda, the buttermilk will make your chocolate tres leches cake sublimely tender.

Vanilla extract and coffee help enhance the flavor of the chocolate.

For the filling, you'll need the eponymous three milks, half and half, evaporated milk, condensed milk, plus some cocoa powder to give the filling its chocolatey taste.

Finally, you'll need powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and heavy cream to make the homemade whipped cream.

How to Make Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Your first step to making this moist, incredible chocolatey dessert is to make the cake. Start by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla into the bowl and mix well. Once combined, put your mixer on low and add dry ingredients to the oil mixture. Beat the coffee into the batter, then transfer the cake batter to a greased baking dish.

Bake your cake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Take the baking dish out of the oven. Grab a chopstick and poke holes all over the cake. If you don't have any wooden chopstick on-hand, use the handle of a wooden spoon instead. After poking holes in the cake, whisk the condensed milk, half and half, evaporated milk, and cocoa powder. Pour the filling over the cake in an even layer. This should be done while the cake is still warm. Let the cake cool.

Once the cake is cool, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then set it aside. In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream for a minute or so, then beat in half the powdered sugar. Mix it well to fully combine it with the heavy cream. Add the rest of the powdered sugar mixture. Keep beating it until it forms still peak.

Spread the chocolate whipped cream over the cake, then garnish it with plenty of chocolate chips or chocolate shavings and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Your chocolate tres leches cake is now ready to be served! Wash it down with a hot cup of coffee or glass of milk, and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

You can make your chocolate tres leches cake gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free flour. Coconut flour and almond flour are two tasty options.

Make sure the heavy cream is cold before you get started – this will help the stiff peaks form more quickly.

If you don't have buttermilk, add a little white vinegar or lemon juice to whole milk and use that as a substitute.

Serve your chocolate tres leches cake slightly chilled.

How to Store Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Chocolate tres leches cake will last up to 5 days when stored in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Chocolate Tres Leches Cake?

Of course! You can wrap your chocolate tres leches cake and freeze it for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze the cake without the whipped cream. Let the cake thaw overnight in the fridge, then top it with whipped cream before serving.

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for the cake
All-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups
1 3/4 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup
Baking powder
1 tsp
Baking soda
2 tsp
1 tsp
1 cup
Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup
Large eggs
1 tsp
freshly brewed strong hot coffee
1 cup
for the filling
Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 14-ounce can
Half and half
3/4 cup
Evaporated milk
3/4 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp
for the whipped cream
Powdered sugar
1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup
cold heavy cream
3 cups


Start from the cake. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk to combine.

Beat buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl. Set the mixer to the lowest setting and gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture. Mix in the coffee, then slightly mix the batter with a spatula.

Transfer the batter to the baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Your cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and crumb-free. Remove the pan from the oven and poke holes all over the cake with a chopstick.

For the filling. In a medium bowl, beat condensed milk, half and half, evaporated milk, and cocoa powder to combine.

Pour the filling over the cake. Leave the cake to cool to room temperature.

For the whipped cream. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Pour the heavy cream into the cold bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add in half the powdered sugar mixture. Once fully incorporated, beat in remaining powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Top the cake with the whipped cream.

Garnish with chocolate syrup and chocolate chips.

Slice, serve and enjoy!


Use a 9×13-inch baking dish to make your cake.

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