Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. More cake recipes to bake.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Irish Cream Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Tres leches cake is traditionally a very moist cake with a filling that soaks into the cake as it chills. But this recipe adds a bit of extra flair with Irish cream to make a boozy sauce that’s even more delicious. Serve this up for St. Patrick’s Day or any holiday. Everyone will love it!

Why this recipe works.

If you have had a tres leches cake, you know why they are worth making. The cake is a soft sponge cake with a sweet milk mixture infused into the crumb. The idea of this cake is similar to midwestern “poke” cakes that poke holes all over a baked cake and pour a sweet mixture to soak into the cake. If you have not been lucky enough to enjoy a tres leches cake, this recipe may just solidify a new love for the cake. This recipe deviates from a traditional milk mixture and adds Irish cream and dulce de leche to the mix. The whiskey and cream combination adds an obvious whiskey flavor and a hint of caramel that the dulce de leche intensifies. While this new spin makes it a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day the recipe works year-round.

Piece of tres leches cake showing two different colors of cake with whipped topping sitting on white plate on wood surface with rest of cake in the background.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Butter is creamed with sugar to give the cake the correct sponge-like texture. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, so it creams correctly.
  • Cinnamon adds a hint of warm spice to compliment the rich Irish cream. A small amount brings out the flavors of the milk mixture and adds a nice elevation to the cake.
  • Irish cream is an Irish whiskey mixed with cream. The cream tempers the strong alcohol and adds a bit more sweetness. Use heavy cream mixed with maple syrup for a non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Dulce de leche is sweetened condensed milk that has been cooked into a rich caramel. The flavor is rich and marries perfectly with the Irish cream.
  • Greek yogurt is whipped with heavy cream for a slightly tangy contrast to all the sweetness. The yogurt also helps stabilize the whipped cream for a texture that will last longer.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make tres leches cake including eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, milk, cream, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Mix together the wet ingredients. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter and sugar and mix together for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl during the mixing to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time. Let the mixer mix in each egg before adding the next. Add in the vanilla extract, let it mix in, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. 
  1. Add in the dry ingredients and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk these ingredients together to ensure everything is evenly combined. With the stand mixer running, alternately add the dry ingredient mixture and the milk, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the milk. Once the final addition of milk is added, stop the mixer, and give the mixture one final mix by hand.
  1. Bake the cake. Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 baking pan and spread it out into an even later. Bake the batter in the preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 35 minutes until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Set aside to let the cake cool slightly.
  1. Prepare the tres leches filling. In a bowl, combine the milk, dulce de leche, and Irish cream liqueur. Using a whisk or an immersion blender, mix together all three ingredients until the dulce de leche dissolves. Using a skewer or a fork, poke holes all over the top of the baked cake. Then slowly pour the mixed tres leches sauce all over the top of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours to chill, and allow the sauce to soak into the cake.
  1. Prepare the whipped topping. When the cake has fully chilled, prepare the whipped topping by combining the heavy cream, Greek yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once whipped, spread the frosting on top of the cake, making sure it is in an even layer. Any decoration can be added at this point.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When creaming the butter and sugar together, make sure that the butter is at room temperature. This will ensure that the ingredients combine as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • For the best-textured cake, make sure to mix the butter and sugar for the full 3 to 5 minutes. While it may seem like a long time to mix, it truly will ensure that these two ingredients are well-combined, and the cake will turn out light and fluffy.
  • While it may seem like an extra step and a process that slows down the process of preparing the batter, alternately adding the dry ingredients and milk is necessary. This process ensures that the wet ingredients are mixed slowly with the dry ingredients in batches, allowing for the correct texture to develop.
  • If whisking together the tres leches ingredients is not resulting in a smooth liquid, use an immersion blender instead.
  • When pouring the tres leches sauce over the top of the cake, use a wooden spoon or spatula to divert the sauce from hitting the cake directly. This will result in less pressure on the surface of the cake and create a more even dispersion. It may take some time for the sauce to soak into the cake, which is normal.
Large baking dish filled with baked tres leches cake with one pieces removed showing the interior texture and colors of the cake with whipped topping spread all over the top.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can the tres leches filling be made without the alcohol?

Yes, evaporated milk or heavy cream can be used instead of the Irish cream.

Can I use sour cream instead of the Greek yogurt in the whipped topping?

Yes, sour cream will act in the same way as Greek yogurt.

How long does this cake last once prepared? 

The cake must be stored in the refrigerator and will last for five days.

Can this cake be mixed together using a hand mixer rather than a stand mixer?

Yes, the cake can be made by hand. But make sure to take your time and cream the sugar and butter with a whisk.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More cake recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

White plate with piece of tres leches cake topped with whipped cream topping with rest of cake in the background all on wooden surface.

Irish Cream Tres Leches Cake

5 from 4 votes
Tres leches cake is traditionally a very moist cake with a filling that soaks into the cake as it chills. But this recipe adds a bit of extra flair with Irish cream to make a boozy sauce that’s even more delicious. Serve this up for St. Patrick’s Day or any holiday. Everyone will love it!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 15 servings

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the milk mixture

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 14-oz can dulce de leche (can also use sweetened condensed milk)
  • ¾ cup Irish cream liqueur

For the frosting

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

For the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, letting them incorporate after each addition. Once the eggs are incorporated, mix in the vanilla extract.
    12 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar, 4 large eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Separately, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk, beginning with the dry and ending with the milk. Do not over-mix after the milk is added. A few lumps are ok. Finish mixing with a spatula to ensure the bottom of the bowl is evenly mixed.
    2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 3 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 cup whole milk
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated 350°F oven until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and cool.
  • While the cake is cooling, combine the whole milk, dulce de leche, and Irish cream. Whisk until smooth. The dulce de leche may be hard to mix in. If so, use a blender to make the milk mixture smooth. With the cake slightly warm, use a skewer or fork to poke holes all over the cake. Pour the milk mixture over the warm cake slowly, allowing the milk mixture to be absorbed. A small amount of milk may be visible on top of the cake. Cover the cake and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight.
    1 cup whole milk, ¾ cup Irish cream liqueur, 1 14-oz can dulce de leche (can also use sweetened condensed milk)
  • Once the cake has chilled, combine the heavy whipping cream, Greek yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip until the heavy cream is thick and holds stiff peaks, 2-3 minutes. Spread the whipped cream mixture over the cake and serve. The cake can be frosted and chilled overnight.
    2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp Greek yogurt, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 571kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake exactly as written. It’s a perfect mix of textures and flavors. My dinner party guests raved about it. I will definitely make it again. Thank you Caleb.
    Mary M.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this cake exactly as written. It’s a perfect mix of textures and flavors. My dinner party guests raved about it. I will definitely make it again. Thank you Kaleb.
    Mary M.