We Used Boxed Cake Mix As a Base for This Refreshing and Incredibly Moist Tres Leches

April 18, 2019

We are not ones to shun pre-mixes. They make life easier, faster, and sometimes even more delicious. A tres leches cake can be time-consuming to build from scratch, but we decided to cheat the system by using a boxed cake mix for its base, so you can have your cake in an hour.

We adapted our use of the cake mix, but you can actually just follow the recipe on the box if you prefer, and skip to the soaking part. Be patient with letting the milk really sink in, and don’t forget to poke a lot of holes so that the cake absorbs the milk faster and better. You can also lift the sides of the cake to hasten this process. What you’ll end up with is a cake that is so refreshing when just pulled out of the fridge, perfect for these hot summer afternoons.

Tres Leches Cake

  • Serves: 8 people
  • Active time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Medium


Cake Base

  • 1 box vanilla or white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 eggs

Tres Leches

  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk


  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • Shaved toasted coconut, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare a 9×9 inch cake pan or oven safe dish by coating the sides and bottom in oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, oil, water, and eggs until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  5. While cake is baking, whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, and coconut milk until combined.
  6. Place in a large pitcher and set aside.
  7. When the cake comes out of the oven, poke multiple times with a fork or barbecue stick.
  8. Pour the milk mixture over the warm cake, a little bit at a time, until the cake fully absorbs the liquid.
  9. Repeat until all liquid is used then let the cake cool completely.
  10. Place the cake in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  11. Before serving, top with whipped cream.

Top with shaved toasted coconut, if using.

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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