All the delicious flavor of a tres leches cake in mini form! The cups are made with white cake soaked in a sweet three milk mixture and topped with fresh whipped cream. These tres leches dessert cups are a fun and easy dessert recipe that will be an instant hit.
Tres Leches Desert Cups
A classic tres leches cake is a light sponge cake that is soaked in a combination of “three milks”, including sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk.
For this recipe, we are going to just keep things quick and easy and make a boxed white cake in lieu of a sponge cake. Then, we are going to soak the cake in the sweet milk mixture and top with fresh whipped cream for the perfect mini tres leches cup. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for a little extra flair and flavor.
Ingredients for Tres Leches Dessert Cups
- White cake – For this recipe, go with a boxed white cake mix. Follow the directions on the package and bake the cake in a 9×13 baking pan. You could also use a homemade white cake, vanilla cake or sponge cake, if preferred.
- Sweetened condensed milk – 14 ounce can.
- Evaporated milk – 12 ounce can.
- Milk – I recommend using whole milk, but you could also use 2% if preferred.
- Vanilla extract – A splash of vanilla extract adds great flavor to the whipped cream and milk mixture.
- Heavy cream – Cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
- Powdered sugar – To sweeten the whipped cream.
How to Make Tres Leches Dessert Cups
- Bake a boxed white cake according to the instructions in a 9×13 baking pan. Cool the cake to room temperature and cut the cake into small cubes. Divide the cake cubes into 32 2-ounce plastic cups about 2/3 full. Save the additional cake and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk and vanilla extract.
- Use a squeeze bottle or spoon to pour the milk mixture over the cake cubes in the cups until the cake is fully moistened. Gently press down and add additional cake cubes or crumbs if needed, so the cake fills the cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
- In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag with the whipped cream and pipe onto the cake cups. Use an offset spatula to spread the whipped cream into an even layer. If desired, add a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top.
- Seal the cups and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Store the dessert cups in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tres Leches Dessert Cups Recipe Tips
You can find the plastic cups with lids on Amazon or at your local party supply store. The recipe makes approximately 32 2-ounce cups. The recipe may make a bit more depending on how much cake and milk mixture you have.
If you prefer to stay away from a boxed cake mix, you can certainly make a cake from scratch. Check out my recipes for white cake and vanilla cake as great options. You could also use a sponge cake recipe.
The number of cups this recipe makes may vary. After adding the milk mixture to the cake cubes in the cups, the cake will soak up the milk and settle. Add the additional cake cubes to fill in the gaps and soak up any extra milk. If there is extra cake and milk, you can certainly make more!
Storing and serving
The dessert cups can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve chilled and don’t allow the cups to sit out at room temperature for longer than one hour. Serve the dessert cups out of a cooler for parties and picnics.
Tres Leches Dessert Cups
- Electric hand mixer
- 32 2 ounce plastic cups with lids
- 1 boxed white cake mix prepared according to the directions on the package
Three Milk Mixture
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Bake the white cake according to the directions on the package in a 9×13 baking pan. Cool the cake completely and then cut into small cubes. Portion the cake cubes into 32 2-ounce plastic cups, filling approximately ⅔ full. Set remaining cake cubes aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Use a squeeze bottle or a spoon to pour the milk mixture over the cake cubes to soak the cake. Add the additional cake cubes or crumbs to fill the cups ⅔ to ¾ full. Gently press the cake down to soak up the milk and create an even layer of cake.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag with the whipped cream and pipe it onto the dessert cups. Use an offset spatula to spread the whipped cream into an even layer. If desired, add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Seal the cups with a lid and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Store the dessert cups in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.