marbled tres leches cake recipe


Marbled Tres Leches Cake

Marbled Tres Leches Cake

Pastel de Tres Leches Marmoleado

Recipe Yield

12 to 15 servings

Cooking time

2 hours 45 minutes

Rate this recipe

3 from 8 votes


For the cake:

  • Unsalted butter to butter the pan
  • 9 large eggs separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

For the sauce:

  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 disk Mexican-style chocolate, such as Abuelita grated, for garnish, about 3 ounces

To Prepare

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

To make the cake:

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar, beating until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  • Pour the egg yolks into another large bowl and beat with a whisk or fork, until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the vanilla and continue beating until fully incorporated. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the whites. Fold in the flour 1/4 cup at a time and mix well. The batter will look a bit streaky.
  • In a small bowl, combine the hot water with the cocoa powder. Pour half the cake batter into another bowl and fold in the cocoa-water mixture with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed.
  • Spread the vanilla batter in the prepared pan. Pour the chocolate batter on top, in a straight line down the center. With a knife or spoon, make a whirling design from one side of the pan to the other. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top of the cake has lightly browned and feels spongy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Invert the cake onto a large platter or board and remove the pan and parchment paper. Cover the cake with an upside-down platter large enough to hold the cake and the vanilla sauce and invert again so the cake is right side up. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake, so it will absorb the sauce.

To make the sauce:

  • In a large bowl, combine the three milks and vanilla and stir to blend well. Pour about 2/3 of the sauce over the cake. Don’t worry if it looks like there is too much sauce—the cake will absorb it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Reserve the remaining vanilla sauce.
  • When you are ready to finish the cake, remove the cake from the refrigerator and spoon the remaining sauce on top of the cake.

To make the whipped cream:

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and the confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until it holds well formed peaks, about 6 minutes. Spread the whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with the grated Abuelita chocolate.

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28comments inMarbled Tres Leches Cake

  1. Pattie Leonardis

    Apr 10

    Hola Patti:
    I love tres leche cake but can’t wait to try this version.
    We love your show!
    Thank you,

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 06

      Thanks to you Pattie, un abrazo!

  2. Sara Krauthamer

    Mar 27

    Patti, can you give us the recipe for Chiles en bogada?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 29

      Of course Sara, here you go, enjoy!

  3. Rita

    Jan 18

    I made the marbled tres leches cake and I just loved it. I did not use all of the milk I guess it depends on how wet you want your cake. It was easier than I thought so I will be less intimidated to try one of your delicious Mexican dishes. I feel like if I met you in person you would be the same as on tv. Are you ever coming to Canada would love to meet you in person.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 22

      So happy you liked the cake and that your are planning to try more recipes, yay Rita! Hopefully I’ll be able to visit Canada soon 🙂

  4. Pam Smith-Hlady

    Aug 08

    i am very anxious to try this cake. your recipe for the sauce is simple. i tried making dulce de leche before and it was a horror story. marble cake was one of my mom’s favorites (we lived on a dairy farm so eggs and milk were available). will let you knowm how it turns out. just have to wait for an opportunity to serve it given cv 19 has diminished any large gatherings.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 15

      Thanks so much Pam, I hope you will enjoy the Tres Leches with family and friends when the time is right. Un abrazo!

  5. Edith Castorena

    Aug 26

    Loved this recipe-so did the folks at work. I made a few adjustments, though-used the stand mixer to beat the yolks to a pale lemon color. Followed directions to fold whipped white and yolks together gently and then did likewise with the flour-like you would making an angel food cake. Sprinkle a little flour over the top and gently fold it in bit by bit. I am thinking I might try using cake flour next time)Cook time you listed was spot on, I was using the cake on a buffet, so it needed to be portioned-this helped it to absorb more of the tres leches(I only used about half of the what the recipe called for). Everyone loved it and devoured it! Thank you for your unique take on Tres Leches Cake!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 27

      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, Edith!

  6. J. Perry

    May 03

    I made this for an Easter buffet I was hosting, luckily I had time to throw it away and get a Tres Leches cake from H.E.B. grocery store. After overnight refrigeration it was still floating in most of the sauce and the cake was dense as a brick. I think it needs some baking powder or something. I am a huge fan, have all your cookbooks, and watch your show on PBS faithfully but this was a flop and I’m not a novice baker and this was not my first Tres Leches cake! very disappointed

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear this, J. There will be leftover sauce on the bottom of the pan and it is a more dense cake…using egg whites and not baking powder is the traditional method.

  7. Kimberly Anne Hawkins

    Mar 31

    Hi Pati! I’ve been watching your show for years on NHPBS. I was SO excited to see that you were going to do a Tamal recipe! You made them on the same show as the Tres Leches Cake. I grew up in Massachusettes and moved to AZ and then had to move back here so you can imagine how much I missed Tamales! It is impossible to find good Mexican food in NH. I made the tamale casserole on Friday and I think I’ll eat the whole pan by myself!

    I also made your TL cake and I just had my first piece with the homemade whipped cream and grated chocolate…yum!
    But, while it is very delicious, mine does not seem to be absorbing the sauce, it’s just sort of floating in it lol. How much of the sauce is the cake supposed to absorb? I did poke holes in it, and it’s been in the fridge for 16 hours now.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 17

      Oh I’m so glad you loved the tamale casserole, Kimberly! The cake will have a lot of sauce of the bottom…which I love to eat up 😄.

  8. Lenora K Webb

    Oct 23

    This cake is heaven, thank you so much for sharing your talent with us. I am so happy I found you on (creat) I feel I have been missing so much. But I am glad I can binge watch episodes I have missed out on.

    1. Pati

      Oct 27

      I’m so happy you found me too, Lenora!

  9. Linda Sosa

    May 22

    Dear Pati, my sister and I love watching your show. We saw the episode in which you made this incredibly delicious looking cake. Now I normally deter from baking because I don’t have the patience for it, but THIS cake begs to be on my table!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Greetings from the OC

    1. Pati

      May 23

      It does! I hope you make it soon.

  10. melineh sarkissian

    Aug 27

    Dearest Pati, I’ve decided to bake this yummy marbled tres leches cake, my problem is I’m having hard time to understand what you mean by 1?4 cups of flour or 1?2 tbsp hot water or 1?3 cups cocoa powder. I would like to know what the exact measurements are in order to have the similar results.
    I admire your personality, your cooking and baking. Enjoy watching your episodes and try not to miss them.

    Thank you very much for your help.
    You are the best.

    1. Pati

      Aug 31

      Hole Melineh, Thanks so much! The recipe has been updated with the measurements corrected.

  11. Gretchen Fritz

    Aug 03

    Pati, your shows were on a marathon, twice, in one day, and I watched them all. Then Sunday…they were on another marathon, and I watched again, taking my notes. I love your recipes, and I love your story telling. I love Mexican food, and by following your way of making things, I know I can make it all. I am starting with your Marbled Tres Leches Cake. Thank you so much Pati, and keep giving us great food to make, in our own homes.

    1. Pati

      Aug 03

      Gracias, Gretchen!

  12. Jen Spurlin

    Aug 02

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I just discovered your show and I am hooked! I made this recipe for my husband’s 40th birthday along with my pozole recipe. Instead of mixing the cocoa powder with hot water, I mixed it with hot strong coffee. It turned out so well. It doesn’t taste like coffee but it enhanced the chocolate flavor. Thank again, it was delicious!

    1. Pati

      Aug 03

      OMG with coffee sounds divine! Thanks, Jen!

  13. lillian pierrorazio

    Jul 01

    on june 27th you made a very easy cookie recipe with only 2 or three ingredients. please I would like to make them for my great-grandchildren, love your program.

  14. manuel arriola

    May 17

    I see your show every Saturday I’m going to try your tres leches cake it looks delicious my wife Eva love tres leches cake I hope it come out as good as yours . Can u tell me the name of the song in your show and who sings it. Thank you Manuel Arriola

    1. Pati

      May 22

      Hola Manuel, Thank you for watching! The theme song is “Dame” by Domingo Siete. I hope you both enjoy the Tres Leches Cake.

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