Easy Tropical Tres Leches

Hello friends! Sorry for the delay in posting, I recently got two of my wisdom teeth pulled (about 10 years too late amirite) and so I’ve felt a bit groggy from the pain meds. But I’ve bounced back! And now I have for you this super fun and colorful dessert idea: Tropical Tres Leches.

My neighbor turned me on to this cake a couple of years ago, and guys—I can’t stop eating it. I legitimately crave it. There are times when she’ll bring me home an entire cake minus one slice and I will still eat the entire thing by myself. I love it when it’s nice and cold straight out of the fridge. The milk pools to the bottom and thickens into this deliciously sweet syrup. My god. I’m going to Mexico in May. I should probably let them know I’m coming. 😛


The bad thing (or good thing, if you’re me) about tres leches is that I’m apparently the only one in my social circle who doesn’t think it’s too sweet or too wet. And since those people are the ones I serve my desserts to, I had to make some adjustments. For one, I kept the condensed milk but replaced evaporated milk and cream with almond milk and coconut milk instead. Not only did this lower the calories, it helped with the tropical taste. To make sure it wasn’t overly moist, I removed any excess milk that didn’t absorb into the cake. And to make it extra festive, I threw on lots of colorful summer fruits such as strawberries, mango, and kiwi. It was a hit, my friends. You will not be disappointed!


You will need to start out with a cake of some sort. In my case, I just so happened to have a coconut flavored box mix in my pantry that I needed to use up (which is how I came up with this idea in the first place). The coconut flavor certainly adds to the tropical taste, but use whatever cake recipe you love or happen to have on hand. The important thing it to make sure that you let it cool completely after baking. At least an hour. 

baked coconut cake

Now, using a toothpick or skewer of some sort, poke holes all over the surface of your cake. I tried to make one hole every 1/2-3/4 inch or so, then went over the whole thing again for good measure. This will help your milk mixture to absorb into the cake.

poke holes

Speaking of milk mixture, here it is: 1 can of coconut milk (lite or full fat), 1 can of condensed milk, and 1 1/2 cups of almond milk. It’s certainly helpful to mix it all together in some type of container with a spout.

make milk syrup

Now drizzle about half of the milk mixture onto the cake.

pour half of syrup

If your cake is a little domed like mine then you can use a spatula to guide the liquid where you want it to go.

allow to soak in

Once it looks like it’s mostly absorbed, go ahead and add the rest of the milk. Then just walk away. Yep, go switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, make a phone call, whatever. 

tres leches syrup

Five to ten minutes later you should have something that looks a bit like this. This wasn’t even intentional on my end. I legitimately thought the cake would soak it all up. But no. So, I just poured out the excess. This ended up being the best idea ever since I’d already guaranteed moistness with the first half of the milk. Pouring out the rest just ensured that I didn’t overdo it and turn off the anti-tres leche people. 

after 5 mins

At this point you can pop the cake into the fridge for a couple of hours so that it chills real nicely. Then cover the entire thing in whipped cream.

 spread cream

You can keep the decorations easy by just throwing on some bananas and strawberries, or you can make it a bit fancy with some fruit art like I did here!

decorate with fruit

Strawberries for the petals, bananas and blueberries for centers, kiwi for the leaves, and sliced mango for the tendrils. Only thing I forgot to add was coconut. Oops.

fruity pattern

I cut out a piece for photos, but the slice looked a bit wonky due to the curved corners of my dish.

tres leches overview

So naturally I just ate the entire piece and was too full to continue photographing. I told you! Is there a tres leches anonymous?! Sign me up.

all gone tres leches

Let me know if you try it out! And how much you have left. And where you are. And if you’ll give me any. 😛

Until next time <3 

Easy Tropical Tres Leches
Yields 1
Turn your cake mix into a deliciously tropical tres leches dessert.
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 1 baked cake of your choosing (I used Duncan Hines Coconut Supreme), cooled completely
  2. 1 can of condensed milk
  3. 1 can of coconut milk
  4. 1 1/2 cups of almond milk
  5. Whipped cream
  6. Fresh fruit
  1. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the surface of your cooled cake.
  2. Stir together all three milks and then pour half of the mixture onto the cake. Use a spoon or spatula to guide the milk into all of the holes.
  3. Once it is all absorbed, add the second half of milk mix.Wait 5-10 minutes for it to absorb, then drain the excess.
  4. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  5. Right before serving, decorate the top with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
recipe image
Recipe Name
Easy Tropical Tres Leches
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
Total Time

4 thoughts on “Easy Tropical Tres Leches

  1. Gorgeous fruit design on what sounds like a delicious cake! I’ve never had tres leches before but I suspect that will change soon 😉 So jealous that you are off to Mexico – I would luuurrvve to get my hands on authentic churros and empanadas…
    Sorry to hear about your wisdom teeth, that seems to be an unavoidable misadventure of getting old! I remember when I had mine out (about 10 years ago!) I caught a cold the day after surgery so that kind of took my mind off the pain in my mouth!!

    1. Thanks! I just couldn’t believe that they gave me TWENTY Tylenol pills with Codeine in them. I’m so afraid of medicine that I basically only took half a pill at a time. Like, do people really need that many? I have 18 left lol. I have one more wisdom tooth on my left side that may need to come out one day, but I’m cool with it living there rent free since it’s never bothered me. 🙂 I hope you DO try tres leches! It’s so good. I don’t care what people say–it’s amazing when it’s all drenched in that sweet milky goodness! It’s funny because when I was a kid I used to hate it if my ice cream got into my cake at a birthday party, yet look at me now.

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