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Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

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This simple recipe for chocolate tres leches cake will send any chocolate lover running back for seconds. A rich chocolate cake is soaked in a subtly sweet mixture of 3 kinds of milk, topped with cocoa powder infused Cool Whip, and garnished with dark chocolate shavings. Is your mouth watering yet?

Sliced chocolate tres leches cake on plates with a fork next to a baking dish full of chocolate tres leches cake.

Chocolate anyone? I’m talking chocolate 3 times over. Chocolate cake, chocolate-infused Cool Whip, dark chocolate shavings…wow! This delectable take on the classic Latin American tres leches cake is just waiting to pull chocolate lovers into a delicious culinary dream.

Imagine sinking your teath into a multi textural cloud of chocolate. A spongey devil’s food chocolate cake serves as the base for this dessert. It is soaked in a mixture of 3 different kinds of milk (hence the name, tres leches); whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. The whole kit-and-kaboodle is then topped with fluffy Cool Whip that has been infused with cocoa powder and sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings. The end result is a nearly soupy, yet utterly divine chocolate masterpiece that is nearly impossible to resist.

Sliced chocolate tres leches cake on plates with a fork.

What Is Tres Leches Cake?

Chocolate tres leches cake is a spin on a classic Latin American dessert (tres leches cake) comprised of spongey yellow cake doused in a mixture of 3 different kinds of milk (sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk) and topped with a fluffy whipped topping and a dusting of cinnamon. If you want to give it a try, here is my classic tres leches cake recipe.

This chocolate version is similar, except it substitutes chocolate cake for the yellow cake, adds dark cocoa powder to the whipped topping, and uses chocolate shavings instead of cinnamon as a garnish.

Ingredients for chocolate tres leches cake seperated into bowls.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe doesn’t require much. You might even have some of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Here is a basic list of what is needed. Make sure to scroll to the recipe below for details on measurements, etc.

  • Dark chocolate (devils food) cake mix – Betty Crocker has a good product that you can find in stores or on amazon. Make sure to also pick up all of the ingredients needed to make it (you can find these on the box).
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Whole milk
  • Cool Whip
  • Dark cocoa powder
  • Dark Chocolate

How to Make Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

In just a few simple steps, you will have a rich, flavorful cake that will have you coming back for seconds. Here is a rundown on how to make chocolate tres leches cake. Scroll to the recipe at the bottom of this post for more detailed instructions.

  • Bake the cake. Just follow the directions on the cake box! You will want to use a 9X13-inch pan.
  • Poke some holes. After the cake has baked and cooled, use a fork to poke holes all over the cake.
  • Add the tres leches (3 milks). Combine the milks and pour the mixture gradually over the whole cake, allowing it to soak in slowly.
  • Chill. Cover the cake with saran wrap and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  • Top it off. Mix the cocoa powder and the Cool Whip, spread it over the chilled cake, and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Tips for Success

Ready to take your chocolate tres leches cake from good to great? Follow these crucial tips and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Pour milk slowly. You don’t want to flood the cake all at once, so pour the milk mixture slowly, allowing it to seep into every nook and cranny of the dessert.
  • Thoughts on poking holes. The holes you poke allow the milk mixture to absorb into the cake, so make sure to distribute them generously and evenly throughout the cake. Do not poke all the way to the bottom as this will cause the milk mixture to drain right to the bottom instead of absorbing evenly throughout.
  • Chill. The milk mixture needs time to fully absorb into the cake and impart flavor and moisture. So, resist the temptation to dig. Instead, allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator before topping.
  • Careful with the Cool Whip. First, make sure to thaw the Cool Whip for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator before spreading. Second, when mixing with the cocoa powder, use a rubber spatula and fold gently so as not to knock all of the fluff out of the Cool Whip.

Serving Suggestions

Honestly, this cake goes well after almost any meal. I, however, tend to place chocolate desserts as most fitting on chilly winter evenings after a hearty meal such as this Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Wild Rice Stew. The original version of this cake comes from Latin America, so if you want to go in that direction, I suggest serving it after enjoying these Homemade Chicken Enchiladas or my Sheet Pan Beef and Cheese Quesadillas. You can even serve chocolate tres leches cake alongside a steaming cup of Mexican hot chocolate or a cool glass of horchata.

Sliced chocolate tres leches cake on plates with a fork next to a baking dish full of chocolate tres leches cake.

How to Store Leftovers

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you are more than welcome to store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just wrap the cake pan thoroughly in saran wrap first.

Fully prepared chocolate tres leches cake next to a bowl of chocolate shavings.

Can I Freeze Tres Leches Cake?

You can absolutely freeze chocolate tres leches cake. Just wrap the cake pan in saran wrap and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When it comes time to indulge, remove the appropriate portions from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw for several hours.

More Easy Cake Recipes

I’m a big dessert fan. This chocolate tres leches cake is so delicious, but why stop there? Check out some of these other easy cake recipes.

Sliced chocolate tres leches cake on plates with a fork next to a baking dish full of chocolate tres leches cake.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

A rich chocolate cake is soaked in a subtly sweet mixture of 3 kinds of milk, topped with cocoa powder infused Cool Whip, and garnished with dark chocolate shavings.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • 15 ounces (425 g) dark chocolate (devils food) cake mix
  • 14 ounces (397 g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces (340 ml) evaporated milk
  • ½ cup (118 ml) whole milk
  • 8 ounces (227 g) Cool Whip
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces (113 g) dark chocolate, shaved

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


  • Bake cake according to instructions on box in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Let cake cool completely then use a fork and poke multiple times throughout the cake.
  • Mix together the milks then pour over top of the cake slowly, letting it absorb slightly before pouring more. It will seem like it’s too much but the cake will definitely soak it all up!
  • Cover and transfer to the fridge for 3 hours.
  • Once chilled, mix Cool Whip with the cocoa powder then spread on top of cooled cake then garnish with chocolate shavings.


Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 389 kcal | Carbohydrates: 57 g | Protein: 8 g | Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 0.003 g | Cholesterol: 24 mg | Sodium: 384 mg | Potassium: 441 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 40 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Latin America
Keyword: chocolate 3 leches cake, easy cake recipes, tres leches cake

Photography by Eat Love Eats

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