Can Tres Leches Cakes Be Stacked?

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A tres leches cake is a beloved Latin American sponge cake, which is popular worldwide. The cake is soaked in three different types of milk, and this makes it beautifully moist, creamy, and light.

While this makes for a delicious sponge, it can make the cakes less stable, and this could be a problem if you were wanting to stack layers of tres leches cakes.

Can tres leches cakes be stacked?

Tres leches cakes can be stacked, you just need to be careful when stacking the cakes to ensure that they do not start falling apart and that the cakes have enough frosting between the layers to act as a ‘glue’.

If you are wanting to really wow your guests, or make yourself a special treat at home, read on to find out how to stack tres leches cake, and a few tips on how to do so successfully!

What Is A Tres Leches Cake?

A tres leches cake is a classic Mexican cake, which is also known as a milk cake or pan tres leches cake.

It is a sponge cake that is soaked in three different types of milk, whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk.

Once the sponge has been allowed to soak in the milk, the cake is traditionally topped with sweet whipped cream.

The cake obviously has a milky, creamy flavor, and is moist and wonderfully tender with lots of air pockets, giving it a light crumb.

Tres leches cakes are known for melting in your mouth, and they have a delicious flavor that is accentuated by the sweet whipped cream frosting.

Can You Stack Tres Leches Cakes?

Tres leches cake starts out as a sponge that is baked.

Once the sponge has been baked and cooled down, holes are poked into the surface of the cake, and the three different types of milk are poured over the cake, and it is allowed to soak the milk in.

This makes the sponge moist and super soft, and while this is absolutely delicious, it does mean that tres leches sponges can be difficult to stack.

Most cakes which are suited for stacking are firm and do not crumble easily, and this cannot be said for tres leches cakes.

However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to stack tres leches cakes, you just have to be careful when doing so, to ensure that the cakes do not crumble and fall to pieces, and to ensure that they stay in place.

You can bake the tres leches cakes yourself before stacking them, but sometimes it is best to purchase tres leches cakes if you can, as these are usually a little firmer than home-baked cakes, and tend to stack better.

So the answer is yes, you can stack tres leches cakes, you just need to be careful when doing so, to keep the different layers intact.

How Do You Stack Tres Leches Cakes?

Stacking tres leches cakes is quite a simple process, you just have to be gentle when stacking the cakes. 

To start, you would obviously need the tres leches sponges.

Whether you bake them at home or purchase them from the store is completely up to you, but if you are baking the cakes at home, you will need to allow them to cool completely and absorb the milk properly before stacking.

To help with the stacking, you will need a few things:

  • Tres leches sponges
  • Sweet whipped cream
  • A cake spatula for spreading
  • A stable base or cake stand

Make sure you have everything you need before starting to stack the cakes, as you don’t want to be stuck halfway through and find you don’t have the items you need!

Here is how to stack tres leches cakes:

  1. Place your cake board or cake stand in front of you, and place a small amount of whipped cream in the middle of the board, where you will be placing the first tres leches cake sponge, just to help keep it in place.
  2. Place the first tres leches sponge upside down onto the cake board.
  3. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream onto the top of the first sponge cake, reaching all the way to the end.
  4. Place the second tres leches sponge onto the top of the first layer.
  5. If you are placing another layer of tres leches sponge, repeat step 3. If you are only making a two-layer cake, then you can frost the rest of the cake with a whipped cream topping.
  6. Once the cake is frosted, you can decorate it with your choice of toppings, such as fresh fruit or chocolate shavings.

Make sure that you spread enough whipped cream between layers to hold the sponges in place, but not too much whipped cream that allows for the cake sponges to slide and move around.

Will Stacked Tres Leches Cakes Leak Milk?

You might be worried that your stacked tres leches cakes could begin to leak milk after being allowed to soak the liquid in, but this is something that could happen to single-layer tres leches cakes too.

Tres leches sponges might end up leaking the milk mixture if it was not left to soak the milk mixture in properly, or if there was too much milk mixture added to the sponge.

The sponge will not be able to hold the liquid in, and will therefore leak some of the liquid.

Another reason that a tres leches cake might leak the milk mixture is if the sponge was still warm when the milk mixture was added to it. The sponge needs to be completely cool before the milk mixture is added to it.

You should also allow the sponge to soak in a high-walled pan, so it can contain all of the milk, allowing it to properly soak into the sponge before the sponge is removed from the baking pan and topped with some sweet whipped cream.

So your stacked, or single layer, tres leches cake should not leak if you have made the cake properly, and allowed the milk mixture to soak in fully.

What Toppings Are Good For Tres Leches Cakes?

Tres leches cakes are beautifully soft and wonderfully milky, and this allows the cakes to pair well with a variety of different flavors.

A traditional topping for tres leches cake is a simple dusting of cinnamon over the sweet whipped cream frosting, but if you wanted to add more flavor and texture, you could add some fresh fruit to the top of the cake, such as fresh berries.

Another great topping for tres leches cake is shaved chocolate, either milk or dark chocolate, and you could even make a combined topping of fresh fruit and chocolate shavings to be extra decadent!

Can You Make Tres Leches Cake In Advance?

Tres leches cakes can be made in advance, and making the sponge cakes in advance can help if you are wanting to spend some extra time stacking them.

However, you should not make tres leches cakes more than one or two days in advance, as they will begin to lose their quality after this.

The cake will still taste great within two days, and this actually gives the cake a good amount of time to soak up the tres leches mixture properly.

It also allows some time for the cake to firm up slightly, so that it is easy to layer and ice, so leaving it for one or two days before stacking is a good idea!

Does Tres Leches Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?

As it is soaked in a milk mixture, it is best to store tres leches cakes in the fridge. It might be tricky to find space in the fridge for a layered tres leches cake, but it should not be left out at room temperature for too long.

The cake should be placed in the fridge once it has been soaked and iced, and it should be covered properly to ensure it retains its moisture.


If you are a fan of tres leches cakes, and one layer is never enough, then you would be happy to find out that tres leches cakes can be stacked!

With some gentle hands, and whipped cream between the cake layers to act as glue, tres leches cakes can be layered onto each other, ideally having no more than two to three layers, and you can create a really delicious treat for your family or guests to enjoy!

Related Questions

Should you freeze tres leches cakes before stacking them?

If you are stacking three or more layers of tres leches cakes, then it is best to freeze them partially before stacking, to make them firmer and easier to work with.

Are tres leches cakes supposed to be soggy?

Tres leches cakes should be moist, but they should not be soggy. The cake should not be so wet that it disintegrates.

It should have a light texture, and there should be good moisture, but it should not fall to pieces.

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