Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

A chocolate tres leches cake gets a kick with a dash of cayenne in this delectable dessert!  Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is the perfect dessert for Cinco de Mayo or any fiesta!

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Hellooooo from Austin, Texas!  We haven't even been here 24 hours and we've already eaten a boat load of tacos, hit up a couple of happy hours, and had some pizza from a neighborhood hot spot.  I'd say we're well on our way to sufficiently enjoying the culinary gems that Austin has to offer.

Is it bad that even though I'm sufficiently full from all of our eating adventures so far that I could reallllllly go for a slice of this Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake?  That darn sweet tooth gets me every time!

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

I made this Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake for the Cinco de Mayo dinner party we had. Holy man, was it good.  If you're not familiar with tres leches cake, it is typically a white cake soaked with three kinds of milk.  Whole milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk.  And as if that isn't enough, it is topped with a whipped cream frosting.

I have my two stand-by tres leches cake recipes with this traditional one and my Rum Chata version.  Of course I can never leave well enough alone and wanted to make a chocolate version.  I mean, chocolate's kinda my thing, y'know?

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

This Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is rich in chocolate from the chocolate cake and chocolate milk in the milk mixture that is poured over the cake.  Yeah, seriously.

p.s. don't you want to just dive head first into that cake pan?!?!

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

The cake also stays true to the Mexican chocolate theme. It has a distinct hint of cinnamon along with a pinch of cayenne pepper.  The pepper is for that heat that hits you at the end of your bite.  I added the cayenne to both the cake and the frosting.

If you want to tone down the heat, you can leave it out of the frosting.  But really, the hint of spice really makes this cake so much fun!  It kept me coming back for bite after bite...

This cake is definitely best made a little in advance. You want the cake to have time to soak up all of the delicious milk mixture.  I think making the cake the night before and then soaking it with the milk mixture in the morning is the best timeline.  It's also 100% best cold, so you'll need to keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

You guyssss I seriously can't wait to make this cake again!

p.s. be sure to check out my new cookbook, 30 Minute Cooking For Two on Amazon!

Cooking For Two

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

A chocolate tres leches cake gets a kick with a dash of cayenne in this delectable dessert!  Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is the perfect dessert for Cinco de Mayo or any fiesta!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 580kcal


For the cake:

  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on how "spicy" you want the cake - I used ½ teaspoon
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped

For the milk mixture:

  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chocolate milk

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease 9x13" baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
  • Combine hot coffee and butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter is melted. If the butter doesn't melt all the way, microwave for 30 seconds.
  • In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and sugar, stirring until well combined.
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring until well combined.
  • Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until about halfway combined, then add coffee mixture, stirring until well combined.
  • Stir in chopped chocolate.
  • Pour batter into the pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with some loose crumbs on it.
  • Let the cake cool completely.
  • Once cake is cooled, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and chocolate milk and stir well to combine.
  • Poke lots of holes in the cake with a toothpick or a fork - the more the better, so it soaks up all the milks!
  • Pour the milk mixture over the cake.
  • Refrigerate at least an hour.
  • Make whipped topping by combining heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and whipping until stiff peaks form. I use my electric mixer for this but if you want a good arm workout - use a whisk and your arm!
  • Spread whipped topping over chilled cake.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon, and a sprinkle of more cayenne, if desired!
  • Slice and enjoy!


Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 559mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 985IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 238mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Ooooo chocolate tres leches cake??? I've never had a chocolate one!! This sounds so good!

    And Austin sounds so fun! I've always wanted to visit there!!

  2. I have never seen a chocolate tres leches cake! I LOVE IT-so moist and yum yum yummmmers!

  3. Pretty sure this is not very healthy. My son made this for a friends birthday so we shall see how yummy it is tonight.

    1. Debbie,
      You're right - this is definitely more on the "sinful indulgence" side of greens & chocolate recipes 🙂 Hope you loved it!

      1. We added 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar to the whipping cream and next time we are melting the chocolate instead of adding it chopped. Definitely a keeper recipe though. It was a big hit with my son's friend who is from Mexico.

  4. The cake is currently in the oven. Chopping that chocolate was a mess (more reason to get a processor!). But I left out the cayenne bc I just don't care for it as a spice. I didn't have enough cocoa, so I put 2/3 in the cake batter and used powdered sugar for the remaining 1/3 - not sure if this is why the cake looks ginormous in the oven right now. But I'm really very excited about this cake! It smells delicious! And I love Mexican chocolate. I hope you enjoyed Austin and ate all the good food. I love this city - perfect place for foodies!

  5. So I dont know what happened because my cake went over the sides of the pan 30 minutes into it. I'm pretty sure i followed everything, it smelled great just rose over the sides. My batter was somewhat liquidy but that didnt bother me cause ive made cakes just as liquidy. Any suggestions? I live near Santa Fe so I dont think its elevation.

    1. Reggie,
      What a bummer! I'm perplexed because I've had a lot of consistent luck with this recipe. The batter is definitely supposed to be quite runny, as many cake batters are, so that shouldn't have been the problem. The only things I can think of are that your pan was too small (although I'm assuming you used the 9x13") or that you maybe used 3 tablespoons of baking powder instead of 3 teaspoons? Sorry I am not a huge help with this, as it's really hard to pinpoint what went wrong!

  6. I made this cake for a party and it was absolutely amazing! Moist and decadent, the cayenne paired perfectly with the chocolate. My friends loved it and requested it again for a dinner party this weekend. Thank you for sharing this recipe it's a keeper!

    1. SO glad you and your friends loved it! It's one of our favorites and I am planning to make it again for Cinco de Mayo! Thanks for your comment 🙂

    1. Hi Sierra,
      I think you probably could! I'm not 100% sure what the baking time would be - I would start checking your cakes around 23-25 minutes, and then check every couple of minutes until done. They will be baked through when the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I figured out the problem - the links were going to my old mail service still. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention and it should be fixed now!


  7. Not a coffee fan. How strong is the coffee taste in this recipe? Is there something you can replace that with, like hot cocoa?

    1. It's not strong at all - it just amplifies the chocolate taste. Hot cocoa can definitely be used in place of it, though!

  8. My oldest two daughters and I love chocolate tres leches cake! We are going to try this recipe for my oldest daughter’s birthday!

  9. 5 stars
    Who doesn’t like chocolate? I have a Mexican chocolate cake recipe that I have replaced with this recipe. I have made this several times. It is the best Tres Leche cake I’ve had! It is mouth watering delicious.