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The sweetest Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake…for your weekend baking. Tres Leches, which means “three milks” is a sweet, dense, pudding-like cake, popular throughout Latin America. Instead of the traditional three milks (heavy cream, evaporated, and sweetened condensed milk), we’re putting our own little spin on this cake. We’re using cinnamon, rice milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk for a Horchata-style tres leches cake that’s delicious. Frost this cake with coffee swirled whipped cream for a true “dirty” horchata twist. Everyone loves this fun cake that’s perfect for upcoming Cinco de Mayo.

overhead photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Happy Friday everyone! I have the sweetest cake to share today. It’s very different, yet so very fun, and so so delicious!

Do you all remember the (extra) dirty Horchata I shared a few weeks ago? Well, I loved that fun cocktail so much that it actually inspired this recipe. Basically this is the cake version of the fun cocktail…and it’s a toss-up as to which recipe I love more. Both are so good and so fun to make. With Cinco de Mayo coming up on Tuesday, I knew this was the perfect cake to share.

Because really, aren’t we all planning our Cinco de Mayo fiesta this weekend? With everything happening in the world these days, a fun Cinco de Mayo celebration at home is exactly what I need to look forward to this week.

We already talked tacos this week, so today, it’s dessert. And tomorrow…can you guess? It’s going to be good!

prep photo of pouring the milk over the Cake

The Background.

For anyone unfamiliar with Tres Leches cake, it’s a sweet and dense, pudding-like cake, that’s popular throughout Latin America. The cake is soaked in a syrup-like mix of three milks…traditionally, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Just before serving, the cake is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Horchata is a sweet nut or rice milk-based drink that is flavored with cinnamon and spices. A dirty horchata is that very same drink, but it’s made with iced coffee poured over top. See my (extra) dirty horchata as an example.

prep photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake soaking in milk

So exactly what have I done here with this cake? I swapped out the basic kinds of milk for rice and coconut milk, and I infused the cake with cinnamon. Then I finished the cake with coffee swirled whipped cream. So you now have a dirty horchata – tres leches cake.

Did I lose you yet? If so, I am so sorry, I don’t mean to confuse you. Let me sum it up like this. This cake is DELICIOUS. It’s Mexican inspired, with plenty of sweetness, hints of cinnamon, and coffee…plus a little rum too.

overhead photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake in pan with whipped cream

Here are all the details.

Start with the cake.

It’s a simple cake that’s made dense and pudding-like by incorporating whipped egg whites. Once the cake batter is combined, take the egg whites and whip them until stiff peaks form. This step is key to a lighter cake with the perfect spongy texture. It takes no effort at all and creates a truly luscious cake. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Bake the cake. Then poke holes all around the top of the cake. Yes, in order to allow the cake to soak up all that delicious milk glaze, you will need to poke holes in it. And I promise, all will be OK. The holes allow for the cake to evenly absorb all of the glaze.

Soaking the cake in the glaze makes for an incredibly soft and incredibly flavorful cake.

side angled photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake square

It. Is. SO GOOD!

While the cake is cooking, mix up the “three milks” glaze, which in the case of this cake is rice milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Pour the sweet milk glaze over the cake and let the glaze soak into the cake. You can let the cake sit a few hour or up to three days in the fridge

overhead close up photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Now onto the coffee cream.

As I mentioned a dirty horchata is horchata with coffee, so I swirled some coffee into the whipped cream.

It’s a subtle flavor, but it’s delicious. I love it paired with the hints of warming cinnamon and the rum throughout the cake.

overhead close up photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Every bite of this cake is filled with sweet cinnamon flavors. The texture is very pudding-like. And the whipped cream on top is that final extra special touch that really elevates this cake above others. Trust me, I know this is different, but it’s different in a very delicious way.

This cake is perfect for Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day. But it’s equally perfect for just about any other occasion as well…like when you’re in need of a sweet cake to bake up over the weekend!

side angled photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake square with a bite taken out

Lastly, if you make this dirty horchata tres leches cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 338 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x8 inch square baking pan. 
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Whisk in the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the salt. The batter will be very thick.
    3. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, another 3 to 5 minutes. Fold about 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
    4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes. Let cool 15 or so minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice milk, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and rum (if using).
    6. Use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the warm cake. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake. Cover and chill cake for at least 4 hours or overnight (or up to 3 days).
    7. No more than 4 hours before serving, whip the cream and powdered sugar together using an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the whipped cream in half. Stir the instant coffee and Kahlúa into half of the whipped cream. Dollop both the plain cream and coffee cream over the cake and gently spread, swirling the two together. Sprinkle with more cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!


Homemade Horchata: Combine 1 cup uncooked rice and 2 1/2 cups steaming hot water in a large bowl. Soak at room temperature for 2-4 hours, the rice will not be completely soft, this is OK. Alternately, you can use room temp water and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Pour the rice and water into a blender. Blend until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Blend until combined. Pour the mixture into a large pitcher or jar. Add 4 cups milk and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve. Stir well before serving.
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overhead horizontal photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

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  1. Why can’t cooked rice be used? Seems it would be much easier. I may try this glaze on an angel food or sponge cake. I love horchata drinks especially since they are nonalcoholic and they taste sooooo good !

  2. 5 stars
    Hi! Just wondering about the whipped cream topping. I made the cake for a rehearsal dinner (it’s so yummy!) but am serving it in individual cups. What happens if you made the whipped cream topping ahead of time? Would love to have all everything done before the party rather than make it during the event. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe!! How far in advance are you making the whipped cream? I would say as long as it’s chilled 24 hours before would work for you! xT

    1. Hi Tippy,
      I’m so sorry to hear that you had some issues with this cake! Any chance any of your ingredients were expired? Again, I apologize for the trouble, I’m not sure why this might be happening for some! xT

  3. 5 stars
    I left a previous comment after making this cake a few days in advance of a party with a Mexican menu, and the cake did not rise or absorb the liquid – it was about an inch high and floating in the liquid. I couldn’t accept this outcome, and I couldn’t serve it this way! So I went to the store, bought new baking powder, and made it again (I realized that my baking powder had a “best by” date of 4/22). I still had leftovers of the 3 milks, since only small amounts are needed. The cake came out looking 100% better, like a cake should, and the liquid fully absorbed. Phew! Everyone loved the dessert.

    1. Hi Pam,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was enjoyed:) xx

  4. I wish there was a video to go with this recipe. I am worried about how my cake looks. I made it today for a Mexican themed party this weekend. I was happy to see all the great reviews and that it can be made ahead. I saw the reviewers who said their cake didn’t seem to rise and thought they may have deflated the egg whites while folding into the batter, so I was very careful. Folding the delicate whites into the thick batter took a while. I baked it for just 15 min. I pricked it and poured the liquid over and down the sides (the cake had pulled away from the sides of the pan). The cake was surrounded and submerged in the liquid. It’s been in the fridge for a hours and still surrounded by liquid. Is this normal? I’m afraid I’m going to need a back up dessert. I don’t know if I’ll have time to try again. Thank you for any advice.

    1. Hi Pam!
      I think you should be totally fine! Just pour off the excess liquid. It should still taste delicious! But please let me know! I have my fingers crossed all went well for you!! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for my birthday and it was incredible! One of my favorite tres leches cakes. Sweet. Moist. Notes of cinnamon and creamy milk with some coffee. I made the milk mixture all nondairy by using sweetened condensed oat milk, full fat coconut milk, and rice milk although I kept the whipped cream topping the same.

    Top tips: I multiplied this recipe by 1.3x to 1.5x because I wanted a good height of cake and others have said the regular amount yields a lower batter level. It worked perfectly when I made a little extra. Next tip is make sure the cake is completely cooked through in the middle (not too moist) otherwise it’ll be harder to poke holes and let the liquid in. Lastly (and most importantly) as you’re pouring the milk mixture over the cake, take a butter knife and run it along all the edges of the pan so that you can separate the cake edges from the pan and allow liquid to go in those areas. Worked like a charm!

    1. Hey Leah,
      Awesome! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Thanks for sharing your tips! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve made this three times now, and it’s gotten rave reviews every time! It’s so much better than regular tres leches, with the hint of rum and coffee. Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

    1. What about high altitude? I live in Golden Colorado at about close to 6,000 feet. Do I need to adjust ingredient amounts and cooking time and temp to accommodate?

    1. Hey Joana,
      I would make this no more than 24 hours before serving. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks so much, Tieghan! Made this for my sister’s birthday brunch and it was a HUGE hit. Came out perfectly moist and delicious. Can’t wait to make it again!

  7. 5 stars
    So I doubled this recipe and made it for my brother’s birthday. I was so nervous about the turnout of the cake because the liquid didn’t completely soak in (wasn’t sure if it supposed to) but after letting it soak for 24 hours I cut the cake and crossed my fingers. No lie, every single person in my family of 16 loved the cake. From kids to adults to people who have said they typically don’t like tres leches cake – they all loved it. It wasn’t too sweet at all, didn’t have rum but the instant coffee in the cream was a great touch and it was really easy to make! Great cake!