Tres Leches Cake

Today is a pretty big day. It marks a milestone birthday for my favorite guy in the whole world:


I have to admit that I get almost as excited for Jose’s birthday as I do my own. That’s one of my favorite parts of being married-you get to celebrate two birthdays instead of just your own!

Now, I need to tell you about this Tres Leches Cake. I made it for the first time last year. I had always wanted to try making a Tres Leches Cake, but had been a little intimidated by the idea. It always seemed like such a complicated recipe, compounded by the fact that Jose had always mentioned that his cousin makes an amazing Tres Leches, and no other versions could hold a candle to hers.


So, I never tried making it, until I saw a version that caught my attention last year. I couldn’t stop thinking about making that cake, and so I finally hesitantly told Jose that I wanted to attempt it, and decided to make it to bring to our good friend’s birthday party. This friend is also Mexican (and also lactose-intolerant, which I did not know at the time-oopsies!). So I made it. And we tried it. And, goodness…..Image

I know that photo is dark, but look at those layers!


I generally have some sense of self-control when it comes to sweets. I crave desserts, but I can force myself to have one serving and be done. I do use the term “serving” loosely here but I think you get the idea. This cake, though. It’s seriously irresistible to just stop at one (and I accidentally just typed the word “irresponsible” which is probably just as fitting). We can be so full from a big meal and still want a piece of this cake.

It’s rich, yet light. So moist and flavorful. It actually tastes better a day after it is made, allowing the milks to completely seep in to the light sponge cake, making it more dense.

So now, when I ask Jose what kind of cake he wants for his birthday, he chooses Tres Leches.  And I am equally excited for his birthday because I know that it includes a perfect reason to make this cake. Think this is becoming a new birthday tradition around here. This year, he asked me to make it with chocolate whipped cream, which, in my opinion, takes whipped cream to a whole new level. I hadn’t made chocolate whipped cream before so I just threw some cocoa powder into the stand mixer while I was whipping the cream. I could just eat this whipped cream alone by the spoonful. Although I suppose that doesn’t say a whole lot because honestly, I could eat any kind of whipped cream by the spoonful, but what I mean to say is that this whipped cream has a rich and deeply intense chocolate flavor, despite its light coloring. However, if you want to go the traditional route, simply omit the cocoa powder. It is delicious either way, and the “plain” whipped cream brings out the vanilla flavoring of the cake even more. So, make this cake, whatever you do. Whether you have a birthday excuse or not.


Tres Leches Cake

From The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar, Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

For the Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing

  • 2 cups (or one pint) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (can use vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

*Wash mixing bowl and wash the whisk before beating egg whites-stiff peaks will not form if there is any yolk residue left.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all of the mixture onto the cake-try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.

To make the whipped cream icing, add the heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer or mixing bowl. Mix cocoa powder and sugar separately. Beat for 1 minute, then add cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Drizzle in vanilla paste or extract. Beat for 2-3 more minutes until thick and fluffy. Spread over the surface of the cake.

Serve and enjoy!

Happy 30th Jose.  To a big year for both of us, to more than just a milestone marked by numbers. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us together but I hope it includes many more Tres Leches Cakes to come.



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