After coming to our senses about our dream of a Friendsgiving dinner party last month versus the reality of life with two kids, two full-time jobs, a small oven and a worrisomely low inventory of forks (seriously, where do they go?) we decided instead to have a Taco Dinner Party last weekend. Among our friends, in a tacos vs. turkey throwdown, tacos will always win. This might be why we get along so well.
The menu* is one of my favorites and it’s incredibly simple: A big brisket goes in the slow-cooker the night before and in the morning is transferred to the fridge where it can rest for the day so it can be easily de-fatted and gently rewarmed and shredded before dinner. [Recipe here.] A pot of black beans, which can also be handed off to the slow-cooker, is essential. [I use the Black Bean Ragout from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but this soup with less liquid isn’t a bad place to start.] I make a giant batch of Lazy Taco Slaw and Pickled Red Onions [recipes outlined at the bottom of this post]. My friend Ang brought over tomatillo salsa from her deck garden [but this one is a great place to start]. I raided the Mexican bodega in my neighborhood for corn tortillas, extra hot sauce, pickled jalapenos and crema, although the grocery store varieties of each work just as well. We juice a lot of limes and make a pitcher or two my go-to 3:2:1 margarita (3 parts tequila, 2 parts lime juice and 1 part Cointreau) [but if you can get blood oranges where you are, do yourself a favor and make these]. And then we made a lot of queso, because I sometimes delight in making food snobs clutch their pearls.
And then, because everyone lies when they say they don’t need dessert, I made a Tres Leches Cake and it was decidedly mediocre. Not “went uneaten” mediocre, but absolutely not what I had in mind. I used what is probably the most popular recipe for it on the internet, and ended up with a hard too-sweet cake that didn’t absorb the liquid and left me Monday Morning Quarterbacking (look honey, I used a football reference!) over how to make it better. I reviewed 100 recipes online, I hunted through all of my cookbooks, and then I turned to one of my secret favorite sources for authentic cooking lessons — YouTube videos with fairly low production values, preferably not in English. After watching a few Mexican grandmothers make theirs from what seemed to be memory, a few themes emerged: all of them use a classic sponge cake (soft and light, with almost all of its texture and volume from whipped eggs), and almost none use the kind with butter in it; buttery cakes won’t absorb all that liquid as well. While 90 percent of them whip their egg whites and yolks separately and then fold them together, after seeing one or two make a go of it as almost a one-bowl cake, I did just this and will never go back. Finally, just about everyone seems to agree that because the cake is exceptionally sweet, as it should be, the whipped topping doesn’t need to be. From here, I made the tres leches cake that will be my forever go-to, which means it’s time for the next dinner party, right?
* More Dinner Party Menus: In this new section, I’m building out some of my tried-and-tested dinner party menus from the archives. Included so far: Taco Party, Winter Dinner Party, A Little Fancy (with vegetarian swaps below), a Hanukah Party, Mussels and Fries (my go-to for inviting people over for that very night), and our summer favorite, a Ribs Fest. Check it out! [Dinner Party Menus]
My Favorite Hosting Tips: I wrote a short piece for New York Magazine’s The Cut about my entertaining “rules,” which also includes a second Moules Frites menu, the one from my cookbook. Check it out! [Smitten Kitchen’s Dinner Party Menu on The Cut]
Even More Hosting Tips: I contributed a few tips to Cup of Jo’s guide over here. [Dinner Party Tips on Cup of Jo]
One year ago: Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix and Gingerbread Biscotti
Two years ago: Cigarettes Russes Cookies
Three years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Four years ago: Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies and Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Five years ago: Roasted Chestnut Cookies
Six years ago: Balsamic Braised Brussels with Pancetta, Cream Biscuits and Coffee Toffee
Seven years ago: Cabbage Apple and Walnut Salad and Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Eight years ago: Rugelach Pinwheels, Fennel Ice Cream and Ratatouille Tart
Nine years ago: Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Wild Mushroom Pirogis, Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake and Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Picnic Pink Lemonade and Crispy Frizzled Artichokes
1.5 Years Ago: Nancy’s Chopped Salad and Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
2.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
3.5 Years Ago: Asparagus and Almonds with Yogurt Dressing and Strawberries and Cream Biscuits
4.5 Years Ago: Fudge Popsicles
Tres Leches Cake [Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk’s Cake]
This easily the most popular cake in Mexico, a vanilla sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three “milks” (sweetened condensed, evaporated and heavy or light cream) and topped with whipped cream. While sponge cakes can be made with or without butter, the butter-free ones that might be less enjoyable to eat plain (see: spongy and butterless) are perfect here because they drink the milks and become, IMHO, the highest calling of a sponge cake. Although tres leches cakes are supposed to be very sweet — it is tradition! — I cannot resist dialing back the sugar in the cake just a little. My two other tweaks are optional; if you have a fresh vanilla bean around, it’s exceptional in here. And, when I’m making this cake for a grown-up dinner party, I love adding 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum to the three mix mixture. Want to fiddle even more with tradition? Replace the cream with coconut milk or eggnog, for a holiday riff. Some people like to add a little cinnamon or nutmeg to the whipped topping, but I never do.
Butter and flour for cake pan
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 large eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped from pods or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 (12-ounce or 340 grams) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce or 400 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy or light cream (half-and-half)
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) rum (optional)
2 cups (475 ml) heavy cream (for whipped topping)
2 tablespoons (15 grams) powdered or granulated sugar (for whipped topping)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan, or coat it with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch (together, these make “cake flour” without you having to buy it), salt and baking powder. If using a fresh vanilla bean, rub seeds into 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar to disperse them and help release the most flavor. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the machine still running, gradually add the sugar (vanilla bean-infused or plain) and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. If you haven’t used a vanilla bean, now add your vanilla extract and beat to combine.
Add yolks one at at time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add milk and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture, one-third at at time, folding in each addition gently by hand.
Pour batter in prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, or until a tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Let completely cool in pan on a rack.
In a large bowl, preferably one with a pouring spout, whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups heavy or light cream. Add rum, if using. Use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over cake. Pour all but 1/2 cup milk mixture over cake and transfer to fridge, giving the cake several hours but ideally overnight to soak it up. (Save last bit of milk mixture for serving.)
Before serving, beat 2 cups heavy cream with 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over top of cake.
Serve cake in squares, first pouring a little puddle of reserved three-milk mixture at the bottom of plate.
293 comments on tres leches cake + a taco party
i love love love tres leches cake — it’s one of my favorite dinner party desserts because it actually needs to be made ahead.
my go-to includes mango and coconut — the mango adds a nice tart touch to balance all the sweetness and the coconut makes the whole thing pina colada-esque because why not?
I looooove tres leches cake. I’ve made the Coconut Tres Leches cake from Chowhound a billion times and highly recommend that as well. I think it really benefits from the crunchy coconut for some textural contrast.
but, no recipe for the queso!?
I LOVE queso, and made it ‘from scratch’ a few weeks ago, but deferred to Velveeta (eek!) for its melty gooeyness. Is there a better cheese candidate? (Is that a crazy question?)
More important…what’s your queso recipe? Classic velveeta and rotel, or do you have a better one? We’re hosting a holiday work party for my husband tomorrow and had already settled on a taco night.
I make queso with Velveeta and Ro-Tel and it’s perfect. I know it can be made from scratch, and perhaps I will one day, but for the 1x a year we make it for parties, I have no qualms about the unnatural stuff. You should see how fast it goes.
Maybe I’ve got this all wrong here, but is it possible that “exceptionally sweet” was meant to link not to McNally Jackson, but to a baby picture? ;)
Liz — Whoops! Now fixed. You’re good. :)
Mmmm, queso. Normally I’m grossed out by processed cheese, but queso may have been the best thing about living in Texas. When we moved back to Seattle, I tried to make a more natural version using this recipe (http://bit.ly/1Y2tfgG) from the Homesick Texan. While it was tasty, it just wasn’t queso. So it was back to the Velveeta and Rotel. So good :)
‘making food snobs clutch their pearls.’…. best line all year anywhere! bahahahahaha
I’m so glad to see the Dinner Party section. I cannot get enough of the menus other people put together and their planning tips.
typo above – “it’s texture” (instead of its)
I made the Cook’s Country tres leches cake last year. It was mighty tasty!
c — Thanks, now fixed. Gosh, can you tell I wrote this with one hand while feeding a baby? (Sorry.)
Oh no! You cannot use velveeta and rotel! I will save you from terrible queso-ness!
Take about two (depending on your heat preference) chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped. Add a jalapeno or two chopped, and saute with a tablespoon of butter in a pan with a teaspoon or so of cumin and a half teaspoon of smoked paprika.
When that has softened up, add a half cup of milk until warm.
Then add about a quarter pound of white american cheese FROM THE DELI COUNTER, not that is prewrapped.
stir. add more milk if it’s too thick. It’s pretty forgiving.
Tres Leches is my favorite dessert ever. I always use the rum; my kids love it and I’m a bad enough parent that I don’t worry about it. :)
THANK YOU for creating a section on dinner party menus!!! ZOMG I can’t even describe how excited I am about this.
Tres leche cake is one of my absolute favorites! It was also actually the first recipe I ever followed off a blog and it turned out perfectly.
Was this a taco party for dragons? Were there pantloads of tacos?
If this question doesn’t make sense to you, then I highly recommend getting the book Dragons Love Tacos [http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Love-Tacos-Adam-Rubin/dp/0803736800]. If it does make sense to you, then how did you keep them safe from that bottle of hot sauce? :)
My daughter and nieces loooove this book! The pizza party one is okay, but my favorite has got to be “Those Darn Squirrels!”
This cake looks amazing!
I am pretty sure we live in the same-ish neighborhood. Which bodega did you hit for supplies? Thanks in advance!
I’ve been using Alton Brown’s Tres Leches Cake recipe since the day he aired it YEARS ago, and I have to say, it’s stellar. the hardest part is making sure your oven racks are level.
My secret for the best “milk cake” as my kids call it, is that you have to top the whipped cream with a hearty layer of fresh raspberries. The tart berry is the perfect compliment to the sweet and milky cake. One time i made it with lilikoi topping, and that was my favorite, but the kids prefer the raspberries.
You’re inspiring me to make a taco (and tamales of course) party christmas eve!
One of my New Years resolutions for 2016 is to make a cake every month. (I’m all for resolutions that make you happy!) my husband had two questions for me:
– why don’t you start in December?
-can you make tres leches?
Thanks for the recipe :)
Lauren — Zaragoza on Avenue A.
Arkay — That was the one we didn’t like at all. Maybe it was user error? Which leads me to the question I couldn’t get answered anywhere. He calls for cake flour. Did he mean self-rising? Usually recipes will specify. I assumed not self-rising because he also calls for baking powder. My cake was firm and thin; it did not absorb more than 3/4 the liquid.
cake flour has less gluten, and often you can substitute with all purpose flour, but removing a tablespoon or two per cup and replacing that with cornstarch/corn flour instead (not cornmeal) to reduce the gluten percentage – which is similar to your recipe.
I think my favorite part of this whole post (aside from that fabulous cake) is in the comments when you say that you make your queso from Velveeta and Ro-Tel!!!!!!
A taco party is my kind of party! Happy holidays to you and yours!
Cook’s Illustrated (or maybe it’s Cook’s Country, I can’t remember) has a recipe for coconut tres leches cake that I’ve made four or five times. It is terrific and a great variation on the traditional cake. In addition, when I make either the traditional version or the coconut version, I always boil my sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes. This makes the end product much richer than just using the sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can.
I can’t wait to try this cake, and the brisket tacos, and the margaritas. I’m feeling the need to schedule an impromptu dinner party!! Have you ever tried Martha Stewart’s recipe for smoky beef tacos? There are only five ingredients, but I swear they taste so much more complex and amazing than the list of ingredients suggests. Every time I serve them, every last bite of meat is gone at the end of the meal. Definitely trying your brisket next time instead, though. You know, for research purposes.
Hi Deb! I know this is a little unrelated, but I need your help. This year I’m in charge of the christmas dinner and the new year’s eve dessert. I’m a little intimidated, love baking but I don’t have that much experience, and this will definetely be a challenge, as a straight out of college “adult”. I want to impress my parents and other family members, but I have no idea what to make and was wondering if maybe you could suggest some recipes? It will certanly be appreciated!
Greetings (from Venezuela),
I’d be suspicious of anyone who DIDN’T make their queso from Velveeta and Ro-Tel. It’s the only allowable reason to use Velveeta. The Tres Leches looks fabulous. As a Latina who has had countless versions in over 10 years, I’ve never heard it referred to as cake (torta) in Spanish, but as the Postre de Tres Leches. Potre being the Spanish word for dessert. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, South America vs. Mexico, or whether the idea is for it not to be too “cakey” but more like a pudding, or a flan once the liquid had been absorbed. Latinos love their creamy, milky desserts, I must say. I’d say the sponge cake is the way to go.
The first time I ever had tres leche I made it from the recipe I discovered on the wrapper of magnolia sweetened condensed milk. It was amazing! I thought, if it’s this good from the wrapper imagine how much better a *real* recipe would be! Sadly, that was not the case and thanks to your post I know why! The magnolia recipe is so close (it makes a smaller cake) to this one! No butter, sponge cake! Yum! I’m inspired again.
I’m geeking out over the idea of getting recipes from watching grandmas cook on youtube. I’ve never had a tres leches cake that I love, but this cake may be the one to change my mind.
Is it possible to get your queso recipe? I visited Austin TX earlier this year, tried the queso, and am now obsessed with remaking it at home.
First, your queso recipe: flawless. That’s what I grew up on, and had more than once as dinner even as a child (and the product of hippie parents, no less. Balance in everything).
Second, these are the times that I curse my husband’s dairy and nut allergy. Coconut milk can’t work as a sub for all three milks., especially sweetened condensed, which is pretty much the nectar of the gods.
Yup. Everyone lies when they say they don’t want dessert. 100% true. It’s like, you’re eating dinner dwelling on what dessert might be. And the fork issue. You nailed it. Where do the forks go? I know where my mother in laws spoons all went because we always seem to be “borrowing” them and forgetting to return. Oppsie. Gotta return though. With a lemon pie. Or just host a taco night. Sounds like a good ole time.
#29 – SallyO – It’s interesting to hear that it is considered in SA to be more of a pudding than a cake. Now this creamy/wet concoction makes sense to me. I could never figure out why anyone would deliberately render a cake soggy ..and yet I love it! Really, it answers so many questions I had about this “cake”! Thanks!
Long ago, when delis used to hand out openers–called “churchkeys” for some reason–with beer (because this was before pop tops, truly)–someone suggested that you could never find a beer opener in the kitchen because they matured into wire coathangers, of which they were the larval stage. Can this be the explanation for the missing forks?
Hi Deb – this looks amazing as usual – one question, would you sub in 2 cups of cake flour for the 1 3/4 cups of AP and 1/4 cup of cornstarch if you have it on hand? Thanks!
I’ve had really good results with the Pioneer Woman’s tres leches cake, of all things — comparing hers and yours now they’re actually pretty similar except that yours is even easier!
AHHHHHHH!!!! I just had tres leches cake for the first time last weekend – shameful, both because it’s available all over my neighborhood and and because I now regret all the years I spent without it. Thanks for sparing me the disappointing process of hunting down a great recipe!
The name of this post mine as well be called, “Life doesn’t get any better than this.”
So funny, I had a very similar menu for my daughter’s 1st birthday party (which was really more of her mum & dad celebrating making it through our first year of parenthood). We did a beer braised shredded chicken offering & a stirfried quinoa, corn & coriander for the vegetarians. My coconut tre leche cake was a bit of a flop, which was my own fault as I tried to make an eggless version (yes, of an egg-heavy cake!) since my daughter has allergies & I don’t keep eggs in the house. Luckily I had made some of David Leibovitz’s spicy chocolate icecream & baked some cinnamon sugar tortilla strips & some brought dulce de leche, so we made cake icecream sundaes instead. This version looks amazing, I’m hoping my girl will grow out of her allergies so I can try it! I’ve always had success baking from your site.
Can this cake be saved and eaten the next day? I’ve never made one and we probably (hopefully!) wouldn’t go through the whole thing in one shot.
Cake flour isn’t self-rising, it’s finer milled than AP and has a lower protein content to make the crumb softer. It usually comes in a box, and the only brand I’ve ever seen is “Swan.” It’s usually on the lower shelves of the baking aisle.
This is not a thing I have heard of in the UK but it sounds DELICIOUS. Thanks for the new inspiration Deb!
Also Katie: your new year’s resolution sounds so awesome I am copying it – it is an excellent idea guaranteed to fill 2016 with joy :)
@Lindsey robertson: Classic Ro-Tel and Velveeta Queso (known in Nashville as “Ro-Tel) is just the smaller brick of Velveeta cubed, then you mix in a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (tomatoes and chilies). Put it in the microwave and blast on high for 5 minutes or so, stirring once or twice.
It’s the petrochemical industry’s most perfect food! You’ll want a spoon.
Mmmm tres leches cake is one of my favorite desserts of all time!!!! This recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
I love tacos. A taco with all the fixings and a fresh margarita is a heavenly! For my son’s 1st birhday I had yummy margaritas, a tres leche cake and a taco bar for our big family! I know for sure it was a great plan now!
Your new section on throwing dinner parties is the best!! I would love to see (and be at) a pizza party as much as a taco party, I think. Hard to decide! Anyway, this cake looks great! I’ve made a few tres leches in my day and am glad to hear that you nailed the recipe down. Yum!!
So excited about the new dinner party section!! You always make me look good… Thank you so much for all you do and your amazing recipes. I believe your Rosemary flatbreads are what led me to your site 4 years ago and I’ve been cooking from it ever since. Just made acorn squash poblano quesadillas yesterday and my husband was a very happy man!
I have a slow-cooker cookbook, and most of the recipes say to either cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. I was wondering if you have any experience with cooking chicken or beef recipes for 10 hours. I’d love to use my slow cooker more, but it needs to be in 10 hour increments. Do you think things would get tough and overcooked, or just more tender and fall apart?
Yum! Maybe it should be renamed cuatro leche cake! Because of the whipped cream – which seems a fine addition I’ve never had before.
I am forever a fan and I love you even more for this.
Thanks for sharing this – I’ve just gone done the most fabulous dinner party hole with so much pinning right now…
I had the.most.delicious tres leches cake in Miami and wanted to recreate it myself. I discovered that different countries use different toppings – Cuban topping is meringue (which is what I like), Mexican is whipped cream and Puerto Rican is whipped coconut cream. It also lends itself to delicious grown-up additives, such as Malibu rum, Rumchata, Bailey’s or the traditional rum included in the milk sauce. Top notch.
FYI – the Taste of Cuba cake is my favorite (with the meringue topping, of course) http://www.tasteofcuba.com/tresleches.html
Cake flour — Comes self-rising and regular (not self-rising). Usually recipes will specify. In the early days of this site, whenever I suggested cake flour (not self-rising) people usually responded with confusion because they only understood it to be with leaveners. I’ve moved away from it entirely, as you can see above, because it can be so easily hacked and seems more likely that people will have cornstarch around.
Queso — 1 pound Velveeta, 1 can Ro-Tel. :) I put it in a small slow-cooker and set it out with chips.
Francia — I hardly know where to start! Are you thinking layer cake or pastries? Tiramisu Cake, Gingerbread Cake, Red Wine Chocolate Cake, S’More Cupcakes (New Years), Stout Cake… you might sift through these Celebration Cakes to start.
Amy — No, haven’t seen it but I’ll check it out.
Kati — Of course we have that book!
Susan/Sally O — Pudding in the Brit sense, maybe? (They often call puddings what we call cake.)
john — First, I love the idea of something called a “churchkey” being used to open beer. And second, maybe! It would certainly explain a lot.
* Like everything else in life, I have to be difficult about this. I don’t just want to buy a dozen new forks, I want to find The Pattern I will want to use forever and buy an unnatural number of them, say, 24 sets to protect against any loss (16 being a normal number to keep) and pattern discontinuation. I have not yet found The Pattern.
Katherine — It can and should. It’s good for a few days.
Brittany — I assume you’re asking because you want recipes that will stretch out while you’re out for the day or sleeping at night? One way to get around this is to use a programmable one that will shut off when you tell it to. Regardless, there isn’t one magic amount of time that will work for everything, but brisket works very consistently for me on low for 8 to 10 hours. I wouldn’t go higher than a recipe recommended on the first test because I wouldn’t want to ruin the dish, but you might find that many recipes can be stretched out longer with few issues.
Bummer about the online recipe. When I made a tres leeches cake for a cinco de mayo party at work some years ago, I used Alton brown’s recipe, which I see is the 2nd one to pop up with The addition of rum to the soaking liquid from a food & wine recipe. (Yes, my specialty is bringing boozy baking to work.). Simple to make, soaks up the liquid like a sponge & my office loves it.
And thanks for the inspiration for my office gifts for next year.. I looked at your 1 year ago recipes, saw hot chocolate & gingerbread biscotti and kicked myself for not doing that last year.
Since I love the idea of 3-2-1 Margaritas, but won’t be able to remember which of the ingredients goes with the 3, which with the 2 and which with the 1, may I suggest renaming to the 3-2-1 TLC Margarita? Your recipe is truly the way Margs should be made.
Riley — Great idea! Plus, a lot of people advocate TCL but that’s too sweet. These are perfect, fairly tart, just sweet enough. Goes well 1:1 with ice in a pitcher.
Ah, now that’s interesting. Brits may call cake “pudding” but I think that’s because Brits call all desserts pudding. It’s what they call the course, as in “what’s for pudding”? But, that’s probably because they often do have some sort of pudding for “pudding”. A typical summer pudding would be bread (or cake) soaked in fruit and juices and molded until its pudding, so yeah, there’s definitely a correlation. I got totally geeky about all this and looked up the origin of Tres Leches and while many countries claim it, it seems that the recipe was from the back of a Nestle’s condensed milk can from the 40’s possibly distributed from centers in Mexico, Central or South America, which explains it’s predominance in Latinoamerican cuisine. I have even had a version from a Columbian fried that has no cake at all, more like a flan. Interesting stuff!
My husband loves tacos. I love tres leches cake. This posts makes us simultaneously very happy, as well as inspired to throw a taco party!
Also, when I’ve made tres leches cake in the past, I usually serve it ‘as is’, but my favorite addition is mango (as a few if the commenters have already suggested).
Regarding FORKS. I have a weekday home and a weekend shack. I used to have a pattern (service-for-8) at the weekday home and a yard-sale-mixture at the weekend shack. And they would travel back and forth and get mixed up, I DONT KNOW WHY.
So I went to K-mart. I found an lovely pattern in the Martha Stewart Collection. Stainless, heavy-weight, really nice. I bought 6 boxes of service-for-4. So I think I opened up three boxes at the weekday house, two boxes at the weekend shack, and I have one box in reserve. I now wish I bought 7 or 8, as it appears discontinued. And some spoons have gone missing.
My point, if there is one, is to check out K-mart and buy way more than you think you need.
I made the NYT mango tres leches cake for memorial day and it turned out lovely… I was relieved to see in the comments that the recipe that you didn’t like was a different one. =) I have no idea how authentic it is, but it is mighty tasty!
OMG, I ADORE the Abuelas on Youtube. That’s totally the only way to go. Thankful on a regular basis that I am fluent in Spanish because regularly my jaw hangs open with amazement at how to do things properly. It’s generally a lot easier than the cookbooks said once the Abuelas are done with it. I recommend replacing the rum with kahlua or Tia Maria. YUM.
Oh, and anyone who clutches their pearls at queso — made entirely with velveeta and a can of rotel — is not welcome at my house. That is such a huge TexMex staple!
Try Pati Jinich’s recipe for Tres Leches cake…the best I have ever had, bar none. I put berries over top of mine…
Pati Jinich tres leches cake
Yay Deb! As a native Texan and queso expert, it’s Velveeta and Rotel all the way. You can jazz it up however you’d like, adding browned ground beef, sausage, or whatever, but it’s not necessary. Not necessary at all. The only accompaniment, for me, is sliced pickled jalapeños.
Deb-I do get the flat’ish cake-but I use the thinnest skewers I have and make at least a hundred holes-then I never have a problem with the absorption.
I WILL be giving your recipe a try though! (do you have weights for the dry ingredients?)
Oh yummy this sound so good!
Pearl-clutching food slobs? Thanks for this image; it made me chortle.
Great party plan, too!
Ah, Rotel with velveeta. In grad school, my Korean-American roommate from California, who did not grow up with it but was a talented cook in her own right, had heard of this on the interwebs and begged me to make it for her. I did, but couldn’t help teasing her.
On mussels: I’ve tried a few times but they always taste bland. I get them at Whole Foods in DC. Is this possible something where the ingredient quality in NY is simply closer to harvesting grounds and therefore better?
No, the British do not call cake ‘pudding’. They do however tend to refer to the dessert course as pudding.
I’m sorry, but me and tres leches cake aren’t kindred spirits, however tacos and I are besties. Friends to the end along with Velveeta Ro-Tel queso. It’s the only way! I’m so excited about the new dinner party section, thanks for all the great ideas. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family!
Thank you so much for the dinner party menus. I’m trying to be more relaxed about just having low key dinner parties and not waiting for an occasion. This is a sign!
Can’t wait to make this and love the new Dinner Party Menus section! How about another section like, “Perfect for bringing to a dinner party” for recipes that are great to make ahead of time and can be transported. At this time of the year, I never know what to make and bring to a dinner party and some suggestions would be wonderful :)
I seem to have a problem with bake time. It was in for 30 min and absolutely raw in the middle?
Mine is in the oven and after 30 minutes it’s not cooked. It has puffed up high and browned a bit but it’s runny throughout. I feel bad because I thought I measured carefully. It’s my first attempt at this type of cake, for a birthday tomorrow. The batter tastes great, though
Now after 35 min it’s totally cooked. Luckily the tester holes will be no problem for this cake!
That cake looks super delicious, wonderful recipe!
Oh Deb, it’s like you read my mind. I’ve just spent 5 weeks in the US and came home rather depressed at the lack of decent Mexican in Australia. This will brighten my mood and help with the entertaining dilemma I have for Christmas eve with friends. :)
That dinner party sounds and looks perfect, am I invited?
I’ve been using Martha’s tres leches recipe with success. It doesn’t have butter in it but it’s egg white/egg yolk separated (I kinda like that process actually, am I weird?) and I’m excited to try yours because you are after all the QUEEN.
I highly recommend the coconut milk variation for everyone, once in a while, it’s amazing!
For the three milks; if anyone like me can’t find evaporated or condensed milk where they live – I use heavy cream, normal milk and make my own condensed milk (with a whole vanilla bean!) so I don’t use any evaporated milk and it’s still our favoritest cake of all time. Just play with the ratios of milk with what you have on hand and it’ll be delicious I promise!
Oh, I forgot to say this; Deb, can you please put the weights in? I mean when you have the time from being indulged in that little gingerhead! She’s too good for words, I’m dying a little bit everytime I see her… My eyes get watery from the cuteness. Bless.
I love tres leches in any form. Funny we have a potluck cooking group this weekend, and I have to take dessert. Hmmm.
And, lately I’ve been puzzling over the mystery of the disappearing forks.
As a work at home freelancer, I blame it solidly on the “I’ll just pack a fork in my lunch – don’t worry I’ll remember to bring it home” office worker types in my house.
Thanks for another good one.
re forks: a few years ago my friend discovered her five year old threw away her “used” spoons with her pudding cups. Just something to keep an eye out for.
Long live Velveeta! Ain’t no shame. I use it a few times year for this “dip” my husband loves. It’s velveeta and browned sausage in a crockpot, served with corn chips. He thinks it’s the best dip in the world and requests it as an appetizer for all the dinner parties, big games and holiday gatherings. Insert laugh-cry emoji!! We’re pretty high-brow here.
Our family loves tres leches cake, we make it for holidays, ans gatherings.
I’m so excited! I’ve been scouring your site for this recipe for about 6 months and now it’s here!!! thank you! I am going to make this tonight!!
What a fun idea for a dinner party! To be honest, I can never decide what I think of tres leches cake. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. But my husband loves it, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl again!
Just in time – i need to make a tres leches this weekend so this is awesome!
That cake looks amazing. I need to have a taco party, I haven’t had one in a while! My sister (who’s a baker) makes an amazing tres leches that is just like this one, whipped cream topping & all. I’m not sure where she learned to make it, but I’m glad she did! I see them sometimes in our local Mexican bakeries as a 2-layer cake with a bit of pineapple or strawberry jam between the layers.
I love the classic velveeta-and-rotel queso. If you can get the white velveeta, it’s even better! I usually get it at this tiny Hispanic grocery by my house, but it might be available at other stores too.
If you add cocoa to the cake you’ll have a chocolate milk lover’s dream….
I enjoy your recipes and your comments – they always lighten my day.
I make a tres leches cake before Thanksgiving and instead using 12 oz can of evaporated milk I used 12 oz of Pumpkin Liqueur – made a lovely cake and was definitely very adult. Co workers enjoyed so much I made cakes for them for Thanksgiving to share with there families.
This recipe looks great, and thinking ahead, it would make a great Passover dessert if made with a Passover sponge cake.
Tres leches! Such a Miami thing that has really blown up. If you’re ever in Miami, seek out the one from a bakery called Cuatro Leches. It is the bomb dot com.
I’m heading to a tequila tasting on Saturday night and have been hemming and hawing about what to bring for a dessert. I thought about a tres leches and hesitated because of how cloying they can be; but lo! You did all the research and created the perfect recipe for me. I and my fellow sippers thank you.
Super, Deb that’s exactly what I was thinking for a less stressy birthday bash this year – carnitas, tacos and all the the trimmings. You’ve just reminded me of the bean fabulous ragout or even better the soup (my husbands favourite), so party done. Now, I don’t even have to think about the rest but just follow the list! Thank you, can you hear that, big boulders tumbling down my weighed down shoulders.
Annoying, lazy taco slaw url goes to Flickr.
Oh my goodness. This sounds to die for. And I looked up your recipe for the brisket too. Good heavens, dear, it took you that long to start using your slow cooker?!? I’m glad you finally realized how awesome it is! I love mine!
Also, your baby is ADORABLE and we have the exact same bouncer. Although yours is probably in better shape than mine… our cat decided the fuzzy stuffing peeking out at the bottom would be fun to shred. I replaced the stuffing with one of those old-fashioned cloth diapers for a little padding and duct-taped the heck out of it. Fortunately, from the top you cannot tell. (We don’t have said cat anymore… and not just because he shredded the baby’s bouncer, although that was part of it.)
I can’t wait to make this cake!! And thanks for the tip about the cornstarch+flour=cake flour. I would have never guessed.
I love the new dinner party sections! So helpful for new, but enthusiastic, hosts like me. Love getting advice on how to prepare it all and still enjoy the party yourself!
Would you consider adding a brunch menu too? I’m trying to plan a brunch for my birthday and have been using your other tips in past posts (especially how to sleep in before it), but I’d love to know what your best combo would be :)
As a San Antonian (currently trapped in Minnesota), I wholeheartedly applaud the inclusion of queso in any taco party (or Tex-Mex Fiesta, as we like to call such meals). May I suggest adding about half a jar of smoky salsa (I use anything that says “fire-roasted” on the label) to the velveeta and ro-tel? It adds some smoky spice and loosens up the (sometimes gloppy) texture a little. Plus, then you can say your queso is a secret family recipe, rather than what is on the back of the Ro-tel can.
I’m with Kati (comment #18) I can’t read taco party and not think of the book “Dragons Love Tacos”. It definitely should be on all kids’ bookshelves. We’ve read it so many times I have it nearly memorized.
But who doesn’t love a good taco party?!?
Echoing Sarah #93–a brunch category would be great.
I have a small dinner party tonight and the main course (chicken with lemon and green olives) is in the slow cooker right now, the roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are in the warming drawer, and your roasted pears are in the oven.
Now to put my feet up until the guests arrive!
I straight up dislike the taste of velveeta… Except in queso. That recipe is magical – I’ve had hipsters who drone on about kombucha and bulletproof coffee devour it.
Also yay dinner party section!! Totally doing this one very soon.
This cake moist, soft cake is simply superb. Once I ate it, now I make this cake at every special occasion.
@Paul#85…now that is a cake I would like the recipe for! Wow!
Tres Leches (or as it’s known in my boyfriends family ‘Three Leeches’)…it is my most hated and requested cake.
Eating it is no problem, it’s a tasty cake, but it’s just such a pain in the arse to make. I use the Cook’s Country version which works every time, but they microwave the condensed milk for about 10 minutes and it’s just…ugh.
I’m going to stealth test your non-microwaved condensed milk version and see if anyone can notice a difference. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this one works out better so I can turf that PITA (but tasty!) recipe.
wondering how the comparison went? thanks!
My first tees leche cake was like a birth! I will never forget it. Have not had good success myself making it…but will buy a slice from Portos in Burbank Cali anytime (and do).
an awesome post, a dinner party i’ve always wanted to host but cannot figure out how to have mass amounts of tortillas warm and still tasty for making tacos. Any tortilla tips?
This answer is a million years to late for your use but, in case others have the question, a tortilla warmer pouch is an inexpensive and worthwhile purchase if you do tacos a lot. We have the Imusa one ($8) but there are a ton of variations. People thought we were silly for putting one on our registry but we do taco nights a lot, especially for groups/dinner parties, and our 12 year old pouch is still going strong.
“… because I sometimes delight in making food snobs clutch their pearls.”
Oh, I wish I’d written that!
Still laughing at “food snobs clutching their pearls”. Love you Deb!!!
Just out of curiosity, if the sweetness level here is scaled back, what was it originally? I usually cut down on the sugar in anything I make but don’t want to here if it’s already been done.
I’ll second the recommendation of Pati Jinich’s recipe, and of her as a good source for Mexican recipes in general (I use her cookbook, so can’t vouch for the website material). Her recipes have always worked for me, though there have been times where I adjust things to taste, but I chalk that up to a difference in tastes and expectations. And she’s vouched for by my MIL, who grew up in Mexico, and gave me Pati’s cookbook with an inscription saying “this is real Mexican.” [can of worms, I know!] She also loves Rick Bayless and had never heard of Diana Kennedy (whose books I like, however). I’ve had Fany Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico on my wish list for ages, too.
Me encanta que uses palabras tan latinas como queso, tres leches y crema.
Im not a big fan of tres leches, but being latina, it is a must to know at least the recipe :), love the recipe and the images you post. Im a big fan of all your food, and the recipes you give, i will give it a try real soon. It is funny and real how you said, you went youtubbing on abuelas recipes.
Please please please go sign your books at McNally Jackson!!! Christmas gifts are awaiting you and the shipping method is oh so slow…
I beg you.
I made the America’s Test Kitchen version of Tres Leches Cake and it was really delicious and a big hit at the party.
Correction, I meant the Cook’s Country version is the one I used.
I have never seen the tres leches cake before. Looks fab!! This would be such a treat with coffee and I could have it for breakfast too. This is a must try one for sure.
I use Alton Brown’s recipe too but I’ve never made a scratch cake correctly. They are always gross to me. So I use a box of yellow cake mix and his milk ratios and it is my favorite dessert ever.
I too loved the ‘pearl clutching’ line (no 10) which reminded me of the Beatles’ 1963 Royal Variety performance – when John Lennon said to the audience (which included the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret) “For our last number I’d like to ask for your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvBCmY7wAAU
I have made The Pioneer Woman’s tres leches cakes a bunch of times with a few small changes. I always use all the soaking liquid (I don’t turn it out of the pan) and I cut the sugar back a bit. Everyone loves it.
Wow! Can’t wait to try this. Sounds delicious.
I made this for my work Christmas party, and everyone when bonkers for it! Thanks for the delicious inspiration!
My first time commenting but I wanted to thank you! I hosted a brunch today and basically followed your concept top to bottom. It was brilliant! Stove largely stayed off on an unseasonably hot day in NYC, which allowed me to relax and enjoy the party. I cooked most of it the night before while my 15-month-old slept (so didn’t have to deal with dragging him around the kitchen while he clung to my legs). The brisket was amazing with just the right amount of heat, the pickled onions were the easiest and tastiest, and the tres leches cake is just ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous. My favorite cake that I’ve ever made. Thanks for making me look seriously impressive to my friends! This was next level. :)
I’ve had this a couple of times at Mexican restaurants (fairly few and far between in London!) and totally loved it. Thanks for sharing the recipe – I will have a go in January, hopefully! :) x
Made this yesterday for a work party – a chili competition! I have a very sad, underpowered hand mixer, so my egg whites and sugar never seemed to reach stiff peaks. The cake turned out great, though, and everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe!
Ina Garten does a ridiculously delicious tres leches cake with berries in the Make it Ahead cookbook. It’s gotten great reviews when we’ve used that as a birthday cake for relatives.
Yay! We are doing a taco party/potluck at work next week. Dessert wasn’t one of the options to sign up for, but I’m going to make this anyway :)
Wow. I made this last weekend. It is out of this world good. I sliced it into thirds, placed each on a pretty plate, drizzled chocolate lightly over the top and neatened the edges… Looked and tasted like it was from a 5 star restaurant!
Addictive. Excited to make with again with some other fun flavoring.
( I used a little Kahlua this time).
So if I ever need cake flour again the ratio is??? Can’t wait to make this for my friend who is a little mexican, in genes and in stature :)
I also have used Alton Brown’s and have always got very good results. I use the Swans cake flour and I always reduce the sugar amount in the topping significantly. But the pan definitely has little puddles of milk on the bottom, but I thought that was normal. I am looking forward to trying your recipe with fresh vanilla bean (along with the whole taco party theme…) soon!
In India we don’t get evaporated milk, so I am wondering whether I can boil down the whole milk to half its original volume and sub that for the evaporated milk.
Hemal — I haven’t done it before, but as per Google: To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup. In many recipes, evaporated milk may also be replaced with a combination of whole milk and half-and-half.
Sara — Here’s the official way to make your own cake flour. I fudge it a lot, just using 1 or 2 tablespoons less flour and cornstarch instead.
Jeannette — I’ve seen versions with up to 1/2 cup more sugar in the cake (which is madness) and the famed Alton tres leches has 8 ounces sugar in the whipped cream (i.e. over one cup!).
My family does Mexican food every Christmas Eve and THIS is what we’ll be having for dessert this year! We did your pecan pie at Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. You have become my surefire goto. Don’t know how you do it, but I’m sure glad you do!
Hi Deb! I just wanted to thank you for personalizing a copy of your beautiful book for my sister Carolynn. She received it today and was thrilled! Wishing you and your sweet family all the best in 2016. Thanks again!
Thanks Deb! I went with the Gingerbread Cake. It was a little tricky to get out of the bundt pan, but it’s already in its serving plate, waiting to be dusted with copious amount of confectioners sugar in a few days. If the batter is any indication, it will certanly be a hit. Thank you again.
I made this late last night for a Nacho Bar/Idaho Ho Ho potluck-thing today at work (groan, too clever coworkers: love ’em!). Anyway, added just under 2 tablespoons of white rum, forgot topping’s vanilla and used stabilized whipped cream because I knew it was going to sit out for an unspecified amount of time… My oh my, but this was good.
My ex-husband dropped our toddler off as I was getting off work, and I got him to try a piece. He doesn’t care for the dessert, but…he said he liked it and would have it again. Amazing! A convert. At least to *this* recipe. I converted his brother a few years ago to cheesecake (my mom’s recipe, he still won’t have anyone else’s).
Yay! I may not be able to cook worth a damn, but I am a passing-fair baker.
BTW- -I love that the topping is VERY lightly sweetened. Made this so much more palatable.
I have just poked and filled my Tres Leche it is now 15.13pm in South Africa I am preparing this for a dinner tomorrow evening.
Do you think i should keep that bit of milk sauce back in case it dries out or would you just pour all over and refrigerate until ready to “dress” with cream. I added TBSPS contreau & the sauce tasted delicious. First time i have made this and the rise is great – thank you for the recipe….. i will return with the vote :)
You are inspiring – thank you and best wishes from a sunny & humid Durban South Africa.
Sharon — I keep it for serving. I think a little puddle on the plate before you add the cake slice is very nice.
I love your website. I use this recipe: http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipes.recipeListing/filter/g/recipeID/1513/Recipe.cfm
and get rave reviews. the ingredient list is soo easy, I had to add a little vanilla and a few shakes of cinnamon (both in the batter and the milks). It’s a great recipe please give it a try.
I finally made the tres leches cake. My family loved it! I substituted the sugar for coconut sugar and cut all the sugars in half and it still came out great!
Check my new site
Hi Deb! Can’t wait to make this favorite! Do you have an idea how to add a thin chocolate shell atop whipped cream? A huge thanks for some amazing recipes in your collection. We’ve enjoyed 20+ in last 2 weeks!
Just so you know, light cream and half and half are not the same thing. According to the US FDA, Half-and-half is the food consisting of a mixture of milk and cream which contains not less than 10.5 percent but less than 18 percent milkfat while light cream is cream which contains not less than 18 percent but less than 30 percent milkfat.
I copied your idea of a taco party for “day after christmas” dinner with my family visiting. It was great, although i didn’t make tres leches cake, but rather your pear cake, because i could make that in advance.
However – even better was the link to the mussels and fries recipe that you did for the The Cut. Most of my family hates seafood, but my sister likes it, so i made it for dinner when it was just her and I. It was awesome, and came together super fast! Totally worth running all over LA to find good mussels. Thanks so much for all these great dinner party ideas!
This meal was so fantastically good that my daughter served it for Christmas Eve (including the cake!) and I followed up with the same (with your buttermilk slaw) on New Years Day. The day of the party dawned with everything already cooked and ready to go and the crowds went wild!! Many thanks.
I just made this and am quite disappointed. The bake time is way off. I baked it for 24 min as instructed and the toothpick looked clean in the center. It sunk completely in the middle and almost looks raw in spots. I just read Pioneer Woman’s recipe and another, and they call for 45 minutes of bake time!!! Her cake is a nice golden, dark color. I wish I had known it was supposed to be darker. I wasted $10 and a lot of time. Sorry, I wish I had read other recipes first.
I wanted to add that I was so sad about throwing the cake in the garbage that I decided to make it again right away. This time I baked it as other recipes indicate. I left it in for 38 minutes (35-45 seems to be recommended) and it came out amazing! It really needs to look golden and dry looking. Not like normal cake where you don’t want it to brown. I love this cake now, just wish I didn’t waste the first one. I can’t imagine how 18 minutes would even come close to being okay.
RE: Alton Brown’s recipe… That’s the one I made 6.5 years ago, and it worked okay for me — though I did have to let it sit [in the fridge] for an hour for the majority of the milk to absorb. I remember being frustrated that it didn’t absorb as quickly as he said it was going to, and thinking that I’d done something wrong even though I’d followed the directions almost exactly [subbing out for the cake flour as you did here]. I’d never had tres leches cake before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but after the world going on about how awesome this cake was, I was severely underwhelmed. There were no interesting flavors or unique textures; it was just a very soggy cake with a sweet cream taste. *shrugs* I could just as easily make a gingerbread Bundt and pour eggnog over the served slices [as I did for National Bundt Day in 2014]. Do I just not understand the appeal of this cake?
Much too my surprise, this cake was NOT a soggy mess with dissolved whipped cream on day 2, but even more delicious! I only allowed 2 hours for the cake to soak before serving it. If I make it again, I will allow more time as that definitely improved the texture. I appreciate Deb toning down the sweetness, because this is still plenty.
Hi, My favourite is Trech leches. I crave for it all the time, but never find it available in the stores. I tried your recipe and it tastes so yummmm. I am gonna save this recipe. My family is totally bowled over with my 1st attempt. I made an entire tray with the hope of sharing it with friends, which I now doubt I will :)
Este pastel fue muy divertido para hacer. Lo hice con mis amigos, y pasamos mucho tiempo cuando haciéndolo. Recomiendo que uses menos leches porque hay demasiado en el pastel. Este pastel fue muy delicioso me gusta mucho
I ate a big piece right after baking, and it was pretty great. I thought the sweetness was spot on and I couldn’t stop licking the whip cream off the spoon. The cake worked out well for me too, and I even used a gas grill instead of the oven (the oven is currently out of order). It came out great, right around 19 minutes. Used 4 burners, two on low, two on medium high. About 5 minutes in, I turned all burners to low, and I got a beautiful golden cake 14 minutes later!
This was delicious, super-easy to make, and, unlike last week’s homemade marshmallow experiment, was easy to clean up after, too. :) I always hate spending the extra money on vanilla beans when I’m at the store, but every time I use them I remember why I go to the trouble and expense. Like other commenters, I also had a little trouble with bake time – at 24 minutes, the cake had formed a solid-looking (but extremely pale) top layer that jiggled like a waterbed when I moved the pan. I gave it a total of 20 extra minutes (in 5 minute increments) until it no longer waved at me when I moved the pan, turned a nice golden-brown color, and the tester came out clean.
Last weekend my boyfriend and I hosted dinner for 4 friends in our tiny studio. The bf made his famous chili and I was only making the Aleppo chili cornbread (and the cheese straws…I’m a little guilty of relying on smitten kitchen) but I realized I needed a dessert. The idea of tres leches seemed perfect! Everyone enjoyed it but I didn’t feel that rush of success until I spotted one houseguest eating it for breakfast! I then made bf take leftovers to work and it was a big hit. Definitely let it soak overnight, it just gets better!
Meringue/7 minute frosting and the cherry on top are traditional for us. Lovely post as always.
Pati Jinich has the most fabulous Tres Leche’s cake recipe on the planet…my go to. You might give it a try. Very few ingredients…and amazing flavor….perfect. My only changes are to leave the cake in the pan and not turn out onto a platter. Just easier to store leftovers back in the fridge that way. She also has a marble chocolate version which rocks as well.
Made this cake for a group of friends last night and we all agreed it was amazing!
Made this, finally, for my own birthday cake. This German girl served it to three native-born Mexicans and everyone of them loved it. None more than I did. Thank you once again, Deb!
So, this cake is perfect…I’m totally not confessing how many times I’ve made it since you posted it. LOVE. I had been hungry for tres leches and a friend’s “recipe” just used white cake mix…OK, but not awesome. Shortly after I made it that way, you shared this. SO much better!
Had to jump on and tell you about my brilliant husband’s inspired idea: Tres Leches Con Cafe. !! Once he suggested it I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I finally gave it a whirl this weekend.
I added 4 tsp espresso powder to the milks, and then another 2 tsp espresso powder to the whipped cream topping. I did both in the blender to make sure the espresso got mixed well. It was fabulous!
I love this recipe for Tres Leches, it is so good and want to make it for a big birthday celebration. Does anyone know if I can freeze the cake, then thaw and do the milk?
Just need something I can do ahead.
In what might be the dumbest question to date, I need to know ask how long does it take the Velveeta to melt in the crockpot? I’ve never used it before but plan on making queso on Saturday.
Brittany — Heh, I don’t remember how long, but of course hi vs. lo and if it was cold and if it was first cut into cubes will affect it. In cubes on high, probably not more than 20-30 minutes. That said, you can start it really early even because it can just stay warm without losing texture forever, because it’s made of magic. :)
Is there possibly a mistake in the cup to gram conversions? Wondering that my 250 grams of sugar don’t make a 1 1/4 cup, googled the conversions and it should be more (280g). Same with flour, which seems to be a little too much.
I usually don’t measure in cups and got my cup measure just yesterday, so used that on a scale and it was a bit off.
Is there any way to make this in advance and freeze part of it? I’m having a house warming party on May 15th. I was just worried the structure of the sponge cake would change too much in the freezer unlike other cakes. Thanks, Deb!
At what point will this be too soggy? I was going to make it tonight and serve it for a lunch party at work tomorrow? And could I make the whipped icing tonight and just put it on tomorrow? Thanks, can’t wait to try it!!
I’m an experience baker, but have never made a tres leches cake before and have only tasted it once before and wasn’t particularly excited about it. However my teenage son needed to bring something to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in his high school Spanish class and everyone else had already chosen chips/salsa/guacamole, etc. He has NEVER baked anything before in his life but we worked on it together so he could learn. (He’s an honors student, and great in school, but hasn’t even done much cooking. Before I could stop him he dumped the vanilla into the flour!!! So, we sieved it out and I added a bit more to the batter. He learned about wet ingredients and dry ingredients after that.)
We doubled the recipe so that I could take the rest for our Staff Appreciation luncheon at our middle school. It turned out beautifully. Not even knowing what it was supposed to taste like, I jokingly told one of the hispanic aides at the middle school to just tell me that it was good no matter what. She is pretty straight forward and was openly stunned when I told her I made a tres leches cake for everyone. She told me later that the staff was very impressed that it was homemade and she couldn’t believe that I had made one for the first time, being a “gringa”, because it was excellent!
I would have never tried this recipe without a reason as I just wasn’t that interested in tres leches cakes, but it really turns out a delicious cake. Thanks for the great recipe and for the fun memory with my oldest son. We will always remember his first cake!
PS – for Kristin (if you read this): I made our cakes yesterday afternoon and let them soak in the fridge overnight. At 6:30 this morning I made the whipped cream and put it on the cakes, then refrigerated them until lunchtime. By the time I got a slice, they had been cut, served, and sitting out for over an hour and the whipped cream was a little soft, but delicious and the cake was wet, but as I think it is supposed to be. It wasn’t quite soggy, but more like what I think of British pudding-y. Deb said to serve with sauce on the bottom, but that wasn’t going to work in high school or for a buffet, so I just added the sauce to the cake even though it was more liquid overall and it kind of oozed to the bottom anyway and worked out just fine.
Made this yesterday (as one does for Cinco de Mayo, even when one’s ancestry hails from as far for Mexico as can be) and my mother has declared it her favorite cake I’ve ever made. And while I might not go quite that far, I did have a hard time stopping eating it… Even after three huge pieces. Que. Bueno.
Thanks a lot, Deb! My husband and I now have to eat a giant, gorgeous, delicious cake all weekend, all by ourselves. Quel horreur. ;)
As always, this recipe was so easy to follow, and I never worried that I was doing something wrong because you have photos of each step. Bonus: delicious for breakfast the next day…
Just made it again (last time was late December) for my sister’s birthday. Different crowd ate it, but the reviews were just as raving!
Any thoughts on how this would hold up as a layer cake or a suggestion on how to dress it up a touch for a golden birthday?
Danica — I wouldn’t use this as a layer cake because it’s heavy and wet! But it doesn’t mean you cannot put candles on it.
My family (and I!) are in love with the soaking liquid. Can it be frozen? We wouldn’t be able to use it quickly enough, I think, before it went bad.
ohhhhh this was beyond fab, i live in mexico and for my sons party all were mexicans and ooh yeah baby everyone said it was the BEST tres leches they EVER had!!!!!!! now thats a fiesta
Made this for a party this weekend and it was a huge hit. My husband ate two huge pieces and he doesn’t even like sweets! Super yummy!
157: Can coffee be used instead of espresso powder for you addition.
My boyfriend requested a tres leches cake for his b-day–despite never having eaten it before (and I have never made or eaten it). Anyhow, my egg whites fell when I added sugar. I wasn’t sure how it would affect the cake–I think it made it “tough”? But since you add all the milks you can’t really tell? Regardless, it was delicious. I will definitely try to make it again (correctly). And I used Kahlua, as some commenters suggested, instead of rum because I had it. Thanks!!
Hi, Deb. Have you (or anyone else, please chime in) ever successfully frozen the soaking sauce for the tres leches? I loooove it in coffee, but [I assume] I wouldn’t be able to finish it before it goes bad.
I figure I could use an immersion blender to emulsify it, then pour it into ice cube trays. I am worried about it having a godawful/greasy/icky texture as it melts. What do you think?
I haven’t but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t freeze well. I agree it’s like manna.
I did end up freezing a (half) batch of the soaking liquid. Tastes amazing in coffee, but unless my freezer is too warm (it’s on lowest setting) they never get hard enough to pop out easily–and it’s a pain to dig out. I’ll try getting those silicone-bottomed ice cube trays (OXO, I think) and do it that way, though it will probably be a while since they’re a bit more than I care to spend right now
Sugar is antifreeze. They will never harden enough to pop out like ice cubes. Maybe you could freeze it in a pint container, like ice cream, and scoop out as much as you need for a cup of coffee?
i freeze condensed milk to use in coffee since we don’t usually go through it that quickly – just pour the can into a freezer-safe container. it never freezes hard, is always spoonable. cools my coffee just enough. also, tastes great straight off the spoon!
Oh, man! What a fantastic, absurdly simple idea. Thank you. Totally doing this
I wanted to make Tres Leches cupcakes. Do you think that would work? How would you adjust the baking time?
Cupcakes usually bake for between 18 and 25 minutes, so check at the earlier number and if they need more time, check each minute or two thereafter until they’re done.
I made this the other night and it was spectacular!! The only modification I made was to add an extra tablespoon of sugar and some vanilla bean paste in the whipped cream topping. This is my first time making tres leches and I definitely don’t need to experiment with other recipes cause I was so happy with these results. Husband and friend raved about it and husband is not easily wowed. Only issue – a minor one – was that my cake fell a bit in the middle and that issue became exaggerated a bit after the milks were soaked in. That being said – thanks for working out a five star recipe! You made me look good!!
This cake is wonderful! I have made it both as listed and with eggnog for the holidays. Because eggnog is really sweet, I dialed the sugar back a little and added a little bit of nutmeg to the dry ingredients to pump up the holiday flavor.
I made this yesterday and it turned out spectacularly. It is definitely not too sweet, and the crumb of the cake (coarse and yet light) absorbs the milks really well. I also love how the recipe is basically a one bowl recipe because the yolks are added to the stiff egg whites directly. I skipped the whipped cream and served it with black tea. I may do the whipped cream next time. It just looked so rich already I didn’t think the final whipped cream was necessary.
Hi! If I were to use cake flour (I have some on hand), Do I then use 2 cups of cake flour?
Aside from the whipped cream, could I make this two days in advance?
I want to serve this for dinner tomorrow night, say 6-ish. It’s not early afternoon, 1-ish. Is it too early in the day to make it? Do I make it, let it cool, but not soak it until later in the day? Help! ;)
My cake fell, badly (well, spectacularly). Should I start over? Pile it with whipped cream and count on no one noticing? I don’t know what happened, I baked it 23 minutes until a toothpick came out clean and it sprang back when touched, though falling seems like a classic under baked symptom. Thoughts?
I piled it with whipped cream and no one did notice. Even messed up it was delicious. Thank you. Can’t wait to do it right.
Mine fell a bit the first time I made it. The second time, I baked it significantly longer (my oven runs cool, so I am always compensating). It should be pretty dry-seeming when you remove it, not like a regular cake
Made this for my 17 year old daughter’s birthday. Such a hit! A guest even rated it better than the local bakery!
I”m making it for my 17 year old daughter’s bday today! :)
Tres leches is my daughter’s favorite cake and I want to make it for a bridal tea for her but don’t want to deal with cutting cakes, etc. Do you think this recipe will work in cupcake tins?
My husband requested this for his birthday. It could not have turned out better! This may be my favorite cake of all time.
I made this last night for Cinco de Mayo.. It is absolutely fabulous! It turned out deceptively light, and not overly sweet like some others I have tried in the past.
I cheated and made a mini on the side so that I could try it right away.. do not be tempted, this needs the full overnight soak!
I made this for a Cinco de Mayo potluck and it was fabulous. Everyone loved it! The recipe was easy to use and the cake turned out to be delicious. Next time I might add just a tad more sugar to the whipped topping. I topped mine with strawberries because my crew does not like cherries.
Tres Leches is my son’s favorite cake. I made your recipe this weekend for my son and his wife. They both agreed it was the best cake ever! Speaks volumes-they order it every time at Colombian restaurants and when visiting family in Bogota. By far the freshest tasting and even better the second day.
A friend requested I make this cake, but a chocolate version. What do you think? Substitute some cocoa powder for flour, and add some cocoa powder to the soaking liquid?
I’d replace the 1/4 cup cornstarch and an addition 1/4 cup of the flour with a good cocoa powder. You might even stir some melted chocolate into the soaking liquid, I might whisk the condensed milk in, a spoonful at a time so the chocolate stays smooth, then whisk in the remaining liquids. You could probably use a very dark chocolate since the soaking liquid is so sweet. And a little cinnamon might not be unwelcome either.
Awesome. Thank you so much for the prompt reply! I will let you know what I end up doing and how it turns out. Another quick question: do you mean using an entire 1/2 cup of cocoa powder?
Yup! It’s a lot but will give you a real chocolate intensity. Use less if you don’t want the intensity.
Hi Kari, my friend requested the same thing for her birthday! Did you end up trying this? I’m very curious as to how it turned out.
If you search for my name on this page, you’ll see a bunch of comments. One of them I wrote about making the chocolate version. Next time I’ll use 4oz chopped chocolate for the sauce but still the entire amount of cocoa powder Deb suggests. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, though, so I would refrain from adding anything to the whipping cream. I hope you really enjoy it.
Sometime this summer, I’m going to make a tiramisu version 🤩
Thanks so much!! That sounds awesome, hope you let us know if you do!
Can’t believe I haven’t commented on this before; I’ve made this cake four times, it’s a family favorite. My mother, in particular, has declared it her favorite cake, hence why I finally got around to commenting on Mother’s Day! The recipe is perfect as-is; I’ve only messed it up once, when I overworked the cake batter while folding in the dry ingredients, leading to a cake that sunk in the middle (but still ended up delicious when soaked with the tres leches and covered in whipped cream). I usually use almond milk in the cake and half-and-half in the tres leches soak, so I guess that technically makes mine a cinco leches cake?…
Can this be made as a layer cake? Soaking the bottom layer first, filling and then soak the top layer?
I feel like it might be too heavy and wet, but then this commenter mentions that bakeries sometimes do it (jam in the center sounds nice) so perhaps they know something I don’t. Regardless, it will taste awesome even if structurally imperfect.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I’m going to try making it for a bbq this weekend!
Hi! Can I half this recipe? And how? Should i do the same baking time in am 8*8 tin?
Yes, I’d use an 8×8 as well and the baking time might be the same or up to 10 minutes more quick, best to check a little early to be safe.
It was good, but next time I will increase the soaking liquid, the top half of my cake was still dry.
Hi Deb, any thoughts on using cinnamon in the whipped cream topping?
Go for it!
Hi, Deb! I just made the tres leche cake posted here and wish to serve it Sunday (today is Friday). Do you think I could pour the liquid now and cover and refrigerate or should I wait until tomorrow (sat) to pour and cover? Does it matter? Thanks!
Now is best because the more soaked, the better.
This cake is totally wonderful and perfect. It does seem to get better the longer it hangs in the fridge. So delicious. Everyone loved it.
Ok. So, I finally made the chocolate version that you (Deb) advised me on.
For those who missed it, this is what I changed:
Replace cake’s flour and cornstarch with:
1 1/2 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cocoa powder
To soaking liquid:
Add 4-8 oz chopped [very] dark chocolate
**I usually will make the soaking liquid while the cake is baking since I am used to making rum cake, which you should soak while the cake is hot**
I used a full 8 oz of chocolate: half unsweetened (100%), half semi-sweet (62%). I broke the bars into smallish pieces, then pulverized in my mini food processor. Heat the cream (not including the additional for whipped cream), then pour it over the chopped chocolate, as if one is making ganache. After a minute or so, gently whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth, then whisk in the cans of evaporated and s/c milks-makes a very thick sauce, compared to regular.
My oven runs a little slow, so I compensated with a higher temp setting (that I know from prior experience gets the temp to around 350deg). I have also had issues with my cake falling after a few minutes out of the oven (usually have added all the ambrosial soaking liquid by then), so I cooked the cake a bit longer than normal, while keeping a very close eye on it–nearly 10 mins!! I’d say it helped a lot, though, since even with the very thick solution, it fell not a jot!!
Ridiculously rich and chocolatey! I will definitely make this again. Was almost like pudding in the lower half, with no liquid pooling at all. The texture and taste were not anywhere close to regular tres leches, like a whole different cake. In hindsight, I could probably have gotten away with half of the chopped chocolate or even all semi-sweet, but it still got rave reviews–as anything one makes and brings in to work does.
Sorry, guys. I forgot to mention that I do stab the heck out of the cake, before saucing, with a thin skewer. Probably at least 200 times.
This. Cake. I should have known…Deb ..you have never let me down but this one reaaaly has my family thinking I’m the best baker ever!! I barely got to taste it before it disappeared but next time I’m grabbing a whole piece!! Thanks again for making me a hero!!
Hi my cake tastes really good but the texture is very grainy…i was so afraid of over mixing the flour into the eggs that i left the batter a little lumpy….could that be the reason?
I love your dinner party menus! I’ve used them a few times now. I’ve always had to search for this recipe to find the direct link to dinner party menus. The same for the brunch planner – although I can’t actually remember the exact recipe that I usually search for! Would you be able to add links to the Dinner Party and Brunch Menus in the More section? Unless it already is somewhere and I just keep missing it :)
Made this over the weekend, and i think I heard people licking their plates :). I baked it in a 9×13 glass pan and it came out okay, although it was *this* close to overflowing and needed an extra five minutes. Thanks for dependable recipes! I’m looking forward to getting and gifting your new book!
I noticed there is a question below about just using cake flour, but it isn’t answered. I have cake flour on hand, but not cornstarch. Would I use 240g cake flour? I’m assuming 1c cake flour=120g (I prefer to weigh).
I have now made this cake at least a half dozen times! It is a family favorite and turns out great every time. I usually don’t like tres leches but this cake turned me into a believer, highly recommend!
I am mixed up. You said you would t ever separate eggs for the cake and then your recipe calls for separating eggs? Which is best ?
Help please Deb!
I have made this cake three times- and it only worked the first time- the other two it fell spectacularly. What could be wrong? Whites whipped stiff- not overly folded flour- no open oven in middle of baking…
I loved it so much the first go round.
Has anyone tried making this with a gluten free flour?
No, I haven’t, but I would either:
1) Look up any gluten free sponge cake recipe and use that, or
2) Look up any gluten free sponge cake recipe, see how this compares, make tweaks, then use Deb’s.
The best tres leches i’ve ever tried is from Porto’s bakery un Burbank, CA. They cover the cake with meringue instead of whipped crean and it’s so moist that it doesn’t hold together when you serve it. It’s addictive!
Hi There, this is my go to recipe for Tres Leche cake and has been a family and friends favorite for years. I tried Tres Leche in every restaurant in Santiago Chile and then came home and found this one. Its from the web site https://hispanickitchen.com/recipes/tres-leches-cake-arequipe-whipped-cream/.
Love your web site, thanks for sharing.
This recipe made me a tres leches cake believer. Never been a fan in restaurants but SK’s version blows them all to smithereens. It took longer than I expected to get the egg whites to stiff peaks once I added the sugar, but it all worked out and the cake rose like a dream. Muy delicioso!! Gracias, Deb.
Also I baked this in a glass dish so I lowered the baking temp to 325 and it took more like 25-30 minutes but wasn’t overly browned on the outside which can happen with glass.
Thanks for the reminder. I lowered the temp before it burned and it turned out great!
This was a total hit at the Cinco De Mayo pitch-in I went to over the weekend. Directed all of them to your lovely website for the recipe.
I made this Saturday, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, and where I thought the cake tasted wonderful, it was too soggy…. definitely too much of the milk mixture. I loved the sweetness, not too sweet. The whipped cream made such a nice icing. But next time I will use less of the milk. The milk pooled in the bottom of the cake pan. For me, it seems like I should hold out approx. a cup and a half, vs only half a cup.
OMG!! This was fantastic! I used coconut milk instead of the cream for the liquid milk component. I was a little nervous when I poured it over the cake whether it would be a soggy mess when I went to cut it but it held up beautifully. Thanks again for another stellar recipe!
This cake was perfection, may be my new fave. Sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for “confetti” and they were not only visually fun, they added tiny tart & pop to every bite. Thank you!!
As always with Deb’s recipes, I adjust NOTHING and it comes out amazingly every time! I am not a strong baker. My attempts at baking have ranged from “passable for food” to “laughably disgusting”, but this cake and the 5 other baking recipes I have tried from this site and her book have turned out great! I recommend this site to anyone looking for great guidance and exceptional food.
Can I make this cake say on Thursday to serve on Saturday? I’ll be out of town on Friday so can’t do anything then.
This site is my go-to to find cake recipes to bring in for work celebrations, and this particular recipe is an absolute favorite of both myself, as the baker, and for those consuming it. It’s relatively simple to assemble for such a delightful, delicious payoff, and is almost always chosen when I take requests. I have coworkers from a previous office begging me to bring this cake in. I absolutely love it.
I’ve made this both with the vanilla beans when I had them on hand, and with just the extract. Can’t say I have a preference. Never happened to have rum on hand when making this, so I’m not sure what I’m missing there, but it’s freakin great without it anyway. I think the only modification I’ve ever made is that once I added confetti sprinkles to the cake batter just for fun.
Do you think I could turn this recipe into cupcakes?
I will certainly defer to Deb, her being the EXPERT(!!!), but I would be wary of making this into cupcakes, as: A—You cannot use paper, foil would probably be easy to poke through as well; B— It would be hard to grease the wells enough to pop when wet, without falling apart. It *may* be possible to use silicone cupcake “papers”. I just, wouldn’t do it.
What do you think?
Hi I’m curious about the technique here? Isn’t it more common to fold in the whipped egg whites at the end?
Yes, Katya, it certainly is. I was actually cringing the first time I made this (probably the second, too, assuming the first was a fluke). The way Deb wrote this totally works, though. i promise!!!
Thanks, Karig, it turned out great! :)
My husband’s family is Mexican and everyone in the family usually wants a Tres Leches Cake for their birthday. I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was a huge hit! Everyone raved at how light the sponge cake was. The rum was a perfect addition to the 3 milks! I added 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the whipped cream topping so that it would last a bit longer. My husband wanted sliced strawberries on the cake which balanced out the flavors nicely. I think I will be “volunteered” to make this cake for everyone’s birthdays.
How many people does this serve? I need to have enough for 40 people 😬
I love tres leches cake but it has always seemed too complicated for me to try on my own. Not only was this recipe easy to follow, but the cake is amazing and incredibly delicious. It was an instant hit! Thank you for this great recipe.
Has anyone had success making this into a layer cake? I’m thinking about making it for a fiesta themed bridal shower, but I’d like to class it up a bit from just a slab (although it does sound delicious!).
I was really tired and made this cake and accidentally forgot the baking powder… and it was still SO delicious that every dinner guest had seconds!! Thanks Deb!
Delicious! I made it today and got lots of compliments. I only let it sit for about 3 hrs (3:30 pm to 7 pm) before serving, and it was moist enough.
Thanks Deb for another great cake.
My cake did fall a bit but it was fine in the end as the whipped cream topping covered up any mistakes.
Hi, is it possible to replace the AP flour, cornstarch, baking powder with 2 cups of cake flour? Thanks!
I haven’t tested it but… probably. Make sure you’re using self-rising cake flour.
I imagine you can replace the former two with cake flour, but baking powder is a whole different animal. You will need the baking powder.
Been wanting to make this cake for ages and Voila, yesterday was the day! Excitedly nervous at the start as I always am with cake baking, and that just became a downright confident woohoo when I tasted it last night after it had soaked for a few hours! Serving it last night to our Venezuelan friends who absolutely loved it and the rest is for other friends tonight plus a little bit extra for me! Thank you so much, Deb.
Hi so I made this the first time I made it it came out so moist so good but now when i make it it comes out dry half moist half dry. What could I be doing wrong. I though tit was the cooling.
Hi, I’m going to make this but I want to eat it through out the week instead of finishing it in one day. Should I make a stabilized whipped cream or will your whipped cream recipe hold up ok?
Hi there! Long-time follower and fan here, I’ve made several of your celebration cakes and LOVED them. :)
I’m making a “chocolate tres leches cake with dulche de leche frosting” as a favor for my friend’s girlfriend’s birthday. The cake is pretty different from this – no eggs, the addition of butter, etc. The frosting it calls for looks quite sweet (a combo of mascarpone cheese, whipped cream and dulche de leche.) How would you recommend making the tres leches cake chocolate? I could follow this other recipe to a T, but it looks too sweet in my opinion. Any advice would be great!
Here’s the recipe too: https://www.laylita.com/recipes/chocolate-tres-leches-cake/
Just wondering if you’ve ever made your own crema…
We just returned from a quick trip to San Antonio, and my daughter loved the Mexican-American food. I made this cake today for her birthday; it was delicious and enjoyed by all! (And she declared it better than what we tried in Texas!) Thank you!
Pfizer Viagra Wiki [url=https://buyciallisonline.com/#]Cialis[/url] Generic Cialis Online Pharmacy Reviews Buy Cialis Zithromax Vs Penicillin
My friend suggested I make this cake (had never heard of it before). I hesitated because it seemed too weird and that it would be weird and soggy. Sure enough, it was REALLY soggy. My husband liked it, but it was totally not to my taste. So just be warned – it is as soggy as it appears to be.
This is the best cake with be ever made. So easy and simple but SO delicious and not too sweet! I halved it and made in a square cake pan and it was perfect. Everyone loved it and I’ll be making this again and again.
I just made this cake, and it’s fantastic!
Thanks for the amazing and pretty easy recipe!
I have a surplus of cake flour how does the substitution work for ap flour and cornstarch ?
I make my own cake flour with this formula, so perhaps you can reverse it here?
So so good! And so sweet, definitely not one to make for a small household – need help to eat this guy!
Thanks Deb xx
This cake is delicious. I subbed 2 cups of cake flour (KAF so not self-rising) for the AP flour and cornstarch, and it worked perfectly. It took a long time, at least five minutes on high, to reach stiff peaks once I added the sugar. Baking took 24-25 minutes (glass pan). Had to use whipped cream from a can on each slice because I was short on heavy cream, and added a little cinnamon sprinkle on top. Fantastic! Thanks!
I had problems getting stiff peaks in the egg whites after the sugar was added, any tips for that? Meringue has always been a disaster for me so that’s not surprising. I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8 pan but the cake sunk quite a lot in the middle, i expect because of the liquidy egg whites. It’s soaking in the fridge right now but I’m hoping it tastes good enough to ignore the presentation
If it wasn’t getting thicker, the sugar may have been added too fast. If the peaks didn’t seem stiff, but glossy and basically staying in place, that’s basically the look you want once sugar’s been added.
It was very liquidy so i probably added sugar too fast. Thanks for the advice! I’ll try this again for sure because it tasted great!
I had never had Tres Leches Cake but after stumbling across this while looking through the cake recipes, I became fixated on the idea. SO GOOD. It’s like putting a glass of sweet milk into a slice of cake. I at the whole thing by myself over my birthday weekend to celebrate my quarantine birthday. I don’t have a mixer, only a wisk and a decently strong arm, and it still turned out amazing. A new favorite of mine.
I made this for the first time this weekend and it was a hit. The only issue I had was that I found some portions of the cake to be on the drier side and less saturated than other portions, which were perfectly saturated. Any idea why that would be? The cake lay flat in the fridge, and the pan I baked it in isn’t warped.
I have made this so often it a friend of mine requested it for a gathering on the day I come back from vacation. Could I do the cake now in advance and freeze it? And then soak the day of?
I have now made this cake twice, and each time it was an unqualified success. Thank you, Deb! I misread the instructions the first time and thought it said to use a wooden dowel, not a wooden skewer, to poke holes in the cake. I was worried that the large holes would cause the cake to fall apart, but it didn’t. It sliced perfectly. Using the handle of a wooden spoon was quick (a fraction of the holes to poke), and the cake was none the worse for the wear. And voilà, a new shortcut was discovered!
Every time I make this the middle takes forever to bake/sinks when I finally take it out bc I’m worried the rest is burning.
I still get so many compliments but how do I fix this!!
I have lost count of how many times I’ve made this cake! It’s always a huge hit. I’ve even doubled it for a big party with no problems!
I’ve also made two variations. First, chocolate tres leches cake. As you suggest, I replace the 1/4 cup cornstarch and an additional 1/4 cup flour with cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process), and add 4 oz melted chocolate (either semisweet or bittersweet depending on your tastes) to the soaking liquid. The other variation I’ve tried is a cafe con tres leches cake–for that, I heat the 1/4 cup milk to scalding and stir in 2 tsp instant espresso powder, then set aside to cool before adding to the cake batter as instructed. I also add 4 tsp instant espresso powder to the soaking liquid–I find the best way to do this is heat the evaporated milk to scalding, stir in the espresso until completely dissolved, and again set aside to cool before mixing with the condensed milk and cream and soaking the cake. I don’t make any alterations to the whipped cream topping, though, which I find works best (and looks best!) left plain.
Thanks for posting this terrific and endlessly adaptable recipe!
This was amazing. Really does need to be left overnight. I added kahlua instead of rum and doubled the amount. Topped with fresh strawberries and peaches on top of the whipped cream.
This was amazing. Really does need to be left overnight. I added kahlua instead of rum and doubled the amount. Topped with fresh strawberries and peaches on top of the whipped cream.
This cake was incredible! It’s now Sunday morning and I baked and soaked the cake on Thursday afternoon, and it’s still definitely on the upward swing, getting more tender but still holding its shape nicely. Definitely recommend making it a few days in advance!
This is such a great recipe! For mine I like to add ¼ teaspoon of ground Cinnamon to give it an extra kick, it’s perfect! I’m surprised that Deb doesn’t have it included in this recipe.