Cinco de Mayo is coming up soon which is a perfect excuse to eat some of my favorite foods. A few years ago I received a request from a friend for a Tres Leches Cake which led me to scour the internet comparing recipes. I tried out a couple of recipes before landing on this one and I’ve made it at least a dozen times since then. My friend does a lot of work on my car for me, and a Tres Leches Cake is often part of the compensation!
Tres Leches Cake is a soft, lightly spiced cake that is soaked with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (three milks = tres leches) and then covered in a generous amount of whipped cream and another sprinkle of cinnamon. I thought the cake would end up being soggy and weird, but it’s actually super moist and flavorful. Definitely a different texture than a regular cake, but a delicious variation. I love that the cake isn’t too heavy, it works well after a filling meal.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 5 tbl. corn syrup
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- Maraschino cherries
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the sugar then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the melted butter mixture and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions then mix until just incorporated.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Make the milk mixture while the cake is baking. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on low power, stirring and replacing the plastic every 4 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the microwave and slowly whisk in the evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla. Place in the fridge to cool to around room temperature while the cake is baking.
- Once the cake has cooled for a few minutes, use a skewer (chopsticks from Chinese take-out work well for this) to poke holes at ½ inch intervals all over the top of the cake. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake taking care to evenly cover the cake. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate the cake for 3 to 24 hours.
- Remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread evenly over the cake. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with maraschino cherries.
- The cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Cook’s Country