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May 5, 2015

Tres Leches Cake

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo today? In addition to your margaritas and your tacos, you might want a little dessert. If that is the case, I have a recommendation for you: Tres Leches Cake! If you are unfamiliar, it is basically a vanilla sponge cake drenched with milk (evaporated, sweetened condensed, and half and half) covered in whipped cream, and in my version, fruit. It is muy, muy delicioso!

This was my second time making this Tres Leches cake recipe from Alton Brown. It is a bit of an odd recipe in that it calls for flour measured in ounces, which necessitates a scale. If you don't have a scale, I can tell you that the amount of flour to use is somewhere between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 cups. I would err on the side of too much flour over not enough, unless you want your cake to turn to mush under the influence of all that leche! For best results, you really should break out the scale.

Tres Leches Cake (adapted from Alton Brown's recipe)


For the cake:
Vegetable oil, cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 13 by 9-inch pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Also, the batter should seem thick and sticky. If it doesn't, you didn't add enough flour. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork.

For the glaze:

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. The middle of the cake seems to soak up the glaze better, so I recommend pouring a little bit of the mixture there and letting it soak in before adding more. Using this method, it took about 10 minutes for most of the milk mixture to soak into my cake. Refrigerate the cake for 8 hours or overnight.


Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on medium speed until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and top with fruit if desired. Allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

This cake doesn't keep very well, so it's a good choice for a larger gathering or party. Or a small party of people who love Tres Leches Cake. If you are looking for such people, give me a call!

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