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Tres Leches Cake With A Coconut Kick

Cinco de Mayo is coming up and who doesn’t love a reason to celebrate with tacos and margaritas?!?!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to put my own little spin on Tres Leches Cake! What is Tres Leches Cake? It’s a delicious concoction of three different kinds of milk, drizzled all of the cake, so the cake soaks up all that richness to form one of the softest, moistest cakes you’ve ever had!!

While this is a super easy cake to make, there are quite a few steps to this cake. Don’t worry though, they’re all like beginner-level stuff here!

The first step is having to make the cake, which involves whipping up some egg whites and incorporating those into the cake batter. You’ll see in the recipe that I add about a cup of egg whites first into the batter, and you can just mix those in like normal. These are the sacrificial egg whites that we use to lighten up the batter. The batter is super thick compared to the airy egg whites, so we want to lighten the batter to make sure all of the egg whites incorporate smoothly without deflating them. That’s why we add our sacrificial egg whites because we don’t have to worry about these deflating too much.

The second portion of dealing with egg whites is the motion you use while stirring in the egg whites. Unlike normal stirring that uses a circular motion horizontally, we want to use a delicate circular motion vertically. So you take your spatula and kind of cut through the batter in the middle of the bowl, and then scoop it up and kind of fold over the batter onto itself. It’s like folding the bottom layer onto the top, hence the name folding! You want to fold the egg whites into the batter!

The other recipe note I have is about the coconut whipped cream! If you’re going to use coconut milk like the recipe has, make sure you put the can of coconut milk into the fridge a day or two before you’re going to use it, so the fats in the milk can separate from the water. This is the part that will whip up into fluffy, airy cream!

If you don’t have that kind of time on your hands, just make regular whipped cream using heavy cream, and add in a teaspoon of coconut extract!


1 cup of flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

5 eggs, whites and yolks separated

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 cup of milk

For the Leches topping:

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk

For the whipped cream topping:

2 cans (13.5 oz) of coconut milk, refrigerated

1/4 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Cherries with stems, for garnish

Shredded coconut, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set the bowl aside.

In another small bowl, add egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar. Whisk together until the egg yolks are a pale yellow and the sugar is fully mixed in.

To the egg yolks, add the milk, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Stir together.

Slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir together.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on, add the egg whites. Begin to whip at a medium speed, until the egg whites are frothy. Slowly, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to the egg whites. I like to tap the measuring cup on the side and let the sugar gently fall out into the egg whites.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Soft peaks mean that when you take the whisk attachment off and flip it upside down, the egg white tips might gently fall, but still hold their structure.

To combine the egg whites with the cake batter, take about a cup of the egg whites and put it into the batter. Stir the egg white in, you don’t have to be too gentle yet.

Then, taking about 1/3 of the egg whites at a time, gently fold them into the batter.

After all the egg whites have been incorporated, pour the batter into a 9 by 13 baking dish and place in the oven for about 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean!

When the cake is done, let it cool completely.

In the meantime, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk into a large measuring cup. Stir everything together.

After the cake is cooled, take a toothpick or a skewer and poke holes all throughout the cake. Then gently pour the milk mixture all over the top of the cake.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.

To finish the cake, whip up the coconut whipped cream. Take the cans of coconut milk out of the refrigerator and scoop out the solid part of the coconut milk. Place that in the bottom of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed.

Add in powdered sugar and vanilla.

When the coconut milk is whipped up and forms soft peaks, gently place the whipped cream onto the cake. Spread it all over the top!

Garnish with some toasted coconut flakes and a few cherries!

This cake is so soft and moist, it practically dissolves in your mouth! I love the creamy milk combination with the fresh, bright zing of the coconut! Seriously, if you’re on the fence about Tres Leches Cake, don’t be! Give it a try and you fall in love three times over!

-Holly Michelle

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