Tres Leches Cake

I made this special cake for a special somebody’s special birthday.  I hear this cake is particularly difficult to make – it’s meant to be perfectly moist with three different kinds of milk, and if it’s not done right, then the cake can come out either really dry or really wet.  Not to mention that the cake itself should be tasty and the people who are trying this have pretty high expectations.  OH YEAH, challenge accepted.

I’m going to use a recipe from one of my favorite chef geeks, Alton Brown, who contributed this recipe to the Food Network website.  What I love even more about this is that he did a video for this recipe too.  Thank you, Mr. Brown.  Thank you.

This is what I needed for the cake:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

And this is what I needed for the glaze:

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half

And the the topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces sugar  (I didn’t want the topping to be too sweet so I substitituted this for half a cup of Splenda.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Not sure if you caught it, because I’m never sure if my readers actually pay attention to the ingredients list unless they’re going to attempt the recipe themselves, but the measurements are by weight, not volume.  That means I probably would have a hard time doing the conversions if I didn’t have a…..


That’s right folks, I used a kitchen scale for this one! WOOOO! Isn’t it cute?  It even says “hello” to me when I turn it on.  The fact that it misspells “hello” gives it extra cute points.

Because I have this super cheap but super effective scale on my team now, I can accurately measure all of my ingredients.  No more guessing which position I’m supposed to be at to be level with my measuring cup.  I’m shooting for precision here.

Alright alright it’s cake bakin’ time.  I did my dry ingredients routine: whisked the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

I took extra care getting the batter ready because I don’t have a fancy schmancy cake mixer and had to work with a regular ol’ hand mixer (which I found out works totally fine).  I DID let my eggs and butter sit out until they became room temperature before I started.  The butter was beat until fluffy, then I gradually added the sugar and then the eggs one at a time. Next came the vanilla extract and the flour, which I did slowly because I had no intention of getting dry flour blown up in my face.

I spread the batter evenly in greased and floured pan…

tresleches (2)

 and then put it in the oven for about 20 minutes OR until it had an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Nailed the temperature!

tresleches (4)

While the cake was in the oven, I mixed the leches (Espanol for milks) together.  When the cake cooled completely, I stabbed it a hundred times and then poured the milk over the cake.

At first the cake looks flooded in milk and doesn’t seem like it will soak, but it does after three or four minutes.

tresleches (5)

Alton says to leave it overnight in the fridge let to the milk soak into the cake longer.  Aye aye, captain.

The next day I got the whipped topping ready, which is awesomely made by dumping two cups of heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla into a mixing bowl and beating it until it becomes thick and fluffy, like Cool Whip, but better.

I forgot to take a picture of this, because at this point my tasters were starting to realize that this cake was starting to come out better than anyone thought, so I had to calm them down and make them wait until after dinner.  I covered up the cake and let it chill in the fridge until it was time to eat.

tresleches (6)

How adorable is that little square of tres leches cake? The answer is super adorable.  The cake was really easy to cut, so the pieces came out smooth and perfect.  The whipped topping wasn’t too sweet, just how I like it, and the cake came out very moist and fluffy.  I my opinion, perfectly moist – it didn’t leave an ocean of milk at the bottom of the pan but left just a trace of milk to indicate its milkiness.  It seemed like the milk didn’t quite reach the center, because there were a few dry spots, perhaps from my lack of stabbing in the cake’s center or that I didn’t pour enough milk there.  It didn’t matter though – it was still very tasty.

I got plenty of compliments on this cake, especially since my tasters knew how hard it can be to make it from scratch.  Woo hoo!!

Presentation:  Totes adorbs!
Edibility:  Look, this cake was so edible, it was gone in 24 hours.  No lie.  That’s like a record for me.
Tastiness:  Refer to the line above.
Rematch?:  Absolutely!


2 thoughts on “Tres Leches Cake

  1. Love that someone else can find things like kitchen scales and perfectly cut pieces of cake adorable — and bonus points for using “totes.” One of my favorite words! =) Anyways, good job — looks like a total success!

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