Cakes/ Dessert

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Friends. We are ONE WEEK away from Cinco de Mayo.

We have some Mexican-food-making to do.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Because my dad was a Spanish professor for so many years, I’ve grown up celebrating all of the Mexican holidays. As kids, (and still today) our two favorites were Dia de Los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo. And really, we just celebrated with food.

Dia de Los Muertos meant Colada Morada, a warm, spiced berry drink, sugar skulls, and Pan de Muerto, a sweet bread sorta similar to hot cross buns, while Cinco de Mayo meant tacos, guac, and chips & salsa. My thinking is, if there’s a holiday happening somewhere in the world, why not celebrate? It’s such a fun, eye-opening experience to learn about other cultures & their traditions.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

SO. In preparation for this year’s Cinco de Mayo partayyy, the first recipe I’m presenting you with is a coconut tres leches cake. Never heard of tres leches cake before? Or maybe you just don’t know what it is? It’s a sweet, light sponge cake, soaked in tres leches, or three milks, {coconut milk (in non-coconut versions it’s usually evaporated milk), heavy cream, & sweetened condensed milk} and covered in whipped cream and toasted coconut. The coconut flavor in this cake is actually quite mild, so all you coconut haters out there don’t have an excuse to not try it 😉 If you’re a coconut lover, coconut whip would be a dreamy replacement for the whipped cream on top. Up to you!

It’s essentially a Mexican poke cake – and it’s seriously amazing. Why soggy cake tastes so good, I can’t tell ya. How soggy cold cake can taste so good, I can’t tell ya that either. I guess it’s just a divine process we can’t question.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

How do you feel about Cinco de Mayo? Did you grow up celebrating any fun cultural traditions?

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cake
Serves: 1 9x13 cake
  • For the cake:
  • 1½ c all-purpose flour, spoon & leveled
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t salt
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1½ c sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 t vanilla
  • ½ c light coconut milk
  • For the glazey topping:
  • 1 c sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • For the whippy topping:
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1 T sugar
  • ½ t vanilla
  • toasted flaked coconut, optional
  • fresh berries, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter & flour a 9x13 pan.
  2. Toss flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Turning the mixer down to medium speed, slowly add in all of the sugar, followed by the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla.
  4. Slowly add in all of the dry ingredients on low speed, followed by the coconut milk.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top to spread the batter evenly.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Keeping the cake in the pan, let cool on a wire rack. With a fork, poke holes all over the cake.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and heavy cream. Pour half of this mixture over the cake, using a spoon to gently spread it all over, ensuring the glaze seeps into the holes. Once that half has been soaked in, pour the rest of the glaze mixture over the cake, again spreading it around with a spoon to evenly coat the cake. *At this stage, you may refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.*
  9. With an electric hand mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the cake and garnish with toasted flaked coconut and berries, if desired. Enjoy!
  10. This cake is best eaten within 24-48 hours. Keep refrigerated.

{Adapted from Bon Appetit}

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  • Reply
    Rebecca @ NOURISHED. the blog
    May 4, 2016 at 7:44 am

    This looks just so lovely! I’ve never had tres leches cake before.. or any poke cake, really. So I definitely need to fix that. Love all the coconut here!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you, Rebecca! Oh my goodness – poke cake is so good, you seriously have to try it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Claudia | The Brick Kitchen
    May 3, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Oooh it sounds amazing! So much lovely coconut and creaminess going on, and very envious of all those fresh spring strawberries. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo <3

    • Reply
      May 3, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you, Claudia!!! Spring strawberries are my absolute favorite 🙂

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Okay I totally forgot how close Cinco de Mayo is from now, and this post totally has me excited for all the tacos I will consume that day. And now, this cake! Looks so lovely and sounds like a dream!!

    • Reply
      April 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      I’m so excited too!! Thanks, Erica 🙂

  • Reply
    Alexa []
    April 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    “My thinking is, if there’s a holiday happening somewhere in the world, why not celebrate?” ESPECIALLY when there are tacos and this GORGEOUS tres leches cake involved!! Beautiful photos, Lucia <3

    • Reply
      April 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks, girl!!! 🙂

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