Toasted Tres Leches Cake

Toasted Tres Leches Cake | the little epicurean

No matter how much fun I have traveling and exploring other places, there really isn’t any place quite like home.  The familiar smells, my oh so comfortable couch, and my closet.

And usually after about day three, I miss my kitchen terribly.  (And let’s not even talk about how much I missed my dog Charlie.  At least I know he was in good hands.)

I arrived back in LA late last night.  I had a terrible time trying to fall asleep and then I woke up way too early this morning.  My body must still think I’m on the East Coast.  I woke up at 4am ready for breakfast.  After eating, it was already way too hot to go back to sleep.  So I got dressed and made cake.

I have been wanting to make tres leches cake for the longest time.  However, I have been pushing it off because I feared it would difficult to photograph. I wasn’t sure how pretty or appetizing I could make a soaked white cake look.  And then I thought…I could add a meringue topping and torch it!

Confession. I love my kitchen torch.  I am constantly finding a reason to use it.  So far I only have three recipes that require use of a torch: creme brûlée, s’mores fudge bars, and mini cheesecake brûlées.  I want that list to be longer.

tres leches cake

Toasted Tres Leches Cake

Toasting the meringue topping not only adds a pop of color, it also brings a nice contrasting flavor to this otherwise very rich and very sweet cake.

Tres Leches translates to “three milks.”  For this recipe, I used a combination of whole milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk.  Many recipes use heavy cream (or half and half), but I decided to use whole milk to lighten it just a tad.

tres chleches Tres Leches Cake | the little epicurean Tres Leches Cake | the little epicurean

Tres leches cake is easy to make.  The only negative- it doesn’t keep for very long.  It is best served the day it is made, especially because of the toasted meringue topping.

When stored in the fridge for too long, eventually the meringue will separate and you’ll end up with a puddle of a mess.  I suggest planning ahead and making this fabulous dessert when you know you’ll have people over.

If you made the cake on a whim (like me), make friends with your neighbors and give them a giant piece.  Having this large sheet cake all to yourself is dangerous and highly not recommended.

Now that I’ve overcome my tres leches cake photo phobia, I think I’ll be making this again during the holidays.

I wouldn’t mind splashing a little rum or coffee liquor to the milk soaking mixture to spike up the flavors.  I can’t wait until December because I really, really, really want to make a spiked eggnog tres leches cake.  YES.

Toasted Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake is a white cake soaked in "three milks." Adding a toasted meringue topping not only adds a pop of color, it also brings a nice contrasting flavor to this otherwise very rich and very sweet cake.

Yield: 1- 9''x13'' cake pan

Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Sponge Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

Tres Leches:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk

Meringue Topping:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9"x13" baking pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until mixture has thickened and is pale in color. Add milk and mix until incorporated.

  4. Add dry flour mixture and mix until combined.

  5. Whip egg whites to medium peaks and gently fold into batter until there are no longer any white streaks.

  6. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking pan. Spread into an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes until top of cake is golden brown. Leave cake in pan and let cool to room temperature.

Tres Leches:

  1. Using a fork (docker or skewers), poke holes throughout the cooled cake.

  2. Whisk together milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Pour a little bit at a time over poked cake. Once all the milks have been added to cake, let cake stand for about 30 minutes until all the liquids are fully absorbed.

Meringue:

  1. In a small sauce pot, combine sugar and water.  Set over medium-high heat and cook to 238 degrees F.

  2. Meanwhile, the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed. Once mixture is foamy, increase speed slightly and whisk to soft peaks. By this time, the sugar syrup should have reached its desired temperature. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup.

  3. Once all the sugar syrup as been added, increase speed and beat until shiny, stiff peaks. Add vanilla and salt and whisk until incorporated.

  4. Spoon meringue over milk soaked cake. Use the back of the spoon to evenly distribute meringue. Use a kitchen torch to brown and toast the meringue. Slice and serve immediately.

Toasted Tres Leches Cake | the little epicurean

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Comments

Katie @ Butterlust

Eggnog tres leches?! You’re a genius!! I love the addition of toasty topping to this one — the perfect balance to the, erm, soggy (but in a good way) cake!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Yes! I am waiting until it’s appropriate to finally start making eggnog desserts. :)

Liz @ Floating Kitchen

Oh I never use my torch because I’m afraid I’m going to burn up my kitchen! Glad you have more chops than me. This cake looks gorgeous!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Liz! Just be careful when using the torch. Have no fear and you won’t burn your kitchen :)

Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)

This looks super delicious. I am officially craving a slice of this now before bedtime.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Jocelyn! I don’t think it’s ever too late (or too early) for cake! :)

Jen @ Baked by an Introvert

You did a great job making the cake look all pretty and appetizing. I could go for a huge slice right now.

Thalia @ butter and brioche

I am totally craving a slice of this tres leches cake right now, loving everything about it. Pinned!

Suzanne @ Flour Arrangements

Another excuse to use my torch! Hooray! This looks lovely.

Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

I don’t know why you were so scared – these photographs are stunning! I’m also a huge fan of finding an excuse to pull out the kitchen torch at all times.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Sarah! Eh, I’m just super picky and critical of my photography.

    Lol, I’m always trying to find things to brulee.

Alyssa

Great dessert to serve at holiday parties! I just wanted to let you know that I have a food photo submission site at Simply Creative Recipes and I am linking to this post if you don’t mind. You are welcome to submit your recipes to my site if you’d like.

rachel

Hi Maryanne!

Really loved this recipe. Wanting to make it this weekend but have some guests who don’t eat eggs. Any way I can make the cake batter eggless with still keeping the fluffiyness? I was thinking yogurt or vinegar+baking soda?? Any tips since you are the baking God!! 😻 Was going to use whipped cream instead on the meringue anyways, photos were absolutely gorgeous! <3

(made a typo in my blog website so don't mind the double comment, couldn't figure out how to delete the above one)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi Rachel! For this specific cake recipe, you cannot substitute the eggs. The egg whites help to create the structure in the cake.

Cindy Rodriguez

Holy cow this looks amazing! I don’t even know where to begin. I love using the kitchen torch as well and this makes for such a beautiful and I’m sure highly addicting cake.

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