Tres leches cake is usually served in a sheet cake pan, because it's sponge cake that has been drenched with a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream. The pan allows the extra liquid to pool at the bottom and eventually soak up into the cake. But if you make the cake a day ahead of time, and the milk mixture is allowed to soak into the cake overnight, you can serve it as a beautiful layer cake with fluffy meringue icing. This delicious coconut version has coconut milk in both the cake itself, and in the "three milk" mixture that moistens the cake.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- White cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) sour cream
- 1/3 cup melted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons rum or pisco
- 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 5 ounce can evaporated milk
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- Shredded sweetened coconut for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degress.
- Add the cake mix to the mixing bowl of a standing mixer. (Or a large bowl, if you are going to mix it by hand with a whisk). Add the eggs and ½ cup water, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the softened cream cheese, melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, coconut flavoring, and 2 tablespoons rum (optional) and mix on medium speed for 1 – 2 minutes, until well-blended.
- Pour into 2 9-inch cake pans lined with wax paper. Bake for about 20 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cake cool for 15 minutes.
- While cake cools, make the milk ‘syrup’ that will soak into the cooled cake. In a bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, the evaporated milk, the whipping cream (those are the three kinds of milk, or ‘tres leches’), the coconut milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
- Remove the cakes from the pan, and peel the wax paper off of the bottom. Place the wax paper back into the pan. Flip the cakes over and place them back into the pans upside down, with the porous sides facing up.
- Slowly drizzle half of the milk mixture over each cake. It will not soak in immediately, and may pool in the sides and the bottom at first. Tilt pan around some to help distribute the milk mixture.
- Cover cakes with saran wrap and chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- To make the meringue topping, place egg whites in the (very clean) bowl of an electric mixer, and attach the wire whisk.
- Place the sugar, 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and pinch of salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
- When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches about 240 degrees Fahrenheit (after about 3 minutes), turn on the mixer and start beating the egg whites. When the temperature reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit (117 degrees Celsius), remove the syrup from the heat. (The total cooking time is about 4 minutes, and the sugar syrup should make thin threads if you drizzle it off of a fork, and will have thickened.)
- The egg whites should be forming stiff peaks. Slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl, into the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat the meringue until it cools, about 5 minutes.
- Place one layer of the cake onto a plate, and spread a layer of icing over the top. Top with other layer. Spread sides and top of cake with icing. Sprinkle top with shredded coconut.