06 July 2010

Tres Leche Cake

Diary lovers rejoice!  Calorie counters hide!
For I have made the Tres Leche Cake!

When I first saw Alton Brown make this cake on Good Eats in 2007, I knew I had to try it myself.  As a self-proclaimed dairy lover, the name alone suggests this cake is definitely for me.  The episode "Milk Made" originally aired on June 6, 2007, so I convinced Angela to let me make it for her on her birthday.  I made the cake and the results were less than desirable.  The cake didn't absorb all of the milk mixture and was somewhat soupy, way too wet for my liking.  Everyone ate it, and didn't complain, but it was not the result I was looking for.  I held on to the recipe but I didn't attempt to make the cake again, nor did I have any requests.  Until...

This year I asked Angela what kind of birthday cake she would like, and to my surprise, she said tres leche cake.  I was nervous to make it, but determined not to let her down again.  I figured I had three more years of cooking experience since the last time I made it, so I should be able to execute it much better than I did last time.  I followed the recipe word for word, and even took the internal temperature of the cake with my thermometer.  The morning of her party, I spread the whipped cream on top of the cake and hoped for the best.

To my delight, the cake turned out much better this time.  It is moist, milky, sweet, and very rich.  A little bit goes a long way, and it would probably be wise to serve it with some fresh berries, which is something I will do next time.  The cake was a hit, and I am happy to share Alton Brown's recipe.  Notice that the amount of cake flour needed is measured by ounces, so if you don't have a scale in your kitchen, get one!  You will not be disappointed.

Tres Leche Cake
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Printable Recipe

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

For the glaze:
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:
Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  1. This sounds like my kind of cake! Picture perfect! And congratulations on retrying and succeeding with the recipe!

  2. Thanks Eva! It is certainly unlike any cake I have ever made.



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