When I served Tres Leche Cake, the ohhhhhs, ahhhhhhs and mmmms emerging from my friends’ mouths—even when I was nowhere in sight—sounded like they were all having sex.
I mean the noises were absolutely X-rated, even orgy-esque (not that I've ever participated). If I didn’t know any better, I would have yelled, “GET A ROOM, PEOPLE!”
A slice of Tres Leche Cake is a rich, creamy, almost pudding-like piece of fabulousness. I first had a slice of it about a year ago at Guanajuato, a Mexican restaurant in Glencoe, of all place. I’ve been obsessed with recreating that cake ever since.
After searching the internet for just the right recipe, I finally decided to make the Coconut Tres Leche Cake from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, a food blog that’s not only a blast to read but offers consistently great, relatively easy-to-make recipes.
Mel’s version of the cake, which I changed slightly, is simple. It can start with a cake-mix cake, which, of course, my lazy self used.
Warning: this is not a dessert to serve to the lactose intolerant (For those not fluent in espanol, Tres Leches means three milk—although in this recipe, Cream of Coconut is used in place of one of the milks). Nor is this cake one you’d want to eat everyday unless you’d like to visit a cardiologist.
But if you are looking for a uniquely fabulous, showoff-y dessert for a special occasion, this is it.
By the way, if you’re thinking about perusing the internet for a healthier version of a Tres Leche Cake, one made with Greek yogurt and such, I can save you a lot of trouble. Forget about it. No such animal.
Yeah, I suppose you could probably use fat-free evaporated milk, etc. But really, what’s the point?
It would be like making a cheesecake with yogurt instead of cream cheese, which I’ve tried. It might look the same, but it sure doesn't taste the same. Tres Leche Cake, like cheesecake, is all about being incredibly rich and creamy, decadent really. And low-fat dairy products just won’t cut it (If I'm wrong, send me your version).
About the only thing that could make this cake any more luscious is that if there was a chocolate version. And wouldn’t you know it, that clever Mel of Mel’s Kitchen Café has a recipe for a Chocolate Tres Leche Cake!
If you make it, please let me and the Sugar Buzz Chicago readers know how is it. And oh yeah, save me a slice.
Coconut Tres Leche Cake
1 yellow cake, prepared ahead, according to package directions
1 15-ounce can cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk. I found cream of coconut in the Asian section of my supermarket, but it may be located in the alcoholic drink mix aisle)
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar or more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
- Prepare cake from cake mix in 9” x 13” pan according to package directions. Cool on wire rack and turn out onto large platter.
- Place cream of coconut, evaporated milk, one cup of cream and the vanilla in blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
- When cake has cooled at least one hour, poke holes with fork all over top of cake.
- With a large spoon or ladle, spoon some of the milk syrup over the cake. After it has absorbed, pour the rest of the syrup over the cake, trying to distribute evenly. (The holes help the cake absorb the liquid).
- Place plastic wrap loosely over the cake and store in the refrigerator two to 24 hours. If there is any liquid sitting on the platter after an hour, tip the platter slightly and spoon the liquid back onto the cake.
1. Place one cup of heavy cream into a large, chilled bowl and beat 2 minutes or until the cream starts to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Spread coconut on baking sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for seven minutes or until coconut begins to turn golden brown.
Cut cake into slices and top with whipped cream and coconut. Serve with sliced bananas or berries if desired.
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