Coconut Tres Leches Cake is based on a recipe from Taste of Home, where it was submitted by someone who found it in an old cookbook. The reader said it was popular with her family. Since then it’s become a favorite of ours family too!
Two Milks Poured Over, One Milk In Batter
Like most Tres Leches Cakes, this one has three milks. However, only two kinds of milk are poured over the top, while the third milk goes in the batter. In addition to the milks, the batter has some butter in it. Not all Tres Leches recipes call for butter in the crumb of the cake, but the butter must help because this is one of the best Tres Leches cakes I’ve ever made.
Pan Size 9×13 or 8 Inch Square
Below is the recipe for the full 9×13 inch Coconut Tres Leches Cake, but if you want to make a half batch square cake, an 8 inch pan works perfectly. For the family, I sometimes use an 8 inch square Pyrex.
Finally, if you want to buy yourself a Cinco de Mayo present, my suggestion is a bottle of Mexican vanilla. I just bought some Danncy, which is very strong. It seems a lot of people like it based on reviews, but I think my personal favorite is still La Vencedora.
Coconut Tres Leches Cake
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened (170 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (260 grams)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour (250 grams) **
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can 14 oz condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
- 1 can 14 oz coconut milk
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup toasted flaked sweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch metal pan with baking spray.
- With an electric mixer, beat the room temperature egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- With the electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Combine the coconut milk, regular milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a small bowl and stir for 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low or by hand and using a big spoon or spatula scraper, add the dry mixture and the milk mixture to the creamed mixture alternately. Stir until blended.
- With a silicone scraper, fold in the beaten egg whites.
- Pour into the pan and bake on center rack for 35 to 40 minutes (may take up to 45). Place on a wire rack and let cool.
- Meanwhile, poke holes in the warm cake with a skewer spacing about ½ inch apart. Combine the condensed milk and coconut milk and pour over the cake, very gradually, allowing mixture to drip down into the holes. When cool, cover and chill the cake for at least two hours.
- Make the topping. In a large bowl, beat the cream until thick. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks start to form. Beat in the vanilla. Spread or pipe over the cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve directly from the pan.
Thank you, Anna! 🙂
Bella, the one from the Thai place should be fine. Normally, I use the Thai kind, too. And no, it’s not sweet. However, since you’re lucky enough to have a Thai supermarket nearby, make sure it’s not actually coconut cream, which is thicker. Then again, coconut cream MIGHT actually work. Cream of Coconut would probably make the cake way too sweet. Look for coconut milk and you’ll be fine.
Hi Anna, thank you for the explanation. I am grateful. Cooking can be so confusing! hee hee! One last question–is the coconut milk that you mention used in Asian cooking not sweet? There is a Thai supermarket in the neighborhood that sells a type of coconut milk but it is not sweet. Could this be the one the recipe calls for? Thank you for your assistance! 🙂
Goya is not the same as Coco Lopez. Coco Lopez is Cream of Coconut, while coconut milk is usually found in the Asian or Mexican section of the store. It’s not as thick nor is it as sweet as Coco Lopez. Taste of Thai and Thai Kitchen also make coconut milk. To make it even more confusing, there is something called coconut cream which is usually found in Asian stores and is thicker than coconut milk. I’ve never used it. So to sum it up, you have a) Cream of Coconut (thick, sweet and found with the alcohol mixers), b) Coconut milk (canned, not as thick, used in Asian and South American cooking and c) Coconut Cream (like coconut milk but thicker and harder to find).
This looks delicious! I have a question though–is the Goya coconut milk the sweet one called “Coco Lopez”? This is the only coconut milk I know of and wanted to check with you before making the recipe. Thanks!
I love that you posted this because I’ve never made a Tres Leches Cake but need to make one on Saturday. As I typically do, I’m driving myself crazy trying to pick the best one to try first. This looks promising.