Friday, September 27, 2013

Daring Bakers! Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy... just plain delish!

I was simultaneously excited and apprehensive about the Daring Bakers challenge this month. Not because of the recipe, but just because of all the oven fails I've been having lately. I decided to minimize risk and take my baking elsewhere. A large number of my female friends live in an honor house dedicated to sustainable food, and informed me I was welcome to use their oven anytime. So I packed up all my supplies and trucked it down to the house. It was nice to have a large enough space for me to bake and socialize at the same time. 

I slid the cake into the oven nervously, praying that it would not burn or collapse. Thirty five minutes later I pulled it out and hurrah! It had baked up into a fluffy, golden sponge. 
"That smells really good!" someone called from the dining room, and I did a small victory dance (mostly an internal victory dance). Finally, a success. 

Obviously I wasn't done there, but the tricky part was over. You can't have a tres leches cake without the milks! I've made the traditional recipe before, so I wanted to try something new. I was delighted to find that The Pastry Affair had a coconut tres leches cake on her site. The sponge is soaked in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and coconut rum (side note, purchasing this was my first time actually buying something from a liquor store. I was a little nervous that there would be some rule I had overlooked preventing me from purchasing alcohol and I would be unceremoniously booted from the store. Thankfully that did not happen). Finish it off with a thick layer of coconut rum spiked whipped cream and toasted coconut and you've got yourself...a pretty irresistible cake.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake 
from The Pastry Affair

5 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until the yolks are a pale yellow. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter, mixing until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake—not what we want!). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan until cake reaches room temperature. Pierce top of cake with a fork a couple dozen times to allow glaze to soak into the cake.

1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut rum

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut rum. Pour evenly over cooled, hole-ridden cake, making sure to get the edges and corners as well as the center. Now here's the hard part: refrigerate the cake overnight so the cake can fully absorb the glaze.

1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon coconut rum
Flaked coconut, toasted (garnish)

In a large bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and coconut rum together until topping is thick and spreadable.
Spread topping evenly over coconut cake, sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes, and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. I'm glad you had success with your Tres Leches cake! It sounds delicious. Nice job on the challenge!

  2. Thanks! Even people who aren't fond of coconut liked it :)

  3. Your cake looks so fluffy even moistened! The coconut addition from syrup to topping sounds also delicious. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I was surprised at how fluffy it stayed!

  4. I think you've done an admirable job on this challenge. Your Tres Leches Cake looks so so delicious!
    Bravo :)

  5. Wow, that's a lot of coconut rum! Yum! Your cake sounds really delicious :)

  6. I love the recipes from A Pastry Affair, and this one sounds absolutely delicious.


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