Tres leches pastel con sabor a café /Coffee Flavored Tres Leches Cake

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Nowadays when my hubby goes out for business lunch, he will also try to take pictures of dishes just like a restaurant reviewer. I think my blogging bug is affecting him too, he is also curious to learn more about the dishes and bring back some feedback on them. For one of his lunch he was served tres leches cake as dessert. He showed me the picture of it and asked me to make it.
 On goggling I came to know that Tres leches cake/ pastel de tres leches means three milk cake in Spanish. It is usually a sponge cake soaked with condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream or whole milk and then topped with whipped icing. They need a fork to consume. They are soft and moist but not soggy I like that part.  This cake is Latin American favorite however second to flan, and is included birthday parties, weddings, quinceañeras  and all manner of celebratory family gatherings.
  Even though there is not much clear evidence about its origin some argue that it is from Mexico, but some say it is from Nicaragua,  where the European tradition of soaked cakes (Italian tiramisu) was made popular with the production of condensed and evaporated milk in the mid to late 1800s.  By the way who cares for the origin, when taste is the key I am right.
I was first reluctant to make this cake, as it has sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk, along with topping and contain extra sugar. Since it is a calorie rich one it was strictly no for one part of my mind.  But my other part of mind is not letting go, so I saw lot of recipes. Then this Christmas I had got a booklet from our local grocery store HEB, while going through the book lot of colorful pictures and recipes I saw this one. On one page there is  Tresh leches cake recipe from  Nestle Classic. I decided to give it a try as it has ½ cup sugar less than the other recipe. I halved the recipe too and made a small loaf. However I end up taking inspiration from this recipe also.
 First I made cake with 2 eggs, flour, milk and ¼ cup sugar. 
Then next in my list is to make soaking liquid. By accident I didn’t decrease the coffee amount to half in the soaking fluid, so even with condensed and evaporated milk and heavy cream it was really rich coffee taste.  I poured that into the cake and soaked for overnight. Next morning about 90 % of soaking liquid was absorbed by the cake. If you want you can keep the rest, but I throw it out as it is difficult to transfer from one  to another. 
 I whipped the heavy cream with little powdered sugar into stiff peaks, and then frosted the cake. However I didn’t add any extra coffee on the frosting thinking that it will be too much.  I decorated with chocolate shaving and maraschino cherries, and next come the tasting part; I was so afraid that whether my coffee addition will do any damage. But in reality it made beautiful marble design in the cake and cake was full of coffee flavor. When I am doing research my boss used to say that accidents in the lab can cause wonders. Yes my extra addition of coffee made this cake delicious.
If you are coffee lover like me, and loves coffee ice cream, and tirasmisu, then go for it. This cake got finished within two days. My princess was all over the cake, she was even ready to open refrigerator door to get this cake out.
I am going to make full recipe next time. So why wait, try it yourself. 

Print Recipe from here
 Coffee Flavored Tres Leches Cake
Recipe adapted fromhere  and here

 Prep:30 mins,Cooking:28 mins,Cooling:30 mins,Yields:6 servings
  • CAKE
  • 2 Jumbo egg whites
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 Jumbo large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  •  1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking  powder(  I used Aluminum free one)
  • 1/2cup  Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/4  cup  Heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup  Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon of  instant coffee granules dissolved in 2  tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 11/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Decorations
  • 1 oz chocolate shaved
  • Maraschino Cherries
 oven to 350° F. Butter  1 1.2 quarts  loaf pan 3.2 ” H x 11.5 ” W x 5.0 ” D
Sift the flour, baking powder into a medium bowl and set aside.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a medium bowl and the yolks in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the yolks with 2 tablespoons of the sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until combined, 1 minute more.
Clean and dry the beaters and then beat the egg whites, gradually increasing the speed to high, until they reach soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining sugar in a stream, continuing to beat on high, until you reach firm but not dry peaks, 1 to 2 minutes more. Whisk a third of the dry ingredients into the yolk mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in a third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients and egg whites, alternately, in two more batches each, until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish or pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 28 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
Return the cake to the baking dish or pan (the cake will soak up more of the liquid if returned to the pan it was baked in), or invert it onto a rimmed platter.
Soak the cake:
In a small bowl stir together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, coffee, until the condensed milk is well blended.
With a toothpick/fork, prick the cake to the bottom in 1/2-inch intervals. Pour the soaking liquid slowly over the cake, starting at the edges and pausing to let it soak in before adding more. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the cake is well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Top the cake:
In a large bowl add cream and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. When it begins to thicken, slowly add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat just until it holds firm peaks, 3 to 4 minutes (be careful not to over beat). Spread the whipped cream all over the top of the cake, sprinkle the chocolate shaving and maraschino cherries and serve.


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  1. says

    that’s a lot of work!!! and if you can do this with the 2 kids around you, then i think anyone else can get inspired to make! 😀
    great job.

  2. says

    Swathi, Its nice when your family is involved in what you enjoy doing. Its so nice of your husband to give you such suggestions. The cake looks delicious. I am a big fan of Tres Leches. I remember watching Alton Brown’s show Good Eats have a episode on Tres Leches. it was time consuming. Good job in baking this cake.

  3. says

    I love it that your husband takes photos of his food. That’s awesome. I have had Tres Leches cake although I’ve always thought that it sounded delicious. Your coffee flavored one sounds like something that I would enjoy even more. Yum!

  4. says

    What a beautiful and delicious sounding cake Swathi! I have heard of this before but never was lucky enough to taste it. I’m inspired to make one now! Bet it was really good with coffee flavor and the 3 milks.

  5. says

    What a beautiful cake and you did a wonderful job decorating it. I don’t like desserts that are too sweet and I love that you picked a recipe with less sugar in it. :) So gorgeous and I can’t wait to try it.

  6. says

    Wonderful cake and well presented with step by step instructions. I heard about this cake from ny sister before but I have the interest to try it after seeing your recipe now.

  7. says

    Oh YUM! I love Tres Lechas and added coffee certainly isn’t going to hurt it – only enhance it even more. Great recipe!