Tres Leches Espresso Cake

Tres Leches Espresso Cake

Difficulties hard

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

A beautiful vanilla cake soaked with 3 different kinds of milk and espresso to make a wonderful and decadent dessert.


For The Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Soaking Liquid
  • 10 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strongly brewed coffee
  • pinch of salt


For the Topping
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar


For The Cake

  • Adjust rack to the middle position, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 9x13-inch baking dish, preferably glass.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they become frothy, then slowly add in 1/4 cup of sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until firm but not dry peaks are formed, about 3 minutes. Transfer the whites to a bowl.In the bowl of a stand mixer (no need to wash) fitted with the whisk attachment, add in the egg yolks and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Fold in a third of the flour mixture using a spatula into the egg yolk mixture until combined. Next, gently fold in a third of the egg whites until fully combined.Fold in the remaining dry ingredients then egg whites, alternatively, in two more batches, until fully combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared dish, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Wash the baking dish. Return the completely cooled cake to the dish for assembly.
For the Soaking Liquid
  1. In a medium saucepan combine all 3 milks, coffee, and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the the condensed milk is dissolved, and the mixture bubbles around the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the mixture. Remove from the mixture from the stove and pour into a large measuring glass (about 4 cups).
  2. With a toothpick or skewer, poke the cake in 1/2-inch intervals. Slowly pour the soaking liquid on the cake starting on the edges, and allowing it to soak it up before adding more. Use up all the liquid.
  3. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the espresso powder and vanilla extract and stir until dissolved. Add in the heavy cream and powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until it holds firm peaks, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Be careful not to overbeat). Spread on the soaked cake no more than 4 hours before serving. Top with chocolate curls for an added decoration or leave plain.


Variation: To make this a classic vanilla tres leches cake, simply omit the coffee from the soaking liquid and increase the evaporated milk to a whole 12-oz can. Also, omit the espresso powder from the whipped cream.