Tres leches cake is a cake soaked with three kinds of milk – typically sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream. The cake is often associated with Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Although often Mexico gets credit for its origin, the idea likely came from Medieval Europe, where similar cakes such as trifles, rum cake and tiramisu use a similar method of “soaking” cake in some kind of liquid.
In this recipe, Tres Leches Cake with Berries, we change up the traditional recipe a bit by “soaking” a classic butter cake with a milk mixture made up of half & half and sweetened condensed milk. Then we frost the cake with our third milk, in the form of whipped cream, and top it with luscious berries. All this results in an ultra moist, ultra delicious dessert – perfect for celebrating the beginning of summer.
Tres Leches Cake with Berries is quite easy to make and can be topped with your favorite assortment of fresh berries. Of course, you can bake the cake ahead, but wait to soak and frost until a couple of hours before serving, and add the berries just before you serve it. This prevents berry juices from discoloring the whipped cream frosting. The first step is to make a classic 8-inch round butter cake. The recipe only uses one pan, as you will cut the cake in half to create two layers. Once you have baked the cake, remove it from the pan and let it cool completely.
No more than a couple of hours before serving, make the whipped cream frosting by combining whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. I suggest using a deep bowl to prevent splashing drips of whipping cream all over your kitchen (yes, you can learn from my mistakes). Cover the bowl of frosting and refrigerate until ready to frost.
Now mix together half & half, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. I find a bread knife works well, as it has a long blade. You now have two cake layers.
Place one cake layer, cut-side up, onto a serving plate. Carefully pour half of the milk mixture evenly over the top, a little at a time, allowing it to soak into the cake before adding more.
Spread a ½-inch layer of whipped cream frosting onto soaked cake.
Top with second cake layer, cut-side up. Pour remaining milk mixture evenly over cake, allowing it to soak into the cake.
Frost with remaining frosting covering sides and top of cake.
Refrigerate the cake if you’re not serving it immediately. Just before serving, top with berries.
Ultra moist, ultra delicious Tres Leches Cake with Berries.