ina garten's tres leches cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs
at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 can evaporated milk
12 ounces
1 can condensed milk
14 ounces
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 whole vanilla bean
seeds scraped
8 cups fresh berries
  • 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan
  • sifter
  • hand mixer or electric mixer
  • large measuring glass (4 cup)
We have always wanted to know how to make a tres leches cake, so we were delighted to find a recipe for it in Ina Garten's Make It Ahead cookbook. The first time we tested out this recipe, our two-year-old daughter had fun helping. After soaking in the tres leches mixture, the base cake ended up being pretty sweet for our tastes, so we balanced it out with fresh berries. If you prefer this dessert on the sweeter, richer side, macerate the berries and serve with whipped cream. The soaked cake will keep in the fridge for 5 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the baking pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Whip with hand mixer for 10 minutes until it gets light and fluffy (see notes).
Reduce the speed to low and gradually add half of the flour mixture. Add the milk, and then add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula to ensure that all the flour has been incorporated.
Pour the batter into the buttered baking pan and smooth the top if needed. Bake for 25 minutes. The cake should spring back and when pierced with a toothpick, it should come out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
In the large measuring glass, make the tres leches mixture. Measure and combine the cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, almond extract, and vanilla seeds.
Poke holes into the cake with a bamboo skewer or skinny chopstick. Add the tres leches mixture bit by bit. Pour a portion, wait for the cake to absorb it, then repeat until you use up all the mixture. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
To serve, cut the cake into squares and top with fresh berries.
We don't have the space for an electric mixer so we made it work with what we had. We use a vintage GE hand mixer handed down to use from a dear friend. Thanks Catherine! :) If you own an electric mixer, beat on medium high with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes.