Cinco de Mayo is coming and if you're looking for a delicious Mexican dessert to celebrate with, then this Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake is for you!
Tres Leches literally means "3 milk" and that's what this cake contains- 3 different types of milk. Although it sounds involved, it really is an easy cake to make!
Tres Leches Cake
Traditionally, Tres Leches Cake is made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. However, my cake is a little different in that it uses coconut milk instead of evaporated milk. And it's sort of the original poke cake because you poke holes in the top like you would a typical poke cake. But then you flip it and also perforate the other side before saturating it with a milky syrup. This ensures the cake is evenly soaked in milk, giving it a perfectly moist and velvety texture, without being mushy. When combined, this creamy trio of milks creates just the right balance of sweetness, density and richness.
Cinco de Mayo Recipes
If you're like the rest of the world and having a considerably smaller Cinco de Mayo celebration this year, give this Easy Layered Nacho Dip a try- it's a great Mexican appetizer! My family of 4 can polish it off in less than the 10 minutes it takes to make it! Then follow it with my Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, which can be cooking on it's own while you're at work or doing whatever other things you need to do. And why not go all out Mexican and have Mexican Sheet Pan Eggs or Sheet Pan Huevos Rancheros for breakfast?!
Cinco de Mayo Dessert
Every celebration needs cake and what's a celebration cake without rainbow sprinkles? I sprinkled both coconut and rainbow jimmies on this cake to make it even more festive! I'll take any opportunity to celebrate, eat Mexican food and cake, but this cake is not the only way I celebrate this holiday. My Authentic Spanish Churros are another delicious Cinco de Mayo dessert that's also ideal for any fiesta!
Leftover Condensed Milk
I am trying really hard to use my leftovers and make recipes around them. I had leftover condensed milk from making my Healthy Butter Chicken and have always wanted to post this Tres Leches cake. It took me a while to get around to making it, so I was a little worried that the leftover condensed milk would go bad. But it's really surprising how long condensed milk lasts in your fridge; up to 3 weeks!
Freezing Leftover Condensed Milk
But did you know you can also freeze it? Condensed milk should be frozen in an airtight container and will not actually freeze solid because of the sugar content. You can thaw frozen condensed milk overnight in the refrigerator. And it can be frozen for up to three months without any noticeable flavor or texture changes, as long as the container is tightly sealed. Whisk the milk if there is any separation, and note that thawed condensed milk should not be re-frozen. You can read more about this HERE.
This Mexican cake is a great choice for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, but because it's easy, delicious and versatile it makes a great cake for any occasion. You can decorate it any way you want or simply serve it topped with whipped cream. But personally, I think sprinkles are the best!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
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Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 5 eggs separated
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar divided
- ⅓ cup milk * I use 1%
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbsp rum * or 1 tsp rum extract
Coconut Milk Syrup
- 200 ml coconut milk (½ a 400 ml can) * I use light
- 150 ml sweetened condensed milk (½ of a 300 ml can )
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- unsweetened coconut flakes
- rainbow sprinkles * I use rainbow jimmies- jimmies are bigger sprinkles
- lime twist
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8 x 8-inch can pan with non-stick cooking spray or use Wilton Cake Release (*I use Cake Release- see NOTES)
- Stir ﬂour with baking powder in a medium bowl.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites, using an electric mixer on high, until foamy.
- Gradually add about a ¼ of the sugar and continue beating whites until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted, 2 to 3 minutes. (see directions in NOTES)
- Using same beaters (no need to wash), in another separate large mixing bowl, beat yolks with remaining sugar until pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low.
- Gradually beat in ﬂour mixture, then milk and ½ tsp vanilla, until smooth. Blend in lime zest and rum.
- Stir a third of egg whites into yolk mixture, using a rubber spatula, then carefully fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake in centre of oven until springy and a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 min. Cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour.
Coconut Milk Syrup
- Whisk coconut milk with condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla and lime juice in a small bowl until combined. Poke top of cake all over with a skewer.
- Pour half of coconut syrup over cake and let stand 5 minutes.
- Run a knife around edges of cake and invert onto a rimmed serving platter. Poke bottom of cake all over with skewer.
- Pour remaining syrup all over cake, spooning any excess drippings back onto the cake until it is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate until fully chilled before serving, 1 to 2 hours.
- Sprinkle unsweetened shredded coconut on cake, then rainbow sprinkles/jimmies.
- Cut cake into 9 pieces, then add a twist of lime to each piece when served. (See NOTES for video on how to make a lime twist garnish)