November 8, 2010

honey cinnamon tres leches cake

For Michael's birthday this year, I baked a honey cinnamon tres leches cake. It is to die for.

The texture is so unique... it's a dense cake soaked in three kinds of milk until it's super moist and delicious. Then you spread whipped cream on top and you get a rich, creamy dessert.

Side note: this little gem has cinnamon sprinkled on top. That's because I took this picture the morning after almost the entire cake was consumed at Michael's birthday party.

I was the cake nazi that night, making sure I had a piece left to shoot the next day. I did my best to make that last little piece look as incredible as it tasted. It's supposed to have whipped cream on it. Just remember that.

Now, don't let all the steps intimidate you. It's really not all that hard to make, and it's worth it. Trust.

You start out with three bowls. Separate the eggs. Egg whites are in the mixer, egg yolks in that little pink bowl. The white bowl has butter and sugar in it, ready to be beaten with the hand mixer. After the butter and sugar are nice and creamy, add the egg yolks from the pink bowl, one yolk at a time until combined.

The coffee cup filled with hot chai has nothing to do with this recipe. Only my sanity.

Everybody with me?

Get the egg whites going. Whip them on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Do not confuse this with whipped cream, even though they look similar. You will be very very sorry.

While the egg whites are beating... get your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. We are up to 4 bowls now. Oh my goodness. Deep breaths.

Now you have the beginnings of a beautiful cake batter: wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and creamy butter.

Add the flour/baking powder/salt/cinnamon mixture into the butter in stages, alternatively with the cup of milk, beginning and ending with flour. Combine after each addition. My stages went like this: flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. Add the vanilla and you're almost done! ... sort of.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter, making sure they do not deflate.

Do you know how to fold? Use a rubber spatula to gently scrape down the center of the bowl and up around the side. I keep turning the bowl and doing this until it's incorporated nicely, but not deflated and over mixed.

The batter is done! Yay! Start breathing again and don't look at all the dishes in your sink. Pour the heavenly batter into a greased 13x9 and let that baby bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so.

This is where the 'tres leches' part comes in. Your three milks are: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream.

Mix them in a little bowl with honey and cinnamon. How many bowls are we at now?

Now the milks are ready for when the cake comes out of the oven. When it does, take the end of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the cake. Don't go too crazy.

Then pour the milk mixture over the cake, slowly, making sure you completely coat the whole cake.

Let it sit at room temperature and soak for a few hours. Imagine all that creamy goodness seeping into every bite of the yummy cake.

The recipe explains how to make whipped cream, so follow those directions. It is the perfect topping. Any other kind of frosting would be so wrong with the texture. Especially sprinkled cinnamon...

But it sure does look nice. See how moist the cake is? It's practically dripping.

I hope you bravely face the dishes, and try this cake.

Here's the recipe!

recipe from Southern Living 

Honey Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake

1/2  cup  butter, softened
1  cup  sugar
7  large eggs, separated
2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  salt
3/4  teaspoon  cinnamon, divided
1  cup  milk
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1  (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1  (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2  cups  whipping cream, divided
5  tablespoons  honey, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, beating just until blended.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons honey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl until blended.

Pierce top of hot cake generously with the end of a wooden spoon. Gradually pour milk mixture over cake, about 1/3 cup at a time, spreading to edges. (Allow mixture to completely soak into cake between batches.) Let stand 2 hours. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream at medium-high speed until foamy; add remaining 3 tablespoons honey, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over top of cake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.


  1. I'm certain this is my favorite cake of all time...


  2. This looks fantastic - I've always wanted to try tres leches cake but haven't actually attempted to make it. Maybe this holiday season will be the year!

  3. Yum. I was just thinking the other day that I wanted to make a tres leches cake but with a twist, so this is perfect! Thanks!

  4. The only "tres leches" thing I've ever had was a Girl Scout cookie, and I'm pretty sure it didn't capture what the real flavor is like! This dessert looks incredible and so so moist- it almost looks like a tiramisu kind of thing. I NEED to try this :)

  5. The cake looks incredible. And your plateware is gorgeous! What kind is it?

  6. Thank you everyone!

    Stella, the dish with the cake on it is my mother's. It's china that has been passed down in our family for years, so I have no clue where it came from or how to get more! I love it though. I'm so glad she saved a few of those dishes for my sister and I.

    The teacup and saucer are Colonial Williamsburg brand. I tried to look for it online, but I don't think they make that anymore. Click here for some dishes I did find though!

  7. My family loves tres leches cake. Your recipe sounds delicious. I would love to try a honey-cinnamon flavored cake. I bet it was good.