Naked Tres Leches Cake with Seasonal Berries and Edible Flowers

I first made Tres Leches Cake, or Three Milk’s Cake, for my husband on one of our first dates. After hearing him say that he married me because of my cake, I decided never to share the recipe.  After 15 years of marriage, three kids, and hundreds of memorable meals together, I let the recipe out of the vault. This light, airy sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three milks is the most popular cake in Mexico and Latin America. But my version is layered with ripe, seasonal berries for a burst of flavor, and smeared with whipped cream, to give it just the right amount of sweetness. I decorate it with edible blooms for an elegant, yet natural look. Today, this cake continues to be my husband’s favorite and has acquired many fans, becoming my most requested recipe. This Tres Leches will not only be the star of your summer party, but it will create memories with your family and friends for years to come. 

By / Photography By Elizabeth Escobedo | May 31, 2018

Ingredients

Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 large eggs, room temperature, whites and yolks separated
Soaking Liquid
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) carton half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Whipped Topping
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
To Assemble and Decorate
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces favorite seasonal berries, such as raspberries or blueberries, rinsed
  • Edible flowers, pesticide-free

Preparation

Make the Cake 

Pre-heat the oven to 325° F. Grease two 10-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.  

Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high for about 3 minutes until they are doubled in volume. Add egg yolks, one at a time, while continuing to beat. Next, add sugar gradually and beat until well incorporated.  

Slowly and gently, add flour mixture in thirds until just combined.  

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cakes should feel very firm and the tops should be golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool completely. Trim the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to level them off, if needed.  

Make the Sauce 

In a mixing bowl, or preferably, a large measuring cup, thoroughly mix the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, half-and-half, and vanilla extract.   

Make the Whipped Topping 

In a chilled bowl, beat whipping cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Do not over-whip. 

Assemble the Cake 

Place the first cake layer on a rimmed cake plate. With a chopstick or wooden skewer, poke holes all around the cake, making sure to evenly cover the entire cake. Very slowly, so that it completely absorbs, pour half of the milk mixture on top.   

Spread 1 cup of the whipped topping on top of the first layer and arrange the sliced berries all around the cake.  

Top with the second cake layer and repeat the process of poking the cake with the skewer and very slowly pouring the remaining milk mixture on top.  

Spread all of the remaining whipped topping over the top and around the sides of the cake, using your spatula to scrape away the excess. Do not cover the cake completely so that you can see the cake layers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to overnight. 

Decorate with edible flowers. Serve with additional berries. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 large eggs, room temperature, whites and yolks separated
Soaking Liquid
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) carton half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Whipped Topping
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
To Assemble and Decorate
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces favorite seasonal berries, such as raspberries or blueberries, rinsed
  • Edible flowers, pesticide-free
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