Photo: Leo Gong; Styling: Karen Shinto
Prep and Cook Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Cool and Chill Time
3 Hours
Yield
Makes 10 to 12 servings

This layer cake is rich with a caramel-like sauce that's reminiscent of dulce de leche. We loved it so much that we found ourselves looking for excuses to make it again and again.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°; position rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 9-in.-wide cake pan (at least 2 in. deep) with removable rim; set aside.

Step 2

Make cake: select a large stainless steel bowl (at least 10-cup capacity) that can nest comfortably in a large pot. Fill pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. In bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Set bowl over water; with a handheld mixer, beat eggs and sugar at high speed until pale and thick enough to fall from a spoon in a wide ribbon, about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Remove bowl from heat. Shake flour through a sieve over egg mixture and fold in gently. Add melted butter and fold in gently until no streaks remain. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake on center rack until cake is evenly browned, just begins to pull from pan sides, and springs back when lightly touched in the center, about 40 minutes. Set pan on a cooling rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Run a thin knife between pan and rim. Remove rim and let cake cool completely.

Step 4

Make tres leches sauce: In a large pot (at least 6-qt. capacity) over high heat, combine goat milk, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon stick. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in baking soda mixture (sauce will foam up) and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce turns a caramel color and reduces to 3/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 5

Remove sauce from heat; discard cinnamon stick, and stir in condensed milk and whipping cream. Use warm (see Notes).

Step 6

With a long, serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Leave bottom half on cake pan bottom. Lift off cake top and set, cut side down, on a flat plate.

Step 7

Put cake bottom (with pan base) on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Poke cake bottom all over with a toothpick, being careful not to poke all the way through. Slowly spoon enough warm tres leches sauce (about 1 cup) over cake bottom to saturate well but not cause it to ooze. Let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

Step 8

Make filling: Reserve several raspberries to go on top of the cake, then put remaining fruit in a bowl and mix gently with granulated sugar. Set aside. In a chilled bowl, use a mixer to whip cream until it holds soft peaks and is thick enough to spread. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; mix well.

Step 9

Scoop about 1 1/3 cups whipped cream onto cake bottom and spread level to edge. Dot with sugared raspberries, pushing them down into cream. Carefully set cake top, cut side down, onto cake bottom and neatly align. Poke top all over with a toothpick as before, then slowly spoon about 1 cup tres leches sauce evenly over cake top to saturate well. Smoothly frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream; transfer to a clean serving plate. Cover cake without touching (invert a large bowl over it) and chill at least 2 hours. Cover and chill raspberries if held longer than 2 hours. Cover and chill remaining tres leches sauce.

Step 10

Uncover cake and decorate with reserved raspberries. Serve with remaining tres leches sauce.

Step 11

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Chef's Notes

Evaporated goat milk (Meyenberg is a popular brand) is sold in most grocery stores. Look in the baking aisle, near the condensed milk. The cake and tres leches sauce (prepare while cake bakes) can both be made a day ahead; reheat tres leches sauce before drizzling over cake. You can chill the completed cake for up to 3 days (garnish with raspberries just before serving).

Doña Tomàs: Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking; Doña Tomàs, Oakland, California

Ratings & Reviews

BbKusinera2014's Review

Bianca09
December 26, 2014
let me start by saying that this dessert is YUMMY!!! it sure is worth making! let me mention though that for the cake I used a Vanilla Chiffon Cake which I totally made from scratch. I made a lot of other modifications... I did not use evaporated goat's milk for the Tres Leches sauce... I just used the usual evap milk that is commonly available in the grocery & it still tasted GOOD! only used 4 Tablespoons sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder instead of a cinnamon stick, & only 1/3 cup condensed milk... for the filling, I used 1 cup of frozen Strawberries instead of fresh Raspberries. heated it with 1/4 cup sugar & let it cool before using it as part of the filling. & lastly I sweetened the cream completely with artificial sweetener. inspite of not following the recipe completely, my cake turned out great both in taste & physical appearance. the family & friends enjoyed it during our Christmas eve dinner. :)

Fantastic!!!! but messy ;)

eastmanlane
November 25, 2016
Amazing!!  Definitely make it, but follow the recipe!  The eggs are what makes the structure of the cake so do beat them (incorporate as much air as possible) into them when you're cooking them in the "double boiler".  What made mine so messy was the sauce.  I think I saturated the cakes a bit too much, which led to sauce seeping out of the cake and onto the serving platter.  Next time I will try to measure how much I am putting in and just be generous with the sauce at the table.  A beautiful and delicious dessert!

iheart2eat's Review

Casaclark
February 06, 2014
The whipped egg whites are what give this cake height. If your cake was flat, you didn't whip the egg whites correctly or you deflated them too much when mixing the flour/butter. Just saying...

eastmanlane's Review

Keegan
February 20, 2013
Cake rose beautifully, tasted great! Not too sweet, super moist. I plan to make it again.

Bianca09's Review

Merrybp
August 27, 2012
I gave this recipe 4 stars because it's definitely worth working with. My cake also didn't rise and (my fault partially) cake was very dense. I've started using wheat flour lately and I've noticed the difference in texture. Now that being said once I saw the cake come out very thin I decided to just top it with the fruit and cream instead of trying to assemble it like the photo. Once everything was said and done this tasted delicious! I think we can handle the denseness and next time I'll just make 2 cakes. Also I used agave syrup instead of corn and that worked out fine.

Merrybp's Review

sznnrk68
June 01, 2012
I made this cake a couple of days ago and it DID NOT RISE and I followed the recipe exactly! Why should it rise if it doesn't have any baking powder or something in it to cause it to rise? I went on line and got another Tres Leche cake recipe and it was very good. I used the Tres Leche sauce and filling/frosting recipe from this site - both were FABULOUS (especially the Tres Leche sauce)!!! All was not lost with the unrisen cake - my husband is eating it for breakfast as it tastes good and has the consistency of a coffee cake.

sznnrk68's Review

Lalena82
March 06, 2010
I prepared this for a family from El Salvdor who knows what REAL AUTHENTIC Tres Leches Cake tastes like. They gave it RAVE reviews and said it was better than most they had gotten in restaurants here in the states. We had 8 people at our dinner party and there was only 1 small piece remaining. The only thing I was unable to do was to "transfer the cake" from the bottom of the springform pan to a clean plate after it was frosted without creating a potential disaster. So, I just left the springform bottom on and put it on a decorative plate and under a glass cover. With how heavy the cake is once it's full of the sauce and topping, I don't see how it can be transferred safely.

Casaclark's Review

iheart2eat
September 10, 2009
This cake is out of this world. So decadent, creamy, and not overly sweet. This will be our birthday cake pick every year.

polanca's Review

BbKusinera2014
June 18, 2010
why does this cake have corn syrup?I