Coffee Tres Leches Cake tastes like a delicious cross between Tres Leches cake and tiramisu and is a real crowd pleaser that’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration or any summer potluck.
I’ve adapted this recipe from Sweet & Southern: Classic Desserts with a Twist , a cookbook I got for Christmas and am just getting around to using. It’s full of creative and modern southern twists on classic desserts like Satsuma Whipped Rice Pudding, Mint Julep Crème Brulee, and Ambrosia Pavlova.
Since I’m a huge coffee fan, this Tres Leches was at the top of my list to try and I found it to be an exceptionally good cake. I made a few alterations, using regular cocoa instead of Dutch process, coffee instead of espresso, and I added a coffee-flavored whipped cream topping and chocolate curls.
This cake starts with a coffee (or espresso) spiked cake batter that is exceptionally aerated with whipped egg whites, leaving lots of airy space within the cake for the cream mixture to soak into when it is poured on top.
What Is Tres Leches Cake?
Tres Leches (3 milks) gets its name from this mixture which consists of heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. The cake itself is a sponge cake with lots of ability to soak up all the liquid. It’s a hugely popular dessert in Latin America.
The cake soaks up all this liquid (it will look like it’s swimming in liquid at first) and becomes exceptionally moist and creamy.
How To Serve Coffee Tres Leches
Served cold from the refrigerator, it’s a refreshing make-ahead dessert for the spring and summer months.
The cake also has some cocoa powder in it, giving it that awesome mocha flavor.
More Coffee Flavor
If you want more coffee flavor, add a splash of Kahlua to the homemade whipped topping.
Great Make-Ahead Dessert
This recipe can be made a day in advance and is best made at least 2 hours in advance.
- Stand Mixer– I love my Kitchenaid Mixer. It is a little bit of an investment but will last years, possibly decades. My last one lasted over 25 years and I used it alot!
- 9×13-inch pan– I use these inexpensive pans for pretty much everything in the kitchen.
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More Tres Leches Recipes
Coffee Tres Leches
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large eggs separated, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chocolate curls made from grating a bar of chocolate, for garnish
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and coat a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until there are no lumps.
- Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (if you lift the whisk attachment up, the eggs are just starting to have enough form to stay attached to the whisk.)
- With mixer on medium, gradually add the 1 1/2 cups sugar. Increase to high and beat until stiff peaks form (egg whites completely hold their shape even if you move the whisk attachment around.)
- Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Whisk in milk and vanilla extract.
- Remove bowl from mixer and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour mixture in until no pockets of flour remain.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and coffee. Slowly pour over cooled cake. Most of it with sink down around the edges and it will look like there is way too much liquid, but it will all get absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap (Try not to let the plastic touch the cake) and refrigerate at least 2 hours (can be done a day in advance).
- To make whipped topping, use electric mixer to beat heavy cream. Once it starts to thicken, add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and Kahlua. Beat until cream gets thick. Spread on top of cake.
- Sprinkle with chocolate curls.
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Recipe Adapted from Sweet & Southern: Classic Desserts with a Twist
Originally posted April 19, 2015.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links.
21 thoughts on “Coffee Tres Leches”
I absolutely LOVE this recipe. I had made a coffee cheesecake a few years ago and was looking for that recipe when I came across this one. This is our new favorite as we love both tres leches cake and coffee. I didn’t put the Kahlua in the whipped cream simple because I didn’t have it, but I did mix a Tablespoon of Instant coffee with the sugar and it came out with a good coffee flavored whipped cream.
Just made the cake… will frost it tomorrow. Looks wonderful… BUT…. my cake sunk in the middle, any ideas why? Or is that normal.
Mine sunk some in the middle too Loreta, but you won’t be able to tell once it is covered with whipped cream. Enjoy!
I’m just about to make this recipe but there’s no butter or oil in the cake….is this right?
That’s right. No butter or oil. Hope you enjoy it!
We sure did enjoy it! I made it for a retirement party at work, and everyone loved it. I think next time I would modify the recipe slightly…a bit less evaporated milk and much stronger coffee. (mine was strong, but the coffee flavour didn’t come thru as much as I’d hoped). Thanks for posting this. I would make it again.
I love tres leches and your coffee version Christin looks especially amazing… and it’s just how a good tres leches should be too – sweet, decadent and very moist.
Dear Christin, this cake looks light, moist and delicious! I love a little coffee in my cake. xo, Catherine
This looks incredible, Christin! I love coffee in desserts! I’ve always wanted to try a tres leches cake and a coffee one sounds even better 🙂
That looks amazing Christin! Pinning.
Oh my gawsh – Christin – I don’t think I’ve ever feasted my eyes (or tastebuds) on something this decadent – A Tres Leches Cake that tastes like a cross between Tres Leches cake and tiramisu??? Oh my!!!! Brilliant!
I just love tres leches cake.. yummy! Coffee version looks even better 😀
This cake looks so creamy and decadent.. . .and I have to admit that I can’t stop looking at it. I’m not a coffee drinker myself (100% tea drinker here); however, as long as the flavor is mild I think coffee does a really nice job of elevating chocolate flavors in desserts. I bet it tastes great in this.
I’ve been thinking about buying Sweet & Southern. I’m disappointed that it isn’t available on Kindle, but maybe I’ll have to take the plunge and buy the hard copy, because this looks seriously amazing!
This cakes looks incredible, Christin!! I’ve got to make it! Pinning.
Hell yeah! I could eat the whole thing myself! Yum!
I love tres leches cake! This looks divine – perfect dessert for Cinco de Mayo!
This cake looks insanely good! I love how you added Kahlua to the whipped cream!
Just the name of this dessert as my moth watering, Christin! I love the flavors in here! And that topping is so perfect! Pinned!
This popped up late at night and I am perked up!! Love the coffee in the cake 🙂
This looks unbelievably good, Christin — the coffee just takes this cake over the top for me! 🙂