Tres Leches Cake with Grand Marnier

Yesterday morning we were up early and out cross-country skiing. It was a warm winter’s day, so we wanted to take advantage of the balmy weather and get some sunshine and fresh air. Although it is tough to drag yourself out of the house on a dark winter’s morning, the boost to your energy level makes it all worth it. I also attended the symphony with friends that evening.  I figured there would be just enough time between skiing and the performance to bake a cake, so I invited them all over afterwards for some post-symphony cake and coffee.

While in Mexico last month, I did not indulge in any of the traditional deserts, so I thought why not make a Mexican desert now that I am back home. Tres Leches Cake appeared on more than one menu and after reading the recipe I wish I had indulged. As a result, I cannot make a comparison or deem whether this recipe is similar to what I would have tasted in Mexico, but it is delicious.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I substituted the same amount of whole wheat flour for white flour. With all the soaking that the cake would experience after baking I figured there would be no need worry about the cake being dry, so I added a straight 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour. I also checked some recipes for Tres Leches Cake on the internet. They all include recipes for icing or other sweet topping.  For example, the recipe that I used from Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid recommended  Italian meringue.  I decided the cake would be insanely rich after soaking up the “tres leches marinade”, so I topped it with fruit before serving (I had some blueberries and mango slices in the freezer).  After my first bite of cake I realized that I had made the right choice.  In fact, I think the cake would have been unbearably sweet and paralyzingly rich with an added topping.

This cake could easily entice the breaking of New Year’s resolutions. I mean really, it is quite tough to go from loads of desserts and sweet treats during the Christmas break to none at all just because it is a new year. In appearance it is quite unassuming. I guess you could call it sneakily decadent!

Tres Leches Cake

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup skim milk

1 300 ml can condensed milk
1 170 ml can of thick cream
320 ml of low-fat evaporated milk
2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

  • Preheat over to 350°C
  • Butter and flour a 10 inch cake pan. Cut out a disk of parchment paper the same size as the pan.  Place in the bottom of the pan and butter it.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon
  • Add the egg whites to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy. While beating, slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form
  • Beat in the egg yolks one at time
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix. Add 1/2 of the skim milk and mix. Repeat until flour and milk are all added.
  • Pour the batter into your pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool slightly and then invert on a plate with  2 cm high sides
  • Poke holes throughout the top of the cake using a skewer or fork.
  • Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk, thick cream, and Grand Marnier and slowly pour over the cake
  • Cover and refrigerate until cold. At least 3 hours or overnight.

4 responses to “Tres Leches Cake with Grand Marnier

  1. Sounds yummy. I might try it the next time I host Bridge.

  2. I was thinking that it would be perfect for your bridge group when I was making it. It makes quite a large cake and is quite rich, so there would be lots to go around.

  3. Hmmm… that sounds like a tasty twist to tres leches!

  4. Hello Junbelen,

    It is very tasty.
    I have never tried this cake before, so I have nothing to compare it to. I imagine that the booze takes the edge off the overall sweetness of a more traditional version.


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