You’ll love this unique tres leches cake recipe! Cereal milk tres leches is colorful, sweet, and a perfect make-ahead cake for your next celebration.
One of the most popular sheet cake recipes on the blog is my tres leches cake. Tres leches cake, also called three milk cake, is a poke cake recipe popular in many Latin American countries. And it’s pretty easy to see why. The cake is light, sweet, and is best when made in advance. So it’s perfect for parties, potlucks, and holiday dessert tables! I make a few each year for various events. From time to time, I like to switch up the flavors and try something different. That’s how we got my White Russian Tres Leches recipe, and now this super fun and colorful Cereal Milk Tres Leches!
What is cereal milk?
If you haven’t heard of cereal milk as a baking ingredient yet, it’s literally milk that’s had cereal soaked in it. Remember when you were a kid and part of the fun of eating cereal was the neat flavor it gave the milk? To make cereal milk for baking, we just soak cereal in milk on purpose, then strain and use. Easy!
The kind of cereal you use is up to you. Christina Tosi – the baker responsible for the social media explosion of cereal milk treats – uses a classic corn flake and toasts it. Other recipes call for various childhood favorites like Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs. And for this tres leches cake, I opted for Fruity Pebbles.
Why? First of all, Fruity Pebbles wilt in milk in no time, so the time needed to make my cereal milk is minimal. Second, I think the bright colors look like sprinkles and sprinkles make me happy. It’s a very scientific process, clearly, haha. But it worked perfectly for this recipe, so I’m sticking with it. 😉
How does using cereal milk change the flavor in tres leches?
If you’re already a fan of tres leches cake, you already have an idea of how it tastes. Which means you may be wondering how cereal milk will change the flavor. I don’t use cinnamon in this recipe, so the overall flavor is very light and sweet, with a hint of Fruity Pebbles.
That doesn’t mean that the flavor falls flat! Instead, the cereal milk provides a subtle complexity in the taste! My family liked it, even my oldest – who is my most honest critic. She’d make a great cooking show judge. She wouldn’t be the snarky judge, but the one that knows what they like and filters all dishes accordingly.
A few baking tips…
You can make the cereal milk up to a week in advance. Just keep it refrigerated until you are ready to use. You can bake the cake the day before you need to serve. In fact, tres leches cake is best when baked the day before so the flavors have a chance to meld. Cover the cooled and soaked cake and refrigerate until it’s time to top and serve.
I do not recommend topping this cake in advance. The whipped cream can wilt. If you need to make the whipped topping in advance, use a stabilizer like mascarpone. I have a great recipe for mascarpone stabilized whipped cream here. If you use this, you’ll just need to add the cereal topping right before serving. Don’t add that in advance!
The cereal topping is the only thing you absolutely can’t add until just before serving. The same reason that makes Fruity Pebbles a great option for making quick cereal milk makes them terrible for topping! You don’t want to serve soggy cereal topping! So just hold off until just before you serve and then add cereal like sprinkles. If you can’t wait, I’d swap the cereal for actual sprinkles.
And with that, I think you’re ready to make one delicious and unique tres leches cake! We definitely don’t need a special occasion to bake an easy sheet cake, so get to it. 😉 I promise it’s all sorts of throwback fun.
I hope you love this cereal milk tres leches cake, darlings! Happy baking!
Cereal Milk Tres Leches Cake
Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal
- 1 3/4 c cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cereal milk
- 1 14-ounce can condensed milk
- 2 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Extra cereal for garnish (optional)
- Make your cereal milk by combining the milk and cereal in a pitcher or large jar and stirring very well to combine. Allow to sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Discard the soggy cereal. Store the cereal milk in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 1 week.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl (use a hand mixer).
- Whip on medium speed for about 20 seconds until the mixture resembles a bubble bath, then add 1 1/2 cups sugar and whip on high speed until you have stiff peaks.
- Slowly beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and then add half the dry ingredients, the cereal milk and vanilla extract, and the rest of the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, then pour into your prepared baking dish.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, mix the sauce ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Use a skewer to poke holes around the top of the still-warm cake, and then evenly pour the sauce all over the cake.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to chill. You may make this cake a day in advance and then just add the topping before serving.
- To top the cake, whip the heavy cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pipe or spread the whipped cream on top of the cake and decorate with additional cereal, if desired.
- I do not add extra sugar to the Fruity Pebbles cereal milk because of the already high sugar content in the cereal.
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