White Russian Tres Leches cake is ready for happy hour! A boozy tres leches cake variation, this dessert is a hit anytime.
Have you ever seen The Big Lebowski? The Godfather has. He first saw it in college, and thought it was super funny. The movie was the reason he first tried a White Russian cocktail. He liked the mixture of Kahlua, vodka, and cream, and will occasionally mix himself a version at home with milk instead of cream. I like the combination for baking, as seen in this pecan pie, and here. 😉
I, on the other hand, have not actually watched said movie in its entirety. Apparently, there are 2 types of people in the world. First, there are those that will watch a movie from start to finish and evaluate if they like it at the end. Like normal people.
The second group will start watching a movie, get distracted 5 minutes in if it doesn’t grab their attention, then fold laundry, bake cookies, call mom, and walk in and out of the room just often enough to get the gist of what’s going on without actually watching. I’m the second person. Which are you?
Back to tres leches…
I love a good tres leches cake. There’s something comforting about the texture, especially if you like dunking desserts in milk. And the flavor, with just a hint of cinnamon and the right amount of sweetness is so good! But sometimes, it’s fun to create a play on the classics.
Also, I’m currently digging the move towards unconventional wedding cake flavors, including tres leches! Side story… just before I closed my bakery, I was contacted by a bride looking to order several large trays of tres leches cake for her wedding. They were going to have a small cutting cake, but serve everyone tres leches instead. AWESOME idea!
So what did we change here?
The difference in this recipe? I added booze. :-p Not enough that you’ll get any sort of buzz, but definitely enough to add flavor. The Godfather says it has a nice balance of everything and definitely tastes White Russian cocktail-inspired.
The best thing about making a tres leches is that you can definitely make this cake in advance! In fact, it tastes better after resting for a few hours or overnight! If you’re looking for a dessert for a Cinco de Mayo party or other big gathering, this is a good one.
The only thing to keep in mind is the availability of refrigeration. Tres leches cake should be refrigerated and doesn’t hold up well in heat. Plan accordingly.
I hope you enjoy this White Russian Tres Leches cake recipe! And let me know in the comments whether you’re movie watcher 1 or 2.
- 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 whole milk
- 1 14 oz can condensed milk
- 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 1/3 cup coffee liquor (such as Kahlua)
- 1/3 cup Irish cream liquor (such as Bailey's)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F (177 C, mark 4).
- 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, half the milk and vanilla extract, the rest of the dry ingredients, and the last bit of the milk. Stir until just combined, then pour into an 9x13" 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 dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
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