Guys, this tres leches cake has QUATRO LECHES!! Aaaaand it’s matcha and coconut flavored!! This is the cake of all cakes, so I’m so glad you stopped by to see how to make it!
Here’s a quick video to just give you a visual of the steps. Scroll through for in depth instructions, and all the way to the bottom for the recipe!
Tres leches is traditionally a simple sponge cake that is soaked in milk and topped with whipped cream. It is basically the OG poke cake. I guess it’s unknown whether the original recipe was developed in Mexico or Nicaragua, but regardless, it’s delicious. To make a tres leches cake, you first make the cake, then you poke tons of holes in it with a fork. Then you make a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (hence, tres leches, or three milks), and pour it over the cake. Finally, you top it with some whipped cream and maraschino cherries. The cake base is super light and fluffy, and the milk mixture that soaks into the cake allows for a super moist cake. Then the simple whipped cream just completes it all.
For my take on this cake, I added a FOURTH leche, making this a quatro leches cake *swoon*. The fourth milk is coconut milk (currently, I’m coconut obsessed). Full disclosure, the fourth milk is not actually part of the “tres leches” clan b/c it’s part of the cake, but still, this cake has 4 different types of milk in it (well actually five if you count the whipped cream)! I also added matcha powder to both the cake and the milk mixture. I think matcha powder and coconut are such a natural pairing, so this combo only seemed fitting. This recipe is adapted from Pioneer Woman – who doesn’t love her? These are the changes I made: 1. I swapped out the milk in the cake for coconut milk, and added a little extra to account for the matcha powder; 2. I added matcha powder to the cake and milk mixture, 3. I sprinkled coconut shreds and matcha powder on top (both for decorative and flavor purposes).
Here we go with the recipe! It may seem complicated at first, but it’s quite easy to follow along, so stay with me! First, let’s make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha powder in a bowl. Separate 5 eggs (use whatever method you fancy). In a separate bowl, whip your egg yolks and 3/4 cup of white sugar using an electric mixer until it turns pale yellow and doubles in volume (about 1-2 minutes). Add the egg yolk mixture, 1/2 cup milk and vanilla to your dry ingredients (Try to use a fattier milk- whole or half and half; OR you can use some coconut milk). In another bowl, whip egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy, but not dry (this took about 5-6 minutes). Add whipped egg whites to dry ingredient/egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. I promise all these extra steps are so worth is for a fluffy cake at the end! Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with flour and butter. Pour batter into dish, and bake for 30-35 minutes. It is done when the toothpick test comes out positive (no crumbs on the toothpick when inserted into thickest part of cake). Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then flip it onto a large platter (preferably one with some type of edges to contain the liquid we’ll be pouring over the top). Let cool completely.
Make the soaking milk layer. Combine one can sweetened condensed milk, one can evaporated milk, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and 1 tbsp matcha powder. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup heavy cream, but I wanted to use coconut milk- this is the coconut milk you find in the cans, NOT the ones you find next to the almond milk/soy milk and such. I also made my own evaporated milk because I didn’t have any and was way too lazy to go to the store. I followed this recipe, but honestly, it was a lot of work and will probably just buy the can next time.
Get a fork (or toothpick) and poke tons of little holes in your cooled matcha sponge cake. Then pour your milk layer slowly over the top of your cake. It’s ok if you see a pool of liquid around the edges- the cake will soak most of it up, and this is what makes this cake so moist! Set aside while you make your whipped cream. Whip a pint (2 cups) of heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Spread evenly over the top of your cake. The cake is now done! You can refrigerate it until it’s time to serve it. I cut my cake into 18 total slices, and sprinkled some sweetened coconut shreds and extra matcha powder over the top of it. I wanted to be like those cool bloggers/bakers that so delicately dust their cakes with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, but I did not have the proper equipment. So, yes, I used a tea strainer to do it, and YES, it works the same (it just might not look as cool while I’m doing it, but that’s ok)!
This cake is straight up amazing! The flavors are definitely on point, and the combination of textures is perfect. Come on, it’s cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk- that alone should sell you on this!! This is one of those dishes that is great to feed a bunch of people; for taking to potlucks, parties, st. patrick’s day events, etc. But this is definitely not a drab casserole (I have nothing against casseroles); this cake is impressive, interesting, pretty, and freaking delicious! Give it a try even if you don’t have a party to go to; it’s easy enough and delicious enough to make it for yourself!
- 1 cup flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1 cup white sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 1/2 cup milk*
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Separate the eggs.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt and matcha powder in a bowl.
- Whip egg yolk and 3/4 cup white sugar in a bowl until pale and doubled in volume (1-2 minutes).
- Mix together dry ingredients, egg yolk mixture, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whip egg white and 1/4 cup white sugar until soft peak form (5 mins). Add egg white mixture to flour/egg yolk mixture. Fold together gently until combined.
- Prepare a 13x9 baking dish with butter and flour. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in dish for 10 minutes and transfer to a big platter. Let cool completely.
- Poke holes in cake with fork or toothpick/skewer.
- Combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and matcha powder.
- Pour mixture over the top of the cake and set aside for 30 minutes
- Whip cold heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix to combine.
- Spread whipped cream over the top of your cake.
- Cut and serve immediately, or cover (air tight, preferably) for up to 2 days.
- Garnish with sweetened coconut shreds and matcha powder if desired.
- * For the milk in the cake, try to use a milk with a higher fat content (I recommend whole milk), or you can use some coconut milk too