Local Flavor: New Orleans: Recipe for Tres Leches Cake from Riomar

Adolfo Garcia's Tres Leches Cake

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One of my favorite sweet treats is the tres leches cake at Riomar Restaurant in New Orleans. This pure indulgence is easy, decadent, and rich with coconut. Watch Chef Adolfo Garcia make tres leches.

If you want to save time, use your favorite store-bought sponge cake.


For 1 (8-inch) Basic Sponge Cake:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the tres leches mixture:

  • 1 (8-oz) can shredded coconut cooked in simple syrup (Goya or Ancel)
  • 1 (14-oz) can each condensed milk
  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (12-oz) can filled with whole milk
  • Toppings: whipped cream, toasted almonds, caramel sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan.

Beat eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Combine cake flour and salt; add gradually to egg mixture in thirds, stirring well after each addition. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool slightly.

Split cake crosswise and remove top half and set aside. Spread a thick layer of coconut onto cake. Top with remaining cake half. Poke holes in cake using a chopstick or bottom of wooden spoon. Combine the 3 milks and pour generously over cake. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Bring to room temperature and serve, topped with whipped cream, almonds, and caramel.

Date Published: November 3, 2008

All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

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