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The sweetest Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake…for your weekend baking. Tres Leches, which means “three milks” is a sweet, dense, pudding-like cake, popular throughout Latin America. Instead of the traditional three milks (heavy cream, evaporated, and sweetened condensed milk), we’re putting our own little spin on this cake. We’re using cinnamon, rice milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk for a Horchata-style tres leches cake that’s delicious. Frost this cake with coffee swirled whipped cream for a true “dirty” horchata twist. Everyone loves this fun cake that’s perfect for upcoming Cinco de Mayo.

overhead photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Happy Friday everyone! I have the sweetest cake to share today. It’s very different, yet so very fun, and so so delicious!

Do you all remember the (extra) dirty Horchata I shared a few weeks ago? Well, I loved that fun cocktail so much that it actually inspired this recipe. Basically this is the cake version of the fun cocktail…and it’s a toss-up as to which recipe I love more. Both are so good and so fun to make. With Cinco de Mayo coming up on Tuesday, I knew this was the perfect cake to share.

Because really, aren’t we all planning our Cinco de Mayo fiesta this weekend? With everything happening in the world these days, a fun Cinco de Mayo celebration at home is exactly what I need to look forward to this week.

We already talked tacos this week, so today, it’s dessert. And tomorrow…can you guess? It’s going to be good!

prep photo of pouring the milk over the Cake

The Background.

For anyone unfamiliar with Tres Leches cake, it’s a sweet and dense, pudding-like cake, that’s popular throughout Latin America. The cake is soaked in a syrup-like mix of three milks…traditionally, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Just before serving, the cake is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Horchata is a sweet nut or rice milk-based drink that is flavored with cinnamon and spices. A dirty horchata is that very same drink, but it’s made with iced coffee poured over top. See my (extra) dirty horchata as an example.

prep photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake soaking in milk

So exactly what have I done here with this cake? I swapped out the basic kinds of milk for rice and coconut milk, and I infused the cake with cinnamon. Then I finished the cake with coffee swirled whipped cream. So you now have a dirty horchata – tres leches cake.

Did I lose you yet? If so, I am so sorry, I don’t mean to confuse you. Let me sum it up like this. This cake is DELICIOUS. It’s Mexican inspired, with plenty of sweetness, hints of cinnamon, and coffee…plus a little rum too.

overhead photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake in pan with whipped cream

Here are all the details.

Start with the cake.

It’s a simple cake that’s made dense and pudding-like by incorporating whipped egg whites. Once the cake batter is combined, take the egg whites and whip them until stiff peaks form. This step is key to a lighter cake with the perfect spongy texture. It takes no effort at all and creates a truly luscious cake. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Bake the cake. Then poke holes all around the top of the cake. Yes, in order to allow the cake to soak up all that delicious milk glaze, you will need to poke holes in it. And I promise, all will be OK. The holes allow for the cake to evenly absorb all of the glaze.

Soaking the cake in the glaze makes for an incredibly soft and incredibly flavorful cake.

side angled photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake square

It. Is. SO GOOD!

While the cake is cooking, mix up the “three milks” glaze, which in the case of this cake is rice milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Pour the sweet milk glaze over the cake and let the glaze soak into the cake. You can let the cake sit a few hour or up to three days in the fridge

overhead close up photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Now onto the coffee cream.

As I mentioned a dirty horchata is horchata with coffee, so I swirled some coffee into the whipped cream.

It’s a subtle flavor, but it’s delicious. I love it paired with the hints of warming cinnamon and the rum throughout the cake.

overhead close up photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Every bite of this cake is filled with sweet cinnamon flavors. The texture is very pudding-like. And the whipped cream on top is that final extra special touch that really elevates this cake above others. Trust me, I know this is different, but it’s different in a very delicious way.

This cake is perfect for Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day. But it’s equally perfect for just about any other occasion as well…like when you’re in need of a sweet cake to bake up over the weekend!

side angled photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake square with a bite taken out

Lastly, if you make this dirty horchata tres leches cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 349 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x8 inch square baking pan. 
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Whisk in the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the salt. The batter will be very thick.
    3. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, another 3 to 5 minutes. Fold about 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
    4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes. Let cool 15 or so minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice milk, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and rum (if using).
    6. Use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the warm cake. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake. Cover and chill cake for at least 4 hours or overnight (or up to 3 days).
    7. No more than 4 hours before serving, whip the cream and powdered sugar together using an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the whipped cream in half. Stir the instant coffee and Kahlúa into half of the whipped cream. Dollop both the plain cream and coffee cream over the cake and gently spread, swirling the two together. Sprinkle with more cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Homemade Horchata: Combine 1 cup uncooked rice and 2 1/2 cups steaming hot water in a large bowl. Soak at room temperature for 2-4 hours, the rice will not be completely soft, this is OK. Alternately, you can use room temp water and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Pour the rice and water into a blender. Blend until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Blend until combined. Pour the mixture into a large pitcher or jar. Add 4 cups milk and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve. Stir well before serving.

overhead horizontal photo of Dirty Horchata Tres Leches Cake

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Comments

    1. Hey Joana,
      I would make this no more than 24 hours before serving. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  1. 5 stars
    So I doubled this recipe and made it for my brother’s birthday. I was so nervous about the turnout of the cake because the liquid didn’t completely soak in (wasn’t sure if it supposed to) but after letting it soak for 24 hours I cut the cake and crossed my fingers. No lie, every single person in my family of 16 loved the cake. From kids to adults to people who have said they typically don’t like tres leches cake – they all loved it. It wasn’t too sweet at all, didn’t have rum but the instant coffee in the cream was a great touch and it was really easy to make! Great cake!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      So sorry you had issues with the cake, was there anything you may have adjusted? Let me know how I can help! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021. xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Before this recipe, I didn’t think I could conquer a tres leches cake at home, but your recipe made it so easy AND tasty! The combo of flavors made it not too sweet, but the texture was delectable!

    1. Hey Tieghan thanks so much for such a great recipe. It’s one of my favourites, by far the best twist on a tres leches cake. I’ve made it so many times but I cannot get my swirl to look like yours. What’s your technique? My coffee cream just mixes into the white and becomes one uniform blob. Help!

      1. Hey Maud,
        Fantastic! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! I use a knife for swirling and try to be extra gentle. xxTieghan

    1. Hey Jill,
      Yes 3/4 cup of flour is correct, I honestly wouldn’t recommend using almond flour, I haven’t had the best results. Try using an equal amount of gluten free flour, I like Cup4cup. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Melia,
      I haven’t tested doubling the recipe, but ideally that it what you would do. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. Hello!

    Reading your recipe and it says ” Stir the instant coffee and Kahlúa into half of the whipped cream. Dollop both the plain cream and coffee cream over the cake and gently spread, swirling the two together. ”

    If we aren’t using Kahlua, do we need to use something else? What plain cream and coffee cream did you use? Thank you!

    1. Hey Sally! You can just omit the Kahlua. I use Nestle Cafe instant coffee a lot and just regular heavy cream. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    So delicious! I soaked the cake about 20 hours but wish I had maybe done it even longer. The flavored whip cream was my favorite part, although I honestly could have had the glaze as a dessert itself.

  5. I want to make this for my husband’s birthday on the 5th. How long do you think the horchata will last in the fridge?

    1. Hi Andrea,
      The horchata is good for a few days in the fridge. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    I have made this twice now and it has been a HUGE hit! And pretty easy once you watch Tieghan’s stories. Love that it made it on the stories–made the last part of step three to loosen the mixture make a lot of sense. Thanks for the recipe, Tieghan!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday, it turned out perfectly and tasted even better than I expected. So delicious. I love that it’s something different than my usual go-to desserts!

    1. Hi Ava,
      That will work just fine! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for Mother’s Day and it was so good my dad is requesting it for Father’s Day but with a banana twist (he loves banana desserts). Any suggestions on how to incorporate bananas??

    1. Hey Syd!! So glad you enjoyed the cake! I would simply add slices of banana to the top of the whipped cream, then sprinkle with powdered sugar of cocoa powder. That will be SO DELICIOUS. YUM! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am so glad you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  9. Hi! This recipe looks great, I’m wondering if it would be alright to sub in GF flour or almond flour?
    I have a roomie who has celiac’s and would love to have her be able to try the cake as well!

    1. Hi Lex! I have not tried it with Gf flour, but if you would like to I would recommend cup4cup! I hope you love this recipe! xTieghan

  10. Hi! I just made this and it was so delicious! I had to pour off about 1/2 cup of the glaze though. The cake seemed kind of dense and a little dry. The glaze didn’t seem too think and I poked holes in the top. Any recommendation? I’d love to try it again! Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

  11. Hi Tieghan!

    Would it work to double this recipe and use a 9×13 pan? any adjustment to the cooking time if I do that? And also does this cake need to be stored in the fridge given the milk base? Thanks! Planning to try for Mother’s Day 🙂

    1. Hi Nichole,
      I haven’t tested this but I am sure it would work well. I would add 15 minutes to the baking time, but be sure to keep an eye on it. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Paige,
      You add it dry! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    Loving this right now! I used a bit of coconut rum and then garnished with toasted coconut in addition to the cinnamon. YUM!!! Thank you 🙂

  13. Hello! I am currently making this recipe…can I use a glass baking dish, loaf pan or round cake pan? I just realized my square cake pan is with a friend :/ Can’t wait to see how this turns out!

    1. Hi Kelsey,
      I would use the round cake pan! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  14. Hi Tieghan! I’m very excited to try this cake recipe this weekend, not only because it looks 100% amazing but also because I’m hoping it will work well for high altitude. I’m originally from Texas and Tres Leches Cake used to be one of my family specialties. After moving to Colorado about seven years ago, I tried my recipe 2-3 times and it completely collapsed every time! It was too depressing to try again so it’s been years since I’ve made one. Mine was also based on a chiffon cake recipe. We are on the west side of Denver, at about 5,900 feet. What is your altitude? Around 9,000? Would you suggest making any changes for my specific altitude? Adjusting recipes for altitude has been such an issue for me!

    1. Hi Angie! I am glad there is a recipe that you can try for higher altitude now! You should be fine using this recipe. I hope you love it! xTieghan

  15. Is the tbsp. If instant coffee prepared or just the measured powder? I know it’s a silly question, but my OCD won’t let me be adventurous! Haha

    1. Hi Courtney,
      It is the measured amount. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  16. 4 stars
    This cake was easy to make for a neophyte baker like me. It also had a nice, not too sweet flavor. As one other person noted, my cake was thinner. As a result, even at 15 minutes in the oven, it was slightly over baked. And, I did use espresso instead of instant coffee (which I did not have available). I just used the espresso in a much lesser quantity (maybe a generous teaspoon) to account for its intense flavor. Since espresso is very fine ground, it actually was not gritty. Another substitution was condensed coconut cream Instead of coconut milk since it was what I had on hand. I also used whole milk and evaporated milk. The family devoured it all. I will make this again and will use the ingredients as listed when I’m able to get them. Thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    I just got all the ingredients for this, but forget the heavy cream! Do you have any recommendations for substitutes or should I run back to the store? I am so excited to make this!

    1. Hi Allison,
      You could use half and half or whole milk! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  18. Im baking this right now!! Quick question though.. do you think cupcakes would work okay? I want to take them into work tomorrow! Also, can you use whiskey instead of rum? Thanks!

    1. Hi Becky,
      You could totally do cupcakes and I am sure whiskey would work as well if you like the taste. I hope you love recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  19. These look amazing. Would you advise against using something like espresso in place of the instant coffee?

    1. Hi Melissa! I would not use it unless it is instant. Otherwise the grounds will stay in the cake giving it a gritty texture! xTieghan

  20. 4 stars
    Taste was amazing but mine definitely didn’t look like the pictures lol. The cake was a lot thinner and the glaze didn’t soak in- I had to remove about ½ cup of it. Thoughts on where I went wrong? Like I said, it tasted amazing but looked kind of pathetic haha. Thanks!

    1. Hi Leila,
      So sorry you had issues with the recipe. Did you poke the holes for the glaze to soak in? It sounds like your glaze was too thick, try adding more coconut milk next time to thin it out. I hope this helps. xTieghan

  21. I love all your recipes and step by ste videos! This looks delicious.
    Could you substitute the Kahlua for Baileys? Or would it change the taste? Thanks 😊💕

    1. Hi Sharon,
      I think that sounds like a great idea! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any others questions! xTieghan

  22. Mouth. Is. Watering. I want to make this…but actually I just want someone else to make this and then feed it directly into my mouth ahhhhhhh

    1. Hi Karen! I use an 8×8 in pan! I hope you love this recipe if you get a chance to try it! xTieghan

  23. Wow, this looks SO good. Your recipes and pictures are all phenomenal! I wish I was eating this cake for breakfast right now. I can’t wait to try it!

  24. This looks unbelievable – pretty sure I could eat the coffee whipped cream alone with a spoon, but topping that cake it’s true perfection.

  25. 5 stars
    OMG, I just made your horchata on Monday to surprise my husband with a new cocktail and he requested Tres Leches for Cinco de Mayo! I can’t wait to try this!