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Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

Ending the week with a sweet cake just seemed like a really good idea, because man oh man was it a week. A great one, but a busy one. Somehow we are already into the last full week of April, and next week we’ll be moving into May. This means three things.

One, Cinco de Mayo is a week from Saturday. Which I am very excited about this, as if you couldn’t tell by all the tacos, queso, and margaritas I’ve been sharing over the last week. Oh, and the churros

Two, Mother’s Day is just two weeks from Sunday. I need to start plotting out what I’m going to do for my mom. I already pre-gifted her this fun basket, so I need some new ideas. Help! What are you all doing for your mom?

Three, summer is only about a month and half away. I hate to wish time away, but I am so ready for summer. Bring on warm days, long nights, heirloom tomatoes, and plenty of ice cream. Please.

With so much to look forward to and celebrate in the next few weeks I figured a cake was in order.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

And in comes this fun, yet different, bundt cake.

With Cinco de Mayo next week, and Mother’s Day immediately following, I wanted to share a cake that could work for both holidays. Enter this pretty Tres Leches Cake. It may be very Mexican, but it’s also perfect as a Mother’s Day brunch cake or dessert.

If you’re unfamiliar with tres leches cake, it’s a Mexican sponge cake that is soaked in a three milk glaze. I’m sharing my own updated version that includes coconut for an added flavor boost.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

Here is how this cake works.

The base of the cake is very similar to that of a really good vanilla cake, but it’s infused with some coconut flavor as well. What makes this cake special is the cream cheese and coconut swirl running through the center of the bundt cake, it’s unexpected and delicious.

The cake itself is super simple, not too sweet, and honestly nothing too fancy. This is a cake that truly needs a glaze, the glaze is what a tres leches cake is all about. Traditionally, a tres leches cake is made with a three milk glaze that consists of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. In my version, I am only using two milks, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. I’m also including a touch of cinnamon and rum, you know for good measure.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

Here’s what you might find odd about a tres leches cake. In order to allow the cake to soak up all that delicious glaze, you will need to poke holes in it. Yes, you are going to poke holes in your cake, and I promise all with be OK. The holes allow for the cake to evenly absorb all of the glaze.

Trust me, it’s the right thing to do. Soaking the cake in the glaze makes for an incredibly soft, and incredibly flavorful cake.

It. Is. SO. GOOD!

Especially when paired with the coconutty creamy cheese center. Again, so delicious.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

As I mentioned above, 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. I’m planning to make this over the weekend for a family Saturday night dinner as my oldest brother, Creighton and my youngest brother, Red will both be in town. It will be the perfect time do an early Mother’s Day dinner, since we can’t all be together in two weeks for Mother’s Day.

Got to make the time while we have a good amount of the crew together. This should be the perfect cake to end dinner with. Already excited about it.

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

If you make this Tres Leches cake and love it, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love, love, love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every one of you. Oh, and of course, if you do make this Tres Leches cake, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram so I can see! I love looking at the photos of recipes you all have made. So fun!

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories Per Serving: 472 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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Coconut Glaze

  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut rum (optional) (optional)


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan.
    2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and milk until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low-speed until just combined, being sure the batter is completely mixed.
    3. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Gently dollop the softened cream cheese over the batter and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the shredded coconut over top the cream cheese. Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese, carefully spreading in an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 15  minutes. 
    4. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and coconut rum, if using. If the glaze seems thick, add coconut milk to thin.
    5. Pierce holes in the top of the cake with a skewer, inserting about halfway through the cake. Slowly drizzle 1/4 of the glaze evenly over cake. Let stand 15 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate with edges and poke holes around the top of the cake. Drizzle with the remaining glaze. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours or up to overnight. Before serving, drizzle any glaze sitting on the plate over the cake. Slice and serve. 

Cream Cheese Swirled Coconut Tres Leches Cake | #cake #Mexican #recipes #spring

See you all tomorrow for a special Saturday Nine Favorite Things.

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  1. 1 star
    This cake sounded so good and the results were so disappointing. The only adjustment that I made was to just sprinkle 1/3 cup of shredded coconut over the cream cheese layer rather than 1-1/2 cups. I thought that much unsweetened coconut would make the cake dry. The rest of the ingredients and steps were followed as written. What I expected was a delightfully moist and coconutty cake. Instead it was somewhat hard and dense and nowhere near moist. The cake was set out about 30 minutes prior to serving. My daughter put her piece in the microwave and she said it was a game changer. It dramatically improved the texture and brought out the flavor of coconut. We often use your recipes and this was our first “meh”.

    1. Hey Deb,
      So sorry you did not enjoy this recipe, using only 1/3 cup of coconut is quite a dramatic decrease from the 1 1/2 cups that the recipe called for, so I do think this could have affected the end result. Please let me know if I can help in any other way! xTieghan

  2. I would love to make this in mini bundt pans. Do you think that would work? If so what temp and how long should they cook?

    Love everything you do!

    1. Hey Kat,
      Yes, I think that would work well for you! For the bake time, it depends how mini the bundt pans are, but I would start checking for doneness at 20-25 minutes. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. Hi there!
    I T
    tried making the cake and the batter is a bit thick and sticky in a way and this makes it hard for me to mold it properly in the bundt pan so it breaks in the middle portion where the cream cheese and coconut are. Any suggestions on how to fix this?
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Susana,
      I am so sorry you are having issues with the batter. It would help if I knew if you adjusted the recipe in anyway? The batter should definitely be easy to spread inside of the mold. Please let me know how I can help! xTieghan

    1. Hi Susana,
      The glaze is meant to be liquidy. I hope love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. Hi ! I am doing this recipe just the way you did it , but I would like to know if there is any difference if I use coconut cream in the recipe instead of coconut milk ? Will it give the cake more a creamy texture ? Thanks !

    1. Hi Mariana,
      Yes it will be slightly more creamy, but you should be okay to use it! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. this recipe was very good but the cake came out VERY dry. I did add the glaze and poked holes, etc. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Alicia! I am sorry you had trouble. Was there anything you did differently at all? Any ingredients different? Method of baking this? Any info will be helpful to help me problem solve and figure out what might be happening for you. It’s hard to know without knowing any details. Hope I can help you! xTieghan

  6. Hi there! I recently attempted the chai gingerbread cream cheese Bundt cake recipe for the holidays and it turned out beautiful except for the cream cheese layer. I’m not sure if it was my cheese (basic 8oz Philadelphia block, softened) but it almost turned out rubbery? I expected it to melt a bit more maybe? I want to try this cake but figured I’d ask for more insight here because even your pictures show the cheese to appear more soft. Thanks a bunch for sharing your delicious recipes!

    1. Hi Katie! It sounds like you may have over baked it! You are referring to the bundt cake right? Just making sure because this is a different post! Please let me know if you have any other questions about this! xTieghan

    2. Hi Katie, I am sorry you had some trouble. Which cake did you make? This post is the Tres Leches cake, not the gingerbread.

      I am not sure why the cream cheese was rubbery, that is very odd. Was the cheese fresh? Had it been sitting out or anything weird happen to it by chance? Any details will be helpful. 🙂

      Next time, maybe try baking the cake a little less. This was the cream cheese should be runnier on the inside. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  7. Hi there! I was wondering, can you make this cake with cake flour or is this cake fluffy enough? Curious if you’ve ever done it that way. Love all your recipes by the way. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Vicky! I have never made this with cake flour, but I am sure it would work wonderfully! You will have an extra fluffy cake! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I loved the potential of the cake/recipe so much the first time, I made the cake a second time just a couple of weeks later to see if I could get it right! Like some of the other reviewers, I had a lot of trouble with my cake splitting at the cream cheese/coconut line — and it was a little dry so I had vanilla ice cream on hand!) that I decided to not make it so fancy and just put the cream cheese and the coconut (definitely use the sweetened flakes) inside the batter to avoid the split. I also added another 1/2 stick of melted butter. (baking the cake this way rose more than previously and I imagine some bakers might cut off the raised part of the cake so it lays flat.) Also, I may be impatient and others might have an easier time with the poking holes and dripping the milks but I decided to scrap that process and just spoon the topping over the cake as it is being served on the plate. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Hi there! This recipe looks divine and I really wish to try it. However, I do not like flaked coconut, just the flavor. If I leave of the coconut flakes, do I need to replace them with a similar-textured ingredient or add more flour in order to achieve the right consistency? Thank you!

  10. 3 stars
    I enjoyed this cake, however I used unsweetened coconut and I would not recommend this choice. My cake split at the coconut and cream cheese layer and despite the milk soaking was dry. I think using sweetened coconut and whipping the cream cheese would improve the results as another reviewer recommended.

  11. 4 stars
    I made this cake exactly as written, and it was delicious…..however there was one problem. The coconut in the center caused the cake to split into two bits when cut into slices. It split right where the coconut & cream cheese was. The coconut I used was completely dry, not like the sweetened coconut which is moist. Would you suggest whipping up an egg white & coating the coconut with it before putting it in the batter? Aside from that issue, the cake was huge hit, thank you.

    1. HI! So sorry you cake split. I have never mixed an egg white with coconut so I am not sure how that works exactly. If it moisten the coconut then I am sure that would be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. So glad you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan ?

  12. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday along with your chipotle chicken nachos for a perfect Mexican dinner & dessert! It was fantastic- I loved the density of the cake and it’s subtle yet smooth vanilla and coconut flavor. Love a pound cake texture of any sort! And with all that coconut & coconut milk, very, very healthy too!? A keeper!!!

    1. Je suis tellement content que tu aimes ça! Vous pouvez ajouter votre email à la liste d’abonnement sur la page principale de mon site! S’il vous plaît laissez-moi savoir si vous avez des questions!

  13. 4 stars
    I made this cake couple days ago and the flavor was wonderful. I have some suggetions if anyone interested. I think whipping the cream cheese would help it to soften and it’s easier to spred. I used unsweetened coconut, next time I would use sweetended. I would triple the glaze and add more rum for more flavor. Just my take on this awesome recipe. Thanks Tiegan!

  14. Hi Teighan! I made this over the weekend, and I really enjoyed the coconut flavor (I’d probably have to do a better job of evening out my cream cheese layer though). I love all the fun things you come up with!

    I wanted to add to Tania’s comment about the recipe weight measures – it turns out, that cup measures can vary up to +/-10% in volume. So the one-cup measure that you have could actually be as much as 20% different than the one-cup measure I have, even if they both claim to be ‘one cup’. That’s why for precise baking, some people prefer weight. If you’re ever interested in posting weight measures, you would have to calibrate them by using YOUR one-cup measure.

    1. Hi Cece! I am so glad you loved this recipe and hope you love others on the blog! I personally am not familiar with weight measurements, so I tried to convert them online. Thank you for letting me know though! ?

  15. This looks amazing! I am hoping to make it for a Cinco De Mayo dinner party we’re having this weekend. I am curious if I could sub a gluten free flour for the regular flour. Also, could you make this the night before for a dinner party?

    1. I have not tried this with GF flour, so it’s really hard for me to say. If you are comfortable with GF baking then I say go for it! This is a great cake to make the night before a party. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  16. I do not have a bundt Pan, what size pan would this work best with instead? 🙂 I’m so excited to make this!

    1. I would bake this in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

    1. Yes! This cake is a great cake to make the day before a party. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  17. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan and everyone else! So I made this cake yesterday. It was so much fun. It’s half gone as my boyfriend eats up everything. The Garburator.. anyways, I only have a 7 inch bundt pan (fits my Instant Pot) so I halved the recipe and it seemed to work out. Plus it’s just the two of us so this pan size works great for us. My cream cheese center seems bigger than what I thought it should be but I did use half. I also used coconut sugar instead of white sugar so my cake is darker which is totally fine. I made it tres leches by using a sweetened coconut condensed milk (not because I needed to make it tres leches, I wanted to try this milk I had in my cupboard) Might be harder for others to find if you don’t live in a city. Plus it’s a bit pricey. I’m in Canada and it’s 5$ for a 6oz can. It’s organic and it has a higher fat content but very tasty. But i mixed the two condensed milks. I cooked my cake for 35 mins which was perfect. Did everything else the same. I kept spooning my glaze over the cake after I drizzled in order to seep it. I used a skewer to poke holes and I did tonnes of holes. I love the flavour of the cake as it’s not too sweet. Love the coconut parts. The center is quite a bit of coconut with the cream cheese. I’d like it to be more soaked in glaze next time. Maybe I’ll use a fork to poke more holes (might be thicker holes? Or not?) and add more glaze. Oh I added the rum too. I did spiced rum. And I did not use half. More like double HA! I love how the rum cuts the flavour so well. I’m sure this cake will be finished tonight ?

    I posted a pic on Instagram (I tried to copy the floral arrangement you created, as I had some flowers about to go so I thought hey! I’ll try the cake deco) and I tagged @halfbakedharvest and #halfbakedharvest. Not sure which i was suppose to do, maybe both? I hope you saw it. Everyone loves it. My cake looks very pretty ?

    1. Hi Anna! I am so glad you made this and it turned out so wonderful for you! Thank you so much! Also, I am looking at the photo on Instagram now, it is so beautiful!!

    1. Hi! Sticks of butter are just what the standard butter comes in in the US. It is equivalent to 8 fl ounces of butter. I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions!

  18. 5 stars
    lovely new cake recipe for me, love that the glaze is not too sweet and coconut flavored, a very nice recipe for mother’s day, thank you

  19. 5 stars
    Toucans wait to make this cake! It looks so yummy!
    It was nice meeting you today at the event honoring Your brother and the other Olympic athletes!
    Keep up the beautiful work!

  20. Looks delicious & I love some good tres leches cake, but the title is deceiving only because you are using two types of milk instead of three. Maybe you can add a fun twist to your recipe’s name 🙂 Looking forward to baking it!

  21. This is my first time reading your blog. I have a question about the cream cheese coconut tres Leche cake before I try baking it.
    Does the soaking liquid soak the entire cake when it is a thicker cake like a bundt?
    Normally a tres leche is a flat style cake so the soaking liquid is completely absorbed in the cake which is what makes it so wonderful.
    The combination of favoring in your recipe does sound delicious but I did not know if it would hold up if it is that thick?

    1. HI! So glad to have a new reader! For the cake, you will poke holes in both the bottom and top of the cake, so yes, It will soak the whole cake. As for the structure, I found it held up really well to the milk. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

    1. Technically, yes it should, but I felt that since it was inspired by tres leches and resembles a trech leches cake so much that it was ok to call it that. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  22. This looks insanely delicious!
    I think I will make this for a party I have coming up in the summer!
    Today I am making your banana coconut cake with chocolate frosting (sorry cant remember the exact name!) for my in-laws anniversary and I am pumped!

  23. Hi Tiegan
    This cake looks amazing and I would love to make it. Do you by any chance have measurements other than cups? Cups are different sizes all over the world . Can I have it at least in ouzes or grams if you have that please?.

    1. Hi Tania! I actually do not know the exact calculations into ounces and grams for this recipe, but I did use an online converter to try to calculate it for you. I am not sure if these are completely accurate, so I would check them! Also, these are all in US conversions! I hope you love this cake and please let me know if you have any other questions!

      8 fl ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
      225 grams of granulated sugar
      .33 fluid ounces of vanilla extract
      4 egs
      8 fl ounces of full fat canned coconut milk
      360 grams all-purpose flour
      4 grams baking powder
      2 grams baking soda
      2 grams salt
      8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
      510 grams shredded coconut

      4 fluid ounces full fat coconut milk
      15 ounces sweetened condensed milk
      1 pinch cinnamon
      .5 fluid ounces of coconut run (optional)

  24. Why are you celebrating Cinco de maya, it isn’t t even a holiday in Mexico. Most Mexicans don’t even know what it is. If it was a Mexican holiday, why would celebrate it anyway. Therefore, this would be great for Mothers Day. In any case, sounds delicious.

  25. I’m lactose intolerant but this has peaked my taste buds to want to make and try this. You have such a way with words that I can imagine all the delectable deliciousness of this cake. I will tag you for sure.
    Thank you

    On a side note what happened to your app?

    1. Thank you so much, Kae! I hope you are able to make this and adapt to your needs.

      I haven’t had an app for a while. I am so sorry if you where using it, but it wasn’t working properly and we never looked into re-launching it. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

    1. You can use either sweetened or unsweetened, but I used shredded, sweetened coconut. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂