Friday, September 23, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

Is it really possible to make a healthy -- or at least, healthier -- version of this indulgent cake? According to my friend Mary Ann Barnes, who sent me this recipe, the answer is yes.

Mary Ann is a master at having her cake and eating it too. That is, she's figured out healthy substitutions for so many of her favorite dessert recipes, enabling her to feed her sweet tooth without too awfully much guilt.
This one is fantastic!

Recipe : Tres Leches Cake
Serves 12

For the cake:
¾ cup egg substitute
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of salt
½ cup fat free milk
2 cups whole grain pastry flour, or a mix of white and whole grain flour
¼ cup dried egg white
¾ cup water

For the sauce:
1 14-ounce can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 12-ounce can fat free evaporated milk
½ cup fat free milk
2 tablespoons rum

For the meringue topping:
½ cup dried egg whites
1 ½ cup water
dash of salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.

Prepare the cake batter:
In a large mixing bowl, mix egg substitute, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add baking powder, salt and sugar.  Alternately add milk and flour, about 1/3 at a time, mixing after each addition. 

In a small bowl, whip dried egg white with water until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Fold into cake batter.  Spoon cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto cake platter. 

Prick bottom of cake many times with a fork. 

Prepare the sauce:
In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, fat free milk and rum.  Whisk until smooth.  Slowly pour milk mixture evenly over cake.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Prepare topping:
In a medium bowl, whip dried egg white and water until stiff peaks form.  Meanwhile, combine salt, sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking until mixture boils for 4 minutes, without stirring.  In a steady thin stream, pour syrup into egg whites while beating.  Add vanilla.  Frost cake.  Refrigerate until served.


  1. Never heard about this cake before. It looks really amazing. I think that it is really hard to bake this cake at home as per the ingredients.

  2. You can substitute easier to find ingredients, such as regular eggs and egg whites. Mary Ann is a stickler about not using real eggs, but I think eggs actually are very healthy. A little low-fat or even whole milk here and there also is not going to kill you, and the cake will taste richer. And finally, you can use regular (white) pastry flour instead of whole wheat.

  3. I, too, prefer coconut sugar to most other sweeteners. It is reasonably priced at

    The names palm sugar and coconut sugar are often used interchangeably on package labels. If you are looking for a specific type, check the ingredients list on the package rather than the title on the label.

    When the coconut tree is tapped, it produces a nutrient-rich "sap" from the coconut blossoms. This sap is very low glycemic & is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitamin C,
    & B vitamins