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This recipe for eggnog tres leches cake is a holiday take on the classic tres leches cake. The regular milk is substituted out for eggnog resulting in the most tender and subtly sweet cake that is perfect to make for the holiday season.
I really hate to use the word ‘moist’ to describe anything but what other adjective can I use for an eggnog tres leches cake? It’s not juicy because that’d be disgusting. Or soggy because that just ruins it. It’s certainly light and airy and full of flavor and it has the most incredible texture and honestly? It really is moist because of all the eggnog and milky goodness that just seeps throughout the air bubbles of this spongey cake. You would think it’s a dense cake but oh my gosh, it’s the exact opposite.
I love that the air bubbles in the cake basically trap the eggnog and the milk and then when you cut into it, a little bit of it seeps out but not like completely. It’s not a runny cake. The cake completely soaks up most of the liquid and you’re left with the most incredible cake that is perfect for the holidays.
As it goes, I know there are eggnog haters out there (me) BUT when it’s paired in a baked good or breakfast item or even a latte, I’m ALL about it. I’ve had homemade eggnog before and I just can’t get behind basically drinking eggs. I know some people love it and it’s a family tradition but it’s just not something I can love. Just bake me something with eggnog and that’s pretty much the only way I’ll have it, haha
Why You’ll Love This Easy Cake Recipe
It’s so easy! All you have to do is make the cake, poke some holes in it, douse the cake in the milk mixture, spread a whipped topping on top and call it a day!
Versatile. This recipe can easily be made with a quick swap of ingredients. If you aren’t feeling like making a cake recipe from scratch, you can easily buy a yellow cake box mix from the store and go from there! You can also buy whipped topping from the store if you don’t want to make it from scratch.
A classic. If you’ve ever had the classic tres leches version, you’ll know it’s a classic for a reason. This eggnog tres leches just takes it up a notch for the holidays.
What is Tres Leches Cake?
Tres leches cake is a Latin American classic. This subtly sweet, almost soupy dessert is comprised of spongey cake doused in a mixture of 3 different kinds of milk (sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk) and topped with a fluffy whipped topping and a dusting of cinnamon.
What is eggnog?
Eggnog is historically known as a milk punch when alcoholic beverages are added to it. Eggnog in general is a rich, chilled, sweetened beverage that is typically made with milk, cream, sugar, pasteurized egg yolks, and whipped egg whites. You can buy them pre-made already at the store in a carton or you can make it yourself at home. It is most often had during the holiday season.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is an overview of what you will need to make eggnog tres leches cake. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for more details.
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Evaporated milk
- Condensed milk
- Heavy cream
How to Make Eggnog Tres Leches Cake
As you’ll see, this cake is so easy to make. Here is a general overview of the steps. You will find the full recipe at the bottom of this page.
Make the cake. Combine all the ingredients and follow the directions below to make the cake. Allow the cake the cool completely before continuing.
Poke the holes. Poke holes in the cake with your fork. Be generous with the holes because this is what allows the milk mixture to seep throughout.
Pour the milk mixture. Combine the eggnog, evaporated milk, and condensed milk in a measuring cup and pour all over the surface of the cake.
3 hour soak. Allow the cake to absorb the mixture for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Make the topping. If you’re making the whipped topping from scratch, combine the heavy cream and eggnog and mix with a hand mixer until a light fluffy topping is formed. Spread generously on top of the chilled cake and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.
Tips for Success
As with any recipe, there are some little tips and tricks that, if followed, will take your eggnog tres leches cake from good to fantastic.
- Pour milk slowly. The milk mixture needs time to soak into the cake. Pour it slowly so as not to flood the cake all at once.
- Poke enough holes…but not too deep. The holes you poke are what allow the milk mixture to absorb into the cake. So don’t be shy with that fork! When it comes to depth, don’t poke all the way to the bottom. Just go about halfway and let the tines of the fork be your guide. If you poke all the way through, the milk mixture will drain straight to the bottom as opposed to absorbing more evenly throughout the cake.
- Don’t skip the chill. It might be tempting to dig right into this delicious dessert. Try to be patient. Time in the refrigerator allows the milk mixture to fully absorb into the cake, imparting the flavor and moisture that this dessert is known for.
- Thaw the whipped topping. The Cool Whip will not spread properly unless it has been thawed in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours first. So think ahead.
Wrap the baking pan in saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator. The cake will remain edible for up to 3 days.
To freeze, wrap the cake pan in saran wrap and place it in the freezer. It will be fine for up to 3 months. When you are ready to enjoy, transfer the pan (or just the portion/s you need at the time) to the refrigerator and allow the cake to thaw for several hours.
More easy cake recipes to enjoy
- Better Than Sex Chocolate Cake
- Caramel Apple Dump Cake
- Lemon Sheet Cake
- Freaking Easy Chocolate Cake
Eggnog Tres Leches Cake
For the cake
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 whole eggs, separated
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (177 ml) eggnog
- 5 ounces (142 ml) evaporated milk
- 14 ounces (397 ml) sweetened, condensed milk
For the topping
- 1 cup (237 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup (118 ml) eggnog
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and liberally spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar on high speed with a hand mixer until they're pale yellow. Then mix in the milk and vanilla.
- Gently pour the yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir gently until all are combined.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Turn the speed down a little to add in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar then turn it back up to high to beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
- Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined.
- Pour into prepared baking pan and spread to even out the surface.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan.
- In the meantime, combine eggnog, evaporated milk, and condensed milk in a measuring cup and mix together.
- When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times (like I pierced it at least over 50 times).
- Slowly drizzle milk mixture all over the cake.
- Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients for the topping until whipped cream-like texture, about 5 minutes. Spread over the surface of the cake and sprinkle nutmeg on top.
- Cut into squares and serve!
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