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Pineapple Coconut Tres Leches Cake on a plate from themerchantbaker.com

Pineapple Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Pineapple Coconut Tres Leches Cake. A twist on the classic made with coconut milk, a layer of crushed pineapple and topped with toasted coconut!


For the cake:

  • 6 3/4 ounces cake flour (about 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, room temperature
  • 8 ounces sugar 1 cup
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light coconut milk

For the topping:

  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained thoroughly
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toasted coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 13x9" metal pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, (using paddle attachment) beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Decrease speed to low and very gradually add sugar (this should take a good minute) scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture in thirds and mix just until combined after each addition. Scrape bowl as necessary and don't overbeat.
  7. Transfer the batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. This will be thin layer of batter.
  8. Bake for 18-25 minutes until lightly golden. If you have a thermometer, the cake will be done when it's internal temperature registers 200 degrees. Mine took just over 18 minutes.
  9. Place cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then, poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or a fork. I used a skewer this time, but found that the fork was much more effective. Be thorough with poking the cake. Any areas without enough holes will not absorb the glaze as well as the areas that have alot.
  10. Allow cake to cool completely.
  11. Make the glaze by combining the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk in a liquid measuring cup. Whisk to thoroughly combine, then slowly pour the mixture over the entire cake.
  12. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  13. The next day, most, if not all of the liquid should have been absorbed by the cake.
  14. Spread drained crushed pineapple evenly over cake.
  15. Place the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl and using whisk attachment, beat to stiff peaks. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with toasted coconut flakes, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*Store cake covered in refrigerator. Once the cake is thoroughly chilled, you should be able to cut pretty clean squares. Mine only chilled for about an hour, so my whipped cream was still a bit soft.

*The original recipe is all in weight measurements which is great if you have a scale because you won't need measuring cups. I've provided the traditional measurements that are as close as possible to the weight measurements.

*I actually thought the cake was best on day two, after the pineapple had time to soak up some of the moisture from the cake and topping. I had drained the pineapple very well and pressed it against the side of the strainer. I wanted to err on the side of drier so that there wouldn't be alot of added liquid on top of the cake. But it needed the moisture of the cake to rehydrate a bit.

*I just lightly sweetened my whipped cream because the dessert is already sweet. If you like a sweeter whipped cream, you can double the powdered sugar or add even more to taste.

*Make sure you thoroughly poke the cake. I like to use a fork and poke every half inch or so until the top of the cake is covered in tiny holes.

*For a more traditional tres leches, use half and half instead of coconut milk for the glaze, omit pineapple and toasted coconut.

*If you decide to add rum to the milk mixture and you use more than a tablespoon, just remove the same amount of milk mixture so that you end up with the same amount of total liquid.

*For the coconut, I bought the large, unsweetened flakes in the bulk aisle. I spread them on a foil lined baking sheet and toasted them in my toaster oven. They can burn quickly, so stay near the oven to watch them!

Recipe adapted from Food Network

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