Toasted Coconut Tres Leches Pound Cake

Rich and sweet, this potluck-perfect cake is great served right from the pan.

4.3 from 16 reviews
Toasted Coconut Tres Leches Pound Cake
Yields: 16 servings
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 8 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (6-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a 15-cup Bundt pan with baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and cornstarch with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1½ cups flour and 4 eggs, beating until combined. Add remaining 1½ cups flour and remaining 4 eggs, beating until combined. Beat in toasted coconut and coconut extract. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour. Increase oven temperature to 350°, and bake for 15 minutes more.
  4. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and coconut milk. Using a long wooden skewer, poke holes in warm cake. Slowly pour milk mixture over cake. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled before serving. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.



      • Hi Janie! Keeping the cake in the pan helps it absorb the milk mixture and hold its shape. One of our favorite parts of this cake is how moist it is, and it retains the moisture best if left in the cake pan.

      • If you take the cake out and pour the milk mixture over it, it will not soak in as well. It is important for the cake to sit in the pan so it can soak up all the milks. Tres Leches means three milks.

  1. Does it turn out onto a plate well? Mine is cooling now. Wanted to put it on a plate but is it gonna flop? Can’t wait to try it. It baked beautifully.

    • Hi Karen, You could substitute coconut cream for the coconut milk, but not the other milk products. The consistency is too different.

  2. I think you need to be honest here; the tres leches cake is very wet – if you take it out of the pan, it will fall apart, that’s why it is typically made in a sheet pan. No one would serve a cake out of a bundt pan because you would scratch the sides.

    • Hi Laura, you are correct that this cake is very moist, but we do serve from the Bundt pan when we make it. If you are concerned about scratching, you can simply use a plastic cake knife and server or spoon to cut and serve this cake.

      • You can plate the cake and cover it with the wet ingredients once a slice is cut as a type of garnish or finish.

    • That’s true. I would not serve my cake in the bundt pan it was baked in. Doesn’t make sense and it would scratch the pan.

  3. Hello,
    I love a soupy pudding like Tres Leches! I’m super excited to try this cake this weekend. Are you suggesting the Coconut milk from the Dairy section, or the coconut milk you can get in the Hispanic section of the grocery in a can?

  4. Right – but the cake is too wet to take out of the pan – try it and see – again, I think you need to be honest, or you will have some disappointed followers.

    • Have you ever had authentic tres leches anything, or did you see the recipe and mentally “imagine” what it should be like? I grew up eating it from a bundt and its supposed to be cut from the pan, just as you’re being directed to do. You’re coming off as standoffish and pretentious because it didn’t live up to what you imagined it should. Tres Leches is very moist, or as you put it “wet”, as that the consistency unless you did something wrong. I have no made this particular recipe, but I do have 30 years experience eating Tres Leche bundt cake since the age of 4, and that is exactly the consistency that it is supposed to be. That is akin to being upset because bread pudding is “wet”. No need for the hostility or telling someone that obviously has successfully made, and shared a recipe “you’re doing it wrong” 🙂

    • @ Laura Costello This delicious recipe works perfectly as written. Do whatever YOU wish and just move along…..!

    • Tres Leche (3 milks) is the magical & sweet wetness to the pound cake!! Supposed to be that way….it won’t “set up” like other poke cakes made with jello or pudding. Instead makes a sauce that the cake soaks up like a sponge :)))))

    • Laura Costello : I was a teacher in a school with mostly Latino students…parents brought tres leches cakes in all the time. The cake is WET… accusation of dishonest in the recipe is pretty low.

  5. Excellent cake. So delicious. My sister made this and served it from the pan. This is a wonderful recipe. So moist!

  6. Can a variations of this cake be made without the coconut? Not a fan of coconut but love the sweetness of Tres Letches. What can be used in place of the coconut, coconut flavor and coconut milk?

    • Yes, if you Google tres leches you will see many recipes that don’t include coconut. I would try one with vanilla and whipped cream on top 🙂 they are especially good with fresh fruit 🙂

    • In that case, just search a regular tres leches cake recipe. The usual recipe doesn’t include any coconut products, but rather condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Half & Half or heavy whipping cream.

    • Hi, we recommend adding an ounce of rum to the milk mixture that is poured over the cake at the end. Let us know how it goes!

  7. HAS ANYONE MADE IT IN A 9×13 pottery dish? I would like to make it in this pan since you are leaving it in pan for sauce to saturate it for moistness. Please let me know want to make for Easter in April. Thanks or replies

  8. I have not had this but the whole reason of cooking a cake in a Bundt pan is to have a pretty cake on a plate. A sheet cake would serve the purpose better!

    • Hi Amy, If you want to try in muffin tins, put 1/2 a cup of batter in a standard 12-cup muffin pan. We’re uncertain on yield and bake time, so just be sure to keep an eye on them while they bake.

  9. Nancy, you could go for almond… try almond extract and slivered toasted almonds in place of the coconut extract and coconut flakes. And that leads to my question. Can you use almond flour instead of wheat flour. Some of us don’t do wheat. As for the sugar, it could be replaced with erythritol for those worried about the sugar and glycemic load. I find that a 1:1 replacement is actually sweeter than I imagined it should be.

  10. Have made this cake many times. We also called it milk cake. Always served from pan. Some people just want to argue. It is also a very good cake.

  11. Can I substitute half of the flour for almond flour? I recently made a pound cake using 50% all purpose flour and 50% almond flour. The cake turned out really good. Just curious if the cake texture will change a great deal since this recipe calls for the 3 milks.

    • Hi Ina, we haven’t tried that change with this recipe. Sounds interesting! If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

  12. I’ve made tres leches cake and I love love love it. I can’t WAIT to make this one. Yay. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Interesting recipe ❤️ will definitely try!
    I would like to add that the same bowl should not be used for mixing of the three milks. Since it had raw egg in it. Regards ✌️

  14. I made 6 small bundts with this. Cut the “tops” off because they rose like muffins. Added Malibu rum to evaporated milk and poured over each one until no more would soak in. Flipped. Made an icing drizzle from the coconut milk and condensed milk. Drizzle over the cakes and topped with toasted coconut. I wish I could add a pic because they look beautiful!

  15. Wondering about substituting cream of coconut for the sweetened condensed milk. That would amp up the coconut factor even more.

    • Hi Jackie, if you’re using a product like Coco Lopez that’s already sweet, that substitution should work fine.

  16. Oh my this looks delicious! I’m going to try it for sure. Thank you for posting…and being so gracious about the negative feedback.
    Looking forward to this, regards an undisappointed follower!

  17. Sounds DEVINE! I would also like to know if it would work in a 9 x 13 baking dish since it must be served from the pan it’s baked in 🙂

    • Hi Carol, this recipe will work in a 13 x 9 dish. First check the bake after 40 minutes and then reduce temp and back until wooden pick comes out with a few moist crumbs. This hasn’t been tested by our test kitchen but let us know if you have any more questions.

      • 9×13 is Not 15 cups as prescribed (15 cup bundt pan). I have never had larger bundt than 12 cup . The 10 x 15 baking dish will hold 15 cups with barely a little room to spare. So I plan to do this today 🙂

        • 3/16/20 – OK, the cake turned out beautifully in the 10 x 15 baking dish. It is Not as soupy as I expected. Pineapple seemed like a natural addition to this recipe – so I drained & dried 4 canned pineapple slices, the cut them up very small & added to the batter. VERY GOOD cake! I think next time, I may ad another cup of coconut milk. 🙂

  18. I just made this in a 9×13 glass baking dish because I didn’t have a large enough bundt pan. I baked at 325 for 40 minutes and it was perfect.

  19. We made this today for Easter dessert, using a pampered chef stoneware bundt pan, and it turned out just beautiful on to my cake plate. It is most and delicious AND holds it shape well.

    • Hi Rhonda,

      Creme of coconut is much sweeter and stronger in flavor. It should work but you should probably leave out the coconut extract unless you’d like a very strong coconut flavor.

  20. I just made this cake. The flavor was great, but it wasn’t as wet as I hoped it would be. It there anything I can do after the fact to make it wetter? Is it as simple as just adding more of the tees leches?

    • Hi Michael,

      If you’d like to make this cake even more delicious, you can definitely make more of the soaking liquid in the last step to give you the result you’re looking for.

  21. The cake was dry, not moist as a traditional tres leches. This was a disappointment and a waste with all of the ingredients needed to make this cake.


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