Bourbon Tres Leches Cake

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo!   Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby!

As a lover of random holidays — let’s face it, Cinco de Mayo is not much of a holiday for most Americans — and sports, this is very exciting for me.  I mean, how often do two fun days like this fall on the same day?!

I spent the better part of an afternoon trying to think of a semi-normal recipe that would celebrate both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby in one… guacamole topped pecan pie?  Bourbon enchiladas?  See, it’s not as easy as you’d think…

And then it hit me like a bag of bricks — bourbon tres leches cake!

Tres leches cake is a popular dessert in Latin America, which means it’ll fit right in on a Cinco de Mayo table spread.  And we all know Kentucky is known for it’s bourbon.  Put ’em together and you’ve got a cake that is so very appropriate for May 5, 2012. 🙂

I’m not going to lie, I felt way out of place standing in front of ten or so brands of bourbon at the liquor store.  Dark liquors are foreign to me.  How do I choose?  I was just about to pick the one that had the best name, but then I noticed one bottle said “black cherry” and thought, bourbon needs all the sweet help it a can get.  Red Stag Black Cherry it was. 😉

If you’re looking for a fun recipe to celebrate the collision of two fun days tomorrow, make this cake!

[print_this]Bourbon Tres Leches Cake

It’s not every year the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo fall on the same day!  Kentucky bourbon is baked right into the cake, which is topped with three milks (tres leches) for a unique, indulgent dessert.  If you’re looking for a cake with a little extra kick, add an ounce or two of bourbon to the milk mixture.

Makes 1 13×9 cake (about 15 servings)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 boxed white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large eggs

Milk glaze:

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup milk (or half-and-half)
  • Cool Whip (or whipped cream)
  • Pecans (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place all of the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until the batter is smooth.  Spread the cake into the prepared pan.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool about 30 minutes.  Poke the entire top of the cake with holes (I use a fork).

In a small mixing bowl, combine the three milks (and optional bourbon) for the glaze, mixing until blended.  Pour the glaze over the cooled cake (you can do this in batches and allow the cake to absorb some of the glaze as you go).  Cover and refrigerate the cake at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Spread the cake with the whipped topping.  Refrigerate until serving.  If desired, top with pecans.[/print_this]


9 thoughts on “Bourbon Tres Leches Cake”

    1. Mmm, yep – a whole bunch of delicious ingredients, and super simple! Definitely seems like one you’d enjoy!

    1. I actually really like the bourbon flavor in it, which surprised me! Still don’t think I’ll be drinking it anytime soon though 🙂

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