Strawberry-Rhubarb Tres Leches Cake

March 19, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Makes one 9x13 inch cake
Author Notes

After successfully infusing a tres leches cake with fruit juice (see Passionfruit Tres Leches), I decided to make my own puree to add a springy take (and a slight pinkish hue) to my favorite tres leches cake. The result is a fruity, slightly tangy cake that’s a serious crowd pleaser. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

For more on how to make, and vary, tres leches cake, see the full article. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Cake:
  • 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 g) granulated sugar
  • 7 large (397 g) eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (271 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
  • Soaking:
  • 2 cups (340 g) sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups (340 g) sliced rhubarb
  • 1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) whole milk
  • one (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • one (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • lightly sweetened whipped cream, as needed for finishing
  • strawberries, as needed for finishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well to combine. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add the mixture to the mixer and mix just until incorporated. Scrape well to ensure the batter is evenly combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 38-40 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Poke the cake all over with a wooden skewer. In a medium pot, mix the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and vanilla bean scrapings to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the fruit is very soft but not fully broken down, 12-15 minutes.
  7. Strain the mixture – press lightly on the fruit solids to release the juices, but not so much that the solids are pushed through the sieve. Measure the liquid after straining – you should have about ¾ cup. If you have more, return it to the stove and reduce it slightly by simmering over medium heat. If you have less, add water to make up the difference and stir to combine.
  8. In a large container, preferably one with a pour spout, whisk the strawberry-rhubarb syrup, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk to combine.
  9. Gently pour the mixture all over the cake, letting it soak in through the holes. Most of this will happen quickly, but if some liquid pools up anywhere on the surface of the cake, just spoon it back over the cake until the mixture is absorbed (let it sit for about 30 minutes).
  10. Finish the cake with the whipped cream and strawberries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 hours before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Adrienne Lopata
    Adrienne Lopata
  • Wendy Woegerer
    Wendy Woegerer
  • Cameron
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

3 Reviews

Adrienne L. June 25, 2019
My cake did not absorb the liquid, either. I had about half of the mixture leftover. I stabbed SO many holes into the cake, too. What could I have done wrong?
Wendy W. June 5, 2018
I would like to make this again with a lot less sugar in the milk syrup. Mine turned out way too sweet.
Cameron May 28, 2018
My cake did not absorb the soaking liquid