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rum chata tres leches cake

rum chata tres leches cake This weekend I invited Marc’s brother, sister-in-law, sister, and her boyfriend over for dinner, drinks, and games.  While we try to get together as a group every couple of months, it can be difficult being that Marc and his brother are in residency, his sister is in medical school, and we all have pretty hectic lives.  There was a sense of urgency this time, however, because in a few short weeks a third of the Ellingson kid-clan is moving to Seattle.  Marc’s sister, Sonja, matched at the University of Washington in Seattle, and while we are all so very happy for her and the adventure she’s about to embark on, we are going to miss her more.  Oh and I have serious city-envy.  Seattle is the coolest.

For the main course  of dinner I made Smitten Kitchen’s Heart Stuffed Shells in Lemon Ricotta Sauce which was delicious.  And side note: if you don’t already have her cookbook, you need to buy it.  Like, yesterday.  Alongside the pasta we had a tasty salad that Sonja brought and I made Joy the Baker’s Parker House Rolls, which turned out surprisingly well considering I accidentally used cake flour instead of bread flour.  See, even bloggers do stupid things.  Some (um, me) more than others.

Of course I couldn’t host a dinner without making dessert.  I had a craving for Tres Leches Cake, but wanted to spice it up a little bit.  At first I considered doing a chocolate version, but somehow the idea struck me to add Rum Chata to the milk mixture the cake gets soaked in.  Have you had the deliciousness that is Rum Chata?   It’s a creamy liqueur made of vanilla, cinnamon, and rum, apparently the flavors of traditional Mexican Horchata.  It was also the perfect match for this Latin-inspired milk-soaked sponge cake.  I swapped some of the milk in the original recipe from The Pioneer Woman, with some Rum Chata, and also added a good amount to the whipped cream.  The end result was a subtle taste of Rum Chata and all of its cinnamon goodness, and definitely added something special to the dessert.

This would be the perfect dessert for a Mexican-themed dinner party, although it went well with our pasta dinner too.  I mean, cake soaked in milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Rum Chata?  Really, there is no wrong time to eat this cake.

rum chata tres leches cake

Print Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 1 9x13" pan


for the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 whole eggs divided use of yolks and whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Rum Chata
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

for the whipped cream frosting:

  • 1 pint 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Rum Chata


for the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow.
  • Stir in milk and vanilla.
  • Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold together until thoroughly combined.
  • Clean out the bowl and the whisk, or use separate clean bowl.
  • Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk at high speed until soft peaks begin to form. With the mixer still running, pour in the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, combine cream (1/2 cup), Rum Chata, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk and whisk to combine.
  • Using a fork, pierce the surface of the cake all over.
  • Slowly pour milk/Rum Chata mixture over cake. Some recipes recommend pouring all but 1 cup over the cake, but I used it all. Pour slowly and to your liking.
  • Let the cake absorb for 30 minutes, then make the frosting.

to make the whipped cream frosting:

  • Whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and Rum Chata on high with whisk attachment of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread evenly over cake.
  • Slice and enjoy!


I found this cake best chilled overnight, letting the flavors develop, but at the very least, try to chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @greensnchocolate to let me know!
Need more ideas?Find all of my recipe pins @greenschocolate

Rum Chata Tres Leches Cake

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    1. Katie he’s doing Emergency Medicine residency at Regions Hospital. His uncle is actually a nephrologist in Mankato…wonder if you know him 🙂

  1. I was lucky enough to taste the leftover cake. Totally fantastic!!! If the entire cake had been in front of me, I might have eaten the whole thing! It’s a scary thought…..but true. (: (The photos are beautiful too! Nice job! You are so talented!)

  2. This cake may develop flavors more by chilling overnight…We’ve never been able to keep it around that long. To. Die. For.

  3. I love Tres Leches Cake and your recipe is very much like mine. I actually use Cafe Patron instead of Rum Chata with the milks. Then the frosting I use vanilla and cinnamon and sprinkle espresso or cappacino powder over the frosting. It is like a Tres Leches Tiramasu cake, yum yum yummy!!!

    1. Hi Laurel,
      I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking it would work. I think it would equal into two 8″ round cakes…the one thing I would caution is that it is a very moist cake after the Rum Chata and milk mixture is poured over the cake so I would do that step very carefully. Good luck!

    2. I probably would not try to make this a stacked cake. You must remove the cake from the pan to do the pour over of milks and it is VERY moist, so any center filling may not let the cake sit stable. If you do attempt it, I would suggest first reducing the pour over liquid by almost half and letting the rounds sit separately in the fridge over night so they get firm and sticky. Then you could try the filling and stacking. Be warned, tres leches cake is VERY rich, so dont make your frosting very sweet! Also, the biggest key to making a great tres leches is whipping your eggs properly. Whip them super fluffy like you are making a meringue. Gotta have all that air so the cake isnt too dense! Happy cooking!

    1. It shouldn’t affect it too much since there is only 1/2 cup in it. If anything it might not be quite as moist but with all of the other milks and the Rum Chata in there, it won’t be a huge difference. Hope you love it 🙂

  4. This looks delicious! I am trying to choose a recipe for my cooking club next week, and this one is winning so far! I had never heard of Rum Chata, but LOVE horchata, so I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

    1. Nicole, I would say the cake could be frozen before the milks are added. So after you thaw the cake, you could add the milk mixture, top with the whipped cream topping, and serve. I hope this helps!

  5. 5 stars
    Everyone seems to love it. I get alot of requests for it. I have baked this several times over the past few years. I have yet to try it myself. I might have to try it tomorrow as I’m baking one as I type. I make it exactly how the recipe lists. No complaints.