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King Cake Tres Leches

King Cake Tres Leches

Mardi Gras is in full swing, folks! This "king cake take" on the beloved tres leches dessert is a favorite at my restaurant, Meril.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour plus time to chill
  • Yield: 12 to 16 servings


  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 ounces sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
  • Purple, gold, and green sugar, for serving
  • King cake babies, for decorating, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

    Whip the egg whites to medium peaks. Set aside.

    Using the paddle attachment in a standing mixer, combine the sugar and dark brown sugar and mix to blend. Add the oil and egg yolks and mix to combine.


  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the batter and mix to blend. Add the milk, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon and mix until well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

    Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, then transfer the batter to the greased baking dish.

    Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Set the cake aside on a cooling rack until cool.

  • While the cake is cooling, whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.

    When the cake is cool, poke holes all over the cake using a skewer or a toothpick. Slowly pour 3 cups of the condensed milk mixture evenly over the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled and the cake has absorbed the milk mixture, 3 to 4 hours. (Refrigerate the remaining milk mixture until you are ready to serve the cake.)

    The cake may be made up to this point up to several days in advance and kept refrigerated.

  • When ready to serve, top the cake with sweetened whipped cream, and sprinkle with the purple, gold and green sugars. Cut into square portions and serve the cake with a bit of the remaining milk mixture spooned around it in a shallow bowl. Garnish with a king cake baby if desired.

Recipe Details