Tres Leches Cake Ice Cream


This past week I was invited to Kyna and Lucas’s place for giant tacos. What are giant tacos? They’re sort of like an overstuffed quesadilla. Lucas heats the tortilla up in a frying pan and gets the cheese all melty. Then he opens the quesadilla back up and lets you stuff it with whatever taco ingredient you want. I told him (after he showed me how he makes giant tacos) that I suspected that we were actually having quesadillas instead of giant tacos and he acquiesced and said that giant tacos are kinda a merger between the two.

This whole giant taco night came about after Kyna, Jen and I made dinner one night the week before. We made salmon, salad and potatoes. Lucas naturally gets almost anything that’s leftover when we’re done. When Kyna arrived with the leftovers, he asked if I had made him any ice cream. She thought it was so cute that she suggested I would make him ice cream if he would make me giant tacos.

Sticking with the Mexican theme of giant tacos, I decided to make a tres leches cake ice cream recipe for Lucas. I found many recipes for tres leches ice cream. But what I wanted was tres leches ice cream that included bits of tres leches cake. So I modified a vanilla ice cream recipe I’ve used in the past and decided to make a tres leches cake to add into it. Was that ever an ordeal!

I get grandiose ideas that are not well thought out when cooking. I decided I wanted tres leches flavored ice cream with bits of tres leches cake and a tres leches swirl. I know that doesn’t sound super over the top, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to make the swirl, other than to boil down the tres leches liquid to really thicken it up. Which I did while my cake was cooling. As it turns out, boiled down tres leches liquid does not actually soak into tres leches cake. At least it didn’t when I tried it. More about that later.

I have this thing when I’m baking cakes where I will take the cake out of the oven before a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I actually like little moist pieces of cake sticking onto my toothpick. It ensures your cake is moist. So I did the same thing when making the tres leches cake. About 15 minutes before it was scheduled to be done, I removed it from the oven because it was Le Food Snob done. When I pulled it out of the oven, the cake was the same height, length and width of the pan. Perfect!

Then it cooled. And shrunk. I’m estimating it shrunk to about one-third the size of what it looked like when I brought it out of the oven. It was visually a disappointment but I figured since I was just going to chuck it into my ice cream anyway that I would continue on. I poked holes in the cake with a skewer as you normally do with tres leches cake. Then I spread my really thick tres leches liquid (sauce) on top. And nothing happened. This is the part in the recipe where the liquid is supposed to soak into your cake.

If it soaked in, I couldn’t tell. I did wait awhile too. A number of minutes. Fifteen at least. So then I began adding heavy whipping cream to the sauce sitting on top of the cake to thin it out. I added a bunch and then mixed it around. It didn’t really work. It never soaked into the cake. Perhaps because my cake was too moist/not cooked long enough? So I cut that cake into squares and then pushed the squares around the pan into the sauce and eventually my cake squares were mostly liquid-soaked.


I couldn’t wait for Lucas and Kyna (and all their friends) to try the ice cream, but especially Lucas. Lucas grew up in Colombia but moved here as an adult. He went to college here in the Pacific Northwest. Lucas has a bit of an accent, so you know he’s not native speaking. But, to me, his English is impressive. For the most part he sounds like a native speaker with an accent. And then he’ll say something that is supposed to be common or cliche but what he ends up saying is so completely off-the-wall and just plain wrong that it makes everyone laugh. For example: Get to the bottom of the story = get to the point of the story (get to the bottom of it + get to the point of the story?).

So what did Lucas say when I unveiled my ice cream?

What are those croutons in there?

That’s what he said! In all fairness, the ice cream does sorta look like it has croutons in it. Despite the crouton look, this ice cream went over very well at the giant taco party. Let it sit out for at least 5 or 10 minutes before eating so that it gets kinda soft.


ice cream ingredients.

  • 2 c. half-and-half
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Tres Leches Cake pieces (see below)

ice cream directions.

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add the half-and-half; mix until blended.
  3. Return half-and-half mixture to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge and mixture is steamy and starts to thicken, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream, condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
  4. Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher and drive assembly as directed in attachment instructions. Remove the vanilla beans from the mixture. Turn to STIR (Speed 1). Using container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR (Speed 1) for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes or freeze in airtight container. I packed mine into cardboard ice cream pints layering the ice cream with bits of tres leches cake.


cake ingredients.

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 whole eggs, separated
  • 1 c. sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. whole milk
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk (use the full fat version)
  • 1 14.5-oz can sweetened, condensed milk (full fat version)
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream

cake directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.20140627-202737-73657271.jpg
  3. Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined. 20140627-202738-73658864.jpg
  4. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.20140627-202740-73660304.jpg 20140627-202754-73674908.jpg
  5. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool.20140627-202845-73725019.jpg
  6. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher or measuring cup (the liquid is more than two cups, FYI).20140627-202846-73726337.jpg
  7. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork or skewer several times. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the cake, getting as close to the edges as possible. Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture. Cut into small bite-size pieces to use while assembling your ice cream.





Recipe rating: 



















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