Coconut Tres Leches Cake / by Amy Cantu

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I have a long affair going with coconut, and I doubt it will ever end. I love the sweet, earthy, tropical flavor, and I especially love it in the form of cake. This Coconut Tres Leches Cake is not fussy - it's homey and comforting, swathed in whipped cream and swimming in a pool of sweetened milk. The addition of coconut milk as one of the "tres leches" (three milks) and toasted coconut adorning the top make me swoon. My confession is this: I love this cake straight out of the fridge the next morning for breakfast. Preferably still in my PJs and in bed. The cake stays moist from all the milk, but the chilled cake is a little more dense. It's magical. 

Notes: This is a wet, dense cake. Do not be frightened when you pour the milks over the cake, and the cake looks like it's drowning. As the cake sits, it will absorb most of the milk. There will be a small amount of milk left that has not soaked into the cake, and that is exactly what you want. As I've mentioned, I love this cake cold, but it is also delicious (and proper) to eat it at room temperature. I made zero changes to the original recipe, because in my mind, it's perfect. The bit of lime zest brightens the cake up a bit, and really, it's just the perfect Coconut Tres Leches Cake.

Recipe from Food52.

Time: 1 hour, plus time for cake to cool
Yield: 1 9-inch by 13-inch cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
1 tablespoon honey
5 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Zest from 1 lime, finely grated
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Melt the butter and honey together and set aside.

Whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a larger bowl until everything lightens in color and is nice and smooth. Now on lower speed or with a gentler arm, beat in the flour in 2 additions until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the butter and mix until it is just fully incorporated. 

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating cake once halfway through, until it is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. This is going to look like a sort of shallow cake. Don't worry.

While the cake bakes, mix the three milks (tres leches) together and also spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. When the cake comes out, pop the coconut into the oven to toast. Check and stir every 3-4 minutes. It should only take 8-9 minutes to get golden brown.
Use a toothpick to poke little holes all over the warm cake. Now pour the milk over it -- slowly. It is going to look like a LOT of milk and you are going to want to panic. Don't. My cake actually floated up like a raft briefly! But pour it all on and wait -- 95% of that milk is going to adsorb into the cake and the rest is that lake you are looking for. Allow the cake to cool completely, and the toasted coconut as well.

Now whip the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lime zest together until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake, then sprinkle the coconut over top. You can dig in right now, our keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I doubt it'll last that long.