Coconut Tres Leches Skillet Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Skillet Cake with Whipped Icing

Coconut Tres Leches Skillet Cake

5 from 1 reviews
Coconut Tres Leches Skillet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
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This is a coconut lover's dream recipe! This coconut cake is drowned in a tres leches mixture before being topped with clouds of my favorite fluffy whipped icing. The recipe below makes a lot of frosting because it's one of my favorite parts, but if you're not big on frosting, feel free to half it.
Serves: 6-8
Cake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/8 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tres Leches Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
Whipped Icing Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • about 1 cup shredded coconut (for topping)
  1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a 10-inch oven-safe skillet sprayed with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter and water to a boil. In the meantime, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt before whisking in the egg, sour cream, coconut extract, vanilla extract. Mix to combine. While mixing, slowly pour in the boiling butter and water mixture. Mix to combine completely. Your batter will be very runny. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out with a few moist crumbs. When the cake is still hot, poke it all over with a fork to create a porous surface.
  2. To make the tres leches: Mix the three milks together well and pour evenly over the surface of the cake while it's still hot. Place the cake in the fridge to cool completely and soak up all the milk mixture (I waited about 2 hours).
  3. To make the frosting: Heat the milk, flour, and granulated sugar together over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once it starts to boil, continue whisking and heating it for around 7 minutes or until it’s very thick, like cake batter consistency. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the coconut and vanilla extract. Remove the mixture to a shallow pan and let the mixture cool completely (after a bit, I stuck mine in the fridge to hurry it along). Once the mixture is completely cool, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until soft and fluffy. Add the completely cooled mixture and beat on high until you have fluffy frosting the consistency of stiff whipped cream (this takes 2-4 minutes, so be patient). Dollop most of the frosting out onto your cake and spread it out evenly. Top with coconut and serve!


19 Comments on Coconut Tres Leches Skillet Cake

  1. heidi
    February 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm (8 years ago)

    i SO enjoy reading your have an amazing awareness. faith is a lifelong process, constantly changing and adapting to what’s currently in your have been given a gift to teach,in many ways, some more obvious than others.a wise person once told me that we teach in different ways, sometimes by example.i am very happy to begin to “know” you.

  2. Melanie
    February 8, 2016 at 6:35 am (8 years ago)

    What an insightful post. Continue with growing in understanding and listening for those “God” moments. We just moved from 4 miles due west of Sapelo Island to South Carolina’s Upstate, and, oh how I miss those salt marshes. And, for next time, Spanish moss only has red bugs (chiggers) in it after it falls to the ground.

  3. erin
    February 8, 2016 at 6:40 am (8 years ago)

    I loved this post Julie. It brought tears to my eyes but I couldn’t even say why. With quick brushstrokes, you painted such a vivid picture of that church, those dear old people. You didn’t even specifically say what the meal was, but in my mind’s eye I can picture it, taste it. And moreover, I can feel the love of God in all of it. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post and for reminding me that there is a plan. And that we’ll come to understand it all in the by and by.

  4. erin
    February 8, 2016 at 6:40 am (8 years ago)

    And the cake looks great!! I love a good Tres Leches!!

  5. Amber Harding
    February 8, 2016 at 6:51 am (8 years ago)

    Such a lovely story! The cake is amazing!

  6. Stephanie
    February 8, 2016 at 9:54 am (8 years ago)

    Sounds like you have an amazing story of faith to tell, thank you for sharing a piece of that with us. Also, I wish you could share a piece of this cake with me! Looks so yummy!

  7. Rosemaryandthegoat
    February 8, 2016 at 11:36 am (8 years ago)

    I love reading your stories, especially this one. Back in the 50’s my mother made this whipped cream frosting but not with the coconut extract. I will have to try your version. One thing I do remember that was important that the first beating of the butter and sugar took 8 minutes, any less and the texture might be gritty and then after adding the paste mixture beat another 4 minutes. I love coconut so may try to make this for my craft circle soon.

  8. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life
    February 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm (8 years ago)

    What an incredible faith story! God is good all the time. It is always so neat to look back and see the steps that He ordered to get us where we are today! Thank you for sharing! And coconut cake…heck yeah! This looks amazing!

  9. Judith
    February 10, 2016 at 6:33 pm (8 years ago)

    This recipe sounds Devine…Will make very soon…But I can tell by looking at the recipe it’s good????. My husband is retired now but he is/was a Marine Biologist and his field was invertebrates..much appreciate this recipe. Is there a southern girl who doesn’t love coconut anything….I think it’s in our DNA..

  10. The-FoodTrotter
    February 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm (8 years ago)

    I love tres leches cake, so with coconut I can say it’s probably simply insane 🙂

  11. Joanna
    February 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm (8 years ago)

    Because we have no coconut extract here, but we do have fresh coconuts, my sixteen-year-old daughter tweaked your delicious cake and just won a baking contest. Thanks, Julie!

  12. Rosemaryandthegoat
    February 25, 2016 at 9:56 am (8 years ago)

    Did you use sweetened coconut or the unsweeten type that is large flakes/or small shredded.

    • Julie Ruble
      February 25, 2016 at 12:14 pm (8 years ago)

      I am using the small shredded coconut that comes sweet.

      • Rosemaryandthegoat
        February 26, 2016 at 9:42 am (8 years ago)

        I will give that a try. Also, I just noticed that you cook the sugar. I am anxious to try that because for 46 years I have done it the way my mother did and she beat the sugar 8 minutes with the flour mixture after that had cooled. If it wasn’t beaten 8 minutes then it would have a sugary taste, and your way that would not happen. Hope everyone enjoys it this weekend.

  13. Rosemaryandthegoat
    February 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm (8 years ago)

    Forgot to ask you if you refrigerate your cake since the frosting has butter in it.

    • Julie Ruble
      February 26, 2016 at 5:34 pm (8 years ago)

      Yes, I do. But then I let a piece sit out at room temp for 30-45 minutes or so before eating so the frosting will be soft.

    • Rosemaryandthegoat
      February 26, 2016 at 9:05 pm (8 years ago)

      Also, have you tried using Coco Lopez instead of coconut milk?

    July 3, 2022 at 6:05 pm (2 years ago)

    It is a nice recipe. Thx


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