Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake #chocolateparty

Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Ever since my trip to Italy last year with my parents, I have fallen totally and completely in love with Italian coffee! Especially espresso, Caffè Latte’s and Caffè Macchiate. Pretty strong stuff to say the least!

This month’s theme for the Chocolate Party is COFFEE!

Oh how I love, love, love this combination of flavors. Since it’s still rather warm outside, I thought it would be a good idea to make a delicious cold cake that everyone treasures, but with a twist: Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake!

Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Many of you are familiar with the incredible tres leches cake from the Latin culture. It is just one of the best cakes, served cold, on the planet! So when I stumbled upon this recipe in which chocolate AND espresso coffee are added to the cake, I knew that I had to try it. It’s not a complete ‘no-bake’ dessert because you do have to use your oven to bake the foundation of the cake.

Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

I amped up the coffee flavor of this dessert by adding several teaspoons of Tia Maria, a Jamaican coffee liqueur.  There is a quaint story behind this liqueur that dates all the way back to the 1700′s:   A young Spanish girl was forced to flee Jamaica and the family plantation during a conflict. She was accompanied by a servant named “Maria” who carried a bit of jewelry and the recipe for the family liqueur. In honor of Maria’s help in saving her life, the girl named the liqueur “Tia Maria”.

espresso and chocolate tres leches cake

So you should now win the answer to that question if ever in a game of Trivia!

Tia Maria really takes the chocolate mousse topping from “tastes good”, to “wow, now that’s delicious!”  This is a WOWZA dessert . . . unbelievably chocolatey, and java-y, outstanding!

Don’t forget to sip a little of that coffee liqueur while you’re in the kitchen!

PS:  A BIG “THANK YOU” SHOUT OUT to my wonderful mother for sewing the gorgeous placemat that you see in the photos!  These placemats are reversible and turn over to display a cute coffee motif!  Love you Madre!  xoxo

Espresso and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

What You Need:

  • 1 (18.25 oz) milk chocolate cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cups chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs (I use jumbo)
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder or 2 tsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cups half and half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. Tia Maria Jamaican Coffee liqueur (or Kahlua)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
  • Prepare a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with butter and flour.
  • With a mixer on low speed, beat the cake mix, chocolate milk, canola oil, eggs, and espresso powder together in a large bowl.
  • Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour chocolate mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan until is is no longer hot to the touch, but is warm.
  • While the cake is warm, poke holes all over the cake with a fork.
  • Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, evaporated milk, and 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder together in a bowl until the cocoa is mostly incorporated into the liquid.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely.
  • Pour this milk mixture evenly over the cooled cake. (You may even want to make more to pour over the cake to make it extra moist -- totally up to you!)
  • Allow the liquid to soak into the cake.
  • Sift the powders sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
  • Beat the heavy whipping cream in a stand-up mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • While continuing to mix, add the sugar and cocoa powder mixture to the cream in 2 batches, allowing the first to incorporate before adding the second.
  • Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form and the cream is thickened and spreadable.
  • Add the coffee liqueur by gently folding it into the whipped cream mixture.
  • Spread chocolate whipped cream on the cake to serve.


I adapted this recipe by amping up the coffee flavor by adding the Tia Maria coffee liqueur, the original (without liqueur):

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  1. Oh my, this sounds like heaven on a plate!
    Mindy recently posted..The CatMy Profile

  2. This looks lush. I’m going to have to find a recipe to join this Chocolate parade.
    May recently posted..Win 2 tickets to Innocent Kitchen with Ollie DabbousMy Profile

  3. I can not begin to tell you how amazing that looks!!!
    pam (Sidewalk Shoes) recently posted..Roasted Halibut with Green Beans and Asian Cilantro SauceMy Profile

  4. This looks heavenly! Coffee and chocolate are the perfect combination. :)
    Betty recently posted..Jeweled Golden Rice with CherriesMy Profile

  5. Tres leches cake with coffee and chocolate? How utterly divine. I can’t wait to try this treat with two of my favorite flavors.
    Ciao Chow Linda recently posted..Finally – A Ricotta Pound Cake that works – with blueberries and a crumb topping too!My Profile

  6. Roz, I Love Love and LOVE this dessert! Especially, with my favorite two ingredients which are the ones chosen for Roxanna’s chocolate party. I have to make this for my family, they would love this one!
    2 Sisters Recipes recently posted..Baked Chicken Nuggets the Healthy Way!My Profile

    • Oh you two! Thanks for your kindness . . . it is a good flavor combination though, you’re right. Very rich. If you do make this cake, make sure it is completely cooled down before pouring on the milk mixture so it soaks in and gets all ooey gooey!

      Roz recently posted..Awesome Fresh Tomato RecipesMy Profile

  7. Wow….I love tres leches but never thought to play around with the flavors like this before! You’ve put a great spin on a great classic! : )
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart recently posted..Frozen Chocolate TiramisuMy Profile

    • I love tres leches too, and although this is very, very rich and delicious, I still prefer the classic version the best. I will certainly make this again, especially for a large group because it makes a very big cake!

      Roz recently posted..Awesome Fresh Tomato RecipesMy Profile

  8. What a delicious choice of flavours!
    Your dessert looking amazing, I know if I started eating I would never want to stop :)
    GourmetGetaways recently posted..Mocha & Macadamia Double Choc BrowniesMy Profile

    • It’s a good thing that I have a hungry husband who never stops eating and never gaines a pound while doing so . . . he easts just about everything that I make and I enjoy a few bites! Thanks for your visit GourmetGetaways!

      Roz recently posted..Awesome Fresh Tomato RecipesMy Profile

  9. So chocolatey, rich and awesome!
    Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Broad Bean Salad with Feta and AlmondsMy Profile

  10. How lucky for me that I happen to have all the ingredients on hand! I, too, love the chocolate and coffee combination.
    What a treat! And what a lovely photo!
    Sprigs of Rosemary recently posted..Love Knots | Soft Hot Buttered PretzelsMy Profile

  11. Your cake looks beautiful Roz. And I’m sure that liqueur made it very special. I’ve not had the Latin or Italian version of these cakes. I really feel like I’m missing out.

  12. they food looks delish so I am putting that to the top of my list

  13. This looks and sounds pretty incredible! I’m a coffee addict and have to try your recipe and find the liqueur.
    Pam recently posted..Hello Friends! I’m Happy to be Back!My Profile

  14. All my watering mouth can say right now is, Yum!!
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Pork (or Chicken) Tacos Cooked in Ancho Chile and Chile de ArbolMy Profile

  15. Oh, Roz, my oldest would go nuts for this cake. I will have to surprise him :) So glad you’ve joined the chocolate party!!! xo
    Liz recently posted..Parmesan Prosciutto Bread #Twelve LoavesMy Profile

  16. I should not have looked at this post before going to bed. I’m going to be dreaming about this cake. It look SO VERY DELICIOUS! Love the coffee addition!
    mjskit recently posted..Red Chile PasteMy Profile

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! Coffee really does go so well with chocolate! I hope that you had SWEET dreams!!!

  17. Oh, Roz, this dessert looks incredible! I love everything about it!
    Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti recently posted..My First Summer in ColoradoMy Profile

    • Hi Pat, It’s so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for your kind comment and I hope you’re doing well. I’m sure you’re enjoying your family in Colorado!


  18. oh roz- you have outdone yourself on this one. The cake looks amazing and tres leches is one of my all time favorite cakes in the world
    Kitchen Belleicious recently posted..Grilled Lemon, Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Pacific Rim Ginger SauceMy Profile

  19. I love everything about this dessert, Roz. Coffee and chocolate are made for each other. This should satisfy my chocolate cravings.
    Cathy at Wives with Knives recently posted..Braided BriocheMy Profile

  20. Roz: What a scrumptious tres leches…I wish I could have dig my fork in it!!!
    Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..Drunken Mocha Cake with Banana Foster Topping: Extremely Moist and Sassy!My Profile

  21. Yay! Another SC food blogger! Chocolate and Coffee Tres Leches sounds to die for! Going to have to get that Jamaican Coffee Liqueur! Love anything Jamaican.
    Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen recently posted..Pork Tenderloin with Nectarine Avocado SalsaMy Profile

  22. So many layers of chocolate flavor!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Chocolate Zucchini CakeMy Profile

    • Hi Cindy,

      yes lots of chocolate in this cake alright! Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be visiting your blog soon today!


  23. When I was in Italy I drank coffee because it was what we did, but I would much rathe eat it in a delicious dessert like this.
    bellini recently posted..Lobster Roll with Shaved Fennel and Citrus for the Virtual Supper ClubMy Profile

  24. Since coffee and chocolate are two of my very favorite things I am drooling over this delicious cake. I’m also happy to acquire some trivia knowledge along the way :)
    Susan recently posted..Rhubarb-Strawberry Hand PiesMy Profile

  25. Adding the coffee liqueur was a very nice touch. Thank you for bringing it to the Chocolate Party!
    Roxana | Roxana’s Home Baking recently posted..Berry goat cheese cheesecake recipeMy Profile

  26. You have the best recipes on your blog, Roz! I am putting them all in my “make soon” folder. I can’t wait to try this one!
    Shari Kelley recently posted..Vanilla or Chocolate? That is the question.My Profile

  27. I made this big, beautiful, delicious cake tonight. The “frosting” alone is a dessert. It’s just the two of us so after eating a piece and declaring it “A Keeper” we made some special deliveries and blessed our neighbor and some friends. This has got to be one of our new favorites. It’s so easy and quick. We definitely will be making this again…soon. Thank you!

  28. What a fantastic recipe! I love everything about it. Thanks for being a part of the YBR.:)
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Your Best Recipes of August 2013My Profile

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