Cherry Lime Tres Leches

As spring evolves into summer, the farmers’ markets begin to stock their tables with the ripe, sweet cherries in all their varieties. Among our favorites is the Rainier cherry, which is the miniature candied apple of cherries in color and taste—tart and sweet and mottled with yellow and reddish-orange tones. Nestled in the layers of the key lime cake and cream of this summery dessert, the mouth delights in discovering each bite of this seasonal fruit.


For the Key Lime Cake:

14 tablespoons butter
3 cups granulated sugar
3 farm-fresh eggs
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Tres Leches:

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the Whipped Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

For Assembling the Dessert:

2 pounds Rainier cherries


To Make the Key Lime Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Greased and line with parchment paper a full baking sheet pan or two half baking sheet pans. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Incorporate the eggs one at a time. Add the flavorings of lime zest, key lime juice, and vanilla; whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixer alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Spread the batter on a greased and lined full sheet pan. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and let cool completely. Cut the cake into at least thirty-six 2-inch round circles. Set aside.

To Prepare the Tres Leches:

In a bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1 cup heavy whipping cream. Set aside.

To Make the Whipped Topping:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whip 2 cups heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Chill until ready to use.

To Assemble the Dessert:

Pit the cherries and slice them into quarters. Set aside.

To assemble the first dessert, place one cake round in the bottom of a 2-inch round, clear glass. Soak the cake layer with about 1 tablespoon milk mixture and top with quartered cherries. Repeat the steps two more times for the dessert to make 3 layers. Continue to prepare all the desserts until no cake rounds remain. Chill the desserts to permit the milks to soak into the cake. When ready to serve, garnish each top with a dollop of whipped cream, a cherry, and a thin slice or wedge of fresh lime.

Recipe Created and Stylized by R. Shannon Mock and Brontë E. Mock


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