Tres Leches Cake Doughnuts


A very good first date question is: “Are you a cat person or a dog person?”

This will help provide clarity and understanding in a moment when both people are just sort of nervous and confused. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s no pressure. Just information for both people to gather, process and store.

I am and will always be a dog person. I understand doggies. They understand me. But I like all animals so I want to be a cat lady, kinda. And since I’m a dog person, I want people to like me, including kittens. But they don’t ever really do. SADFACE! They don’t.

So, for all you cat ladies and cat dudes, tell me this: Do kittens hate most people?

There’s this cat with dirty white paws and a cute, grey little body that lives on the property where my apartment building is. He’s a stray…sorta. My landlord sets out food for him and few others and they just wander around the property and bask in the sunlight. And every day I have so much hope that we’ll be friends. I go outside to check the mail or walk to my car and I see him. I bend down and talk in my most friendly kitten/animal voice and call him. You have an animal voice, right? I think we all do. I imagine even Obama has a voice he exclusively uses when talking to kittens.

Anyway, the kitten doesn’t buy into my kitten voice. He just stares at me with that snarky, cat attitude face and runs in the other direction. And every day I tell myself, “one day we’re going to be friends.” But we’re not gonna be.

Another question for you cat people: Do cats like doughnuts? If they like doughnuts, we might be OK.

I first had a tres leches doughnut at Doughnut Plant in New York. Pretty, pretty major stuff. All their doughnuts are totally amazing. But their tres leches cake doughnut and their creme brûlée doughnut will send you into dreamland.

Cake doughnuts are cool. They’re a bit easier to nail at home than a yeast doughnut. A lot of cake doughnuts tend to be a little bit dry. That’s usually my complaint with them.

BUT with this recipe, dry is actually kind of good. You want the dry-ish cake to absorb the tres leches glaze. This glaze is special. It’s pretty traditional, consisting of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and spiked with rum and spices. I love it!

Making this glaze is step numero uno for this recipe.

Next, you make the doughnuts. Pretty easy. If you want more step-by-step pictures, jump over to these Maple Bacon Cake Doughnuts I made a few months back.

After they’re fried, comes the fun part! The poking of the holes!

Take a skewer and pole a series of holes in each doughnut. This will allow the glaze to get all up in the doughnut.

And then pour it all over the doughnuts. Life is fun!

I don’t love a soggy tres leches cake. There’s a big difference between properly hydrated and just straight soggy. Let’s skip the soggy!

I let these doughnuts soak for about 10 minutes. While they were soaking, I toasted up some coconut and made the whipped cream topping.

I garnished these things and served them immediately. Let’s be serious. I was home alone. So I served them immediately…to myself.

If you want to make them ahead, I’d advise making the doughnuts and keeping them in an airtight container. They only have about one day of life to them. Then just soak and assemble the doughnuts right before serving.

I’m guessing you’re going to tell me that kittens don’t eat doughnuts. But guess what? Dogs do!


Tres Leches Cake Doughnuts

Print this recipe!

Tres Leches Glaze:
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
1 tablespoons aged rum
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup coconut flakes (might also be labeled “coconut chips”)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a medium sauce pan, add the milks, cinnamon, cardamom, rum and freshly grated nutmeg. Heat over medium-low heat until everything is combined.

2. In a cast iron skillet, preheat the oil to 365°F.

3. Whisk together the shortening, sugar and egg yolk until well combined. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the yolk mixture until a dough has just formed. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Lightly flour the surface and roll dough until ½ inch thick.

4. Use a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Re-roll the scraps to make more doughnuts. I ended up with about 12 doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes.

5. Carefully drop 3 to 4 doughnuts at a time into the oil and fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, flipping the doughnuts after a minute or so. Drain on paper towels and repeat until all the doughnuts have been made.

6. This is the fun part! Place the doughnuts on a 1-inch rimmed baking sheet (a casserole dish would work too!). Using a skewer, poke a bunch of holes in each doughnut. I did about 7-10 little holes. Pour the glaze onto each doughnut and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300F. Spread out the coconut onto a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Now make the whipped cream: add the sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract to a bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.

8. Place a dollop of whipped cream on a doughnut and spread evenly. Top with a sprinkling of toasted coconut. Repeat process until all doughnuts are garnished. Serve right away. Alternatively, you could make the cake doughnuts ahead of time, store in an airtight container, and then assemble right before serving.

Cake Doughnut recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon; Tres Leches Cake Doughnut inspiration from Doughnut Plant.

Yields 12 Doughnuts

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Margherita October 17, 2012 at 12:42 am

    The three leches glaze is to die for. And I’m with you on the soggy thing…there’s so much difference between properly hydrated and awfully soggy

  • Reply Kristin October 17, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Kitten voices can be problematic. Cats like to be addressed with dignity…you’re best off speaking to them as you would to an intelligent friend. Even if they don’t understand, they will pretend that they do & will appreciate the effort. Cats HATE baby talk, so avoid using a baby talky cutesy voice. Hope this helps.

    • Reply Adrianna October 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Whoa. What? This is earth shattering news. I’ve been approaching it ALL wrong. Dogs like animal voices and kittens don’t. I understand now. THANK YOU.

  • Reply Abby@ Totes Delish October 17, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Cat lady all the way! Thing is, cats like to be ignored until they come to you, go figure. I’m all for a justright soggy donut, give it to me!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 17, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Say what? Tres leches is my favorite cake!! I LOVE this idea!

  • Reply Morgan October 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

    the stray kitten at my house loves doughnuts, no lie!
    Also, these look amazing

  • Reply Meghan October 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

    “I garnished these things and served them immediately. Let’s be serious. I was home alone. So I served them immediately…to myself.”

    HA HA HA! Love. So. Much.

  • Reply Dana October 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I am definitely a dog person. My friend’s cat attacked me when I was 10, and I’ve never been the same.

    Also? These doughnuts sound unbelievable and need to happen in my kitchen ASAP.

  • Reply Yelle October 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

    That doughnut mold is great! I’ve never seen one! These cakes look so delicious. I’d take tres leches in any shape and form!

  • Reply christin October 17, 2012 at 8:10 am

    these are the definition of insane, obviously in the best way. i think cats would actually like this. i also think to be a “cat person” you’ve needed to have a cat. i hated cats until my parents got me one for christmas when i was 10 and she was the cat version of me.

  • Reply Jesse October 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

    you’ve got to be kidding me. i want to eat my computer screen.

  • Reply Heather T. October 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Cats get nervous around people and tend to avoid those that are seeking them out. Just let the cat get used to you over time. And I also don’t think they’re a fan of baby/animal voices. I’m a cat person, and my cats love everyone. They come when you call them, and let the baby sit on them (they spoil her). But they always hide at first when someone new comes over.

    Now excuse me, but I have some delicious doughnuts to make. 😛

  • Reply sandra October 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Kittens totally love you! You and all others. They are just wary. They have a long vetting list of attributes you need to meet before they commit to curling in your lap. You see, they’ve been around the block and don’t trust too easily. But keep coming. They will warm up. I promise. And if your doughnuts have leche creme on them I am sure they will love your doughnuts too. Might make a nice ice-breaker.

  • Reply Lauren Bux October 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

    1. I visited NYC for the first time in July and rode the subway for 10 minutes in one direction one morning just to get donuts at the Donut Plant for all my friends waiting back at the hotel. AMAZING. Their Black Out donut is unreal. They also have an agua fresca of the day – this sealed the love deal for me.
    2. You’re amazing – these donuts are adorable (and look DELISH)! Only problem, I’m going to get fat reading your blog. Seriously. This is a real problem. I don’t understand how you don’t weigh 300 pounds!

  • Reply Katie @ Blonde Ambition October 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

    “And every day I tell myself, “one day we’re going to be friends.” But we’re not gonna be.”

    Thank you, thank you THANK YOU! This is how I feel about most cats. I think they all hate me because I treat them like dogs. You know….all affectionately and whatnot.

    Cake doughnuts are actually my fave. That glaze sounds amaaazing.

  • Reply Amanda B. October 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

    These look delightful. And evil. I’ll have to make them.

    Yes, I’m a cat lady. I read somewhere that cats don’t trust direct eye contact and attention- they see it as a threat. That’s why they always gravitate toward the one person in the room who’s ignoring them: your allergic friend or your dog person friend. And strays usually avoid people altogether. I’ve been told by professionals that if kittens are exposed to humans within the first 6 weeks of their lives, they’re usually cool with humans. If not, they distrust and fear.

    Not running away from you is probably about as much respect as you can get from him!

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

      This is good information.

  • Reply Karis' Kitchen October 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I love it when cats vs dogs comes up on blogs because I find new blogs to follow through the comments. I’m a sucker for anyone who says they love cats 🙂 I definitely agree with the previous comment, kittens need human contact early on or they will avoid people.

    I just recently had tres leches cake for the first time and now I’m determined to make it at home, but these doughnuts sound like an even better idea!

  • Reply Jackie October 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Me too, nothing against cats, but I will always be a dog person as well. I was literally just craving tres leches cake, so moist and sweet.

  • Reply Heather@SugarDish(Me) October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I made donut holes this morning!! My kitten really likes them. I know that because I constantly have to shoo her away when I’m photographing things. She pretty much thought I was distracted enough to let her get a taste of them. I wasn’t. Better luck next time, Norma Jean.
    These donuts (DOUGHNUTS) look soooo delicious, I don’t even know where to begin. I found a pumpkin tres leches cake recipe the other day, but I want these more than that.

  • Reply TARTESANDCARO October 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    oh my lord !! your donuts are so beautiful and look like a evil temptation !

    your photo are magicals

  • Reply julie @ the semi-reformed nerd October 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    This makes me want to give donuts a shot… I may finally have to try it. YUM.

    • Reply Etlir November 4, 2012 at 2:48 am

      Ahh, Krispy Kreme 🙂 I can understand their power, but they are just too rich for me! I’m a good, old foshianed cake donut kind of girl ;)-Nina @

  • Reply amanda @ fake ginger October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Whaaaat?! This is the most brilliant recipe ever. I WANT IT NOW.

    I’m definitely a dog person. But I’m also the person that runs out and buys a bag of cat food as soon as I spot one lurking around our yard. They stick around for a few days, I name them, get attached, and then they leave forever. Boohoo. 🙁

  • Reply Lauren @ Part Time House Wife October 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    These babies look to pretty to eat!

  • Reply Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen October 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Haha, I would actually dread that first date question. I feel judged quite often for being a cat person. I love both, but strongly prefer the kitties!

    These doughnuts look delish!

  • Reply Emily@ Totes Delishy October 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Cats like to be the first not to like someone. A cat will not like you just so when you don’t like it later on it can say, oh yeah well I didn’t like you first. Cats are pretty much just like high school girls in that way : )
    These donuts look delicious, by the way.

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

      They’re the “mean girls.” 🙁

  • Reply Suzanne Perazzini October 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Cats are so unpredictable. On holiday in Italy recently, my son’s girlfriend bent down to pat this cat which was purring crazily at us all and it took a swipe at her, raising bloody welts on her arm. Why purr if you don’t want to be touched?
    These doughnuts are too dangerous for me. I already put on several kilos in Italy.

    • Reply Stacey October 18, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Apparently sometimes they purr if they’re frightened?! Who knew? So confusing, those cats.

  • Reply Amal October 18, 2012 at 5:40 am

    That looks so good!

    I tried your Colombian empanadas recipe and the filling was great but the dough came out all wrong. I think there’s a measuring error in that part of the recipe. Do you mind editing it so I can make them again?

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Whaaa? That sucks! So sorry. Let me take a look!

  • Reply Connie October 18, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’m also a dog lover who wants to be friends with cats (are there a lot of us out there?). I have 2 dogs and have been entertaining the idea of adding a cat to the clan, but never did I stop to think about whether or not cats will like me back. Perhaps I should try to befriend one before I take one in–I don’t want to be snubbed!

    Also, these doughnuts look amazing. I’m a huge Doughnut Plant fan and love that this recipe was inspired by one of theirs. Seriously drooling over your pictures right now.

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Getting snubbed sucks!

  • Reply Stacey October 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

    In our family, we have a cat and dog voice that is one and the same. We often also use said cat or dog voice for babies as well.

    Tres leches is my jam. I’ll often make it quatro leches by sneaking some coconut milk in there. Heaven.

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Do it! I was thinking of swapping out one of the milk for coconut milk. Maybe you should do that. Maybe it should be the evaporated milk!

    • Reply Adrianna October 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Oh girl, I know all about Trotter Pup. I follow him on Instagram. Every picture is insane. Every one.

  • Reply Melissa October 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

    These look amazing! I screamed when I saw this recipe…I have an obsession with Tres Leche cake. Can’t wait to try, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Loren October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    My kittens sweet tooth is as bad as mine. Generally when I am eating dessert is when she is suddenly SUPER affectionate and wanting to spend time with me and slllooowwllyy inch her paw closer to the plate. Cats are fickle but they love donuts.

  • Reply This week’s favorite reads (10/14-10/20) « Life on the Horizon October 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    […] Tres Leches Cake Doughnuts – A Cozy Kitchen […]

  • Reply Jack Tyler October 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    It is possible that cats love doughnut. Cause our cat don’t choose what food to eat. It’s just eat everything!

  • Reply Christina October 22, 2012 at 9:25 am

    1. I LOVE Doughnut Plant.
    2. I vote that the “holes” be used as the baker’s tester donuts. You know, just in case.

  • Reply Keeley @ My Life on a Plate October 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Sweet baby Jesus! I just had these doughnuts from Doughnut Plant two weeks ago and it took every ounce of willpower for me not to smuggle out an entire tray under my coat. I was still thinking about these doughnuts when your post popped up in my Google Reader! I’m definitely bookmarking this. Thank you so much for making my day!

  • Reply Rachel Page December 23, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I have fallen for this cake. It’s exquisite!