Naughty but Nice: Tres Leches Cake and Chocolate Brownies

by Pamela

tres leches cake, indulgent recipes, chocolate brownies, dark chocolate

Today, I’d like to introduce you to someone who I kind of think of as a very sexy Willy Wonka…Chris, from Nestle Kitchens.  Chris runs the test kitchens for Nestle.  Whenever I visit her, I feel like that kid from the movie.  The aroma’s emanating from that kitchen are enough to make you want to park yourself and never leave.  Chris knows her way around a pantry like no one you’ve ever met, but doesn’t make you feel like a culinary school flunky while talking to you.  Wait until you taste these creations she has so graciously shared here.  I guarantee it will be love at first bite.

I am so happy to be doing a guest post for my friend Pamela!  I love her approach to recipes – always fresh and tasty – and the same can be said for her relationship advice!  I won’t be offering up spicy relationship advice, just two naughty-turned-nice recipes.

When it comes to recipes, my general philosophy is to keep it simple, fresh & nutritious.  When creating indulgent recipes such as this Tres Leches Cake and Chocolate Brownies, well, nutrition doesn’t always come into play.  This is when we need to exercise moderation, sensible portions and self-control (read: no going back for seconds!).  So how did I turn these Naughty recipes to Nice? Read on…

I put this Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake recipe to a side-by-side taste test in our Nestle Kitchens.  One cake was prepared with full-fat milk products, the other, as specified in the recipe below.  Guess what?  Those who tasted could not tell a difference between the two cakes (and I don’t think it was because of the rum!).  So when taste and texture are not compromised, I do like to give a shout out to reduced-fat products.  You will see that I am using a cake mix.  Don’t be scared.  Just make the recipe.  You can thank me later.

In the Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, grated zucchini adds moisture (so less oil is used) and nutrition.  You really can’t taste the zucchini.  You may see a few green specs, but that’s it.  Baking cocoa is also used along with our new Dark Chocolate Morsels.  Brownies with baking cocoa have more of a cake-like texture, which I love.  But I also wanted them to be a little gooey with a darker chocolate flavor, that’s where the morsels come in.  When my son tasted these and shouted (no exaggeration, he shouted) “These are the best brownies I have ever tasted!”  I knew it was a recipe to share.  And you know what else?  One bite took me back to a flavor I remembered from my childhood.  A Ding Dong. Remember those?  I haven’t eaten a Ding Dong in over 30 years – guess it made a lasting impression on me. Hopefully these brownies will make a lasting impression on you.  Let me know what you think!

Relationship Advice

I’m no expert here, but I do agree with Pamela that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And I can tell you that it always helps to show up with cupcakes. Or cake. Or brownies. Your choice.


Recipe: Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake


  • 1 Box (18.25 ounces) White Cake Mix
  • 3 Limes
  • 1 Can (13.5 fluid ounces) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 Can (14 ounces) NESTLÉ LA LECHERA FAT FREE Sweetened Condensed Milk or NESTLÉ CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2/3 Cup (5 fluid-ounce can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Light Rum (or to taste)
  • 2 Cups Light Whipped Topping, thawed, or 2 Cups Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 1/2 Cup shredded or Flaked Coconut, lightly toasted (optional)


  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions using egg whites; fold in grated peel from 1 lime. Bake in 13 x 9-inch baking pan for duration listed on package. Meanwhile, prepare tres leches mixture.
  2. Combine coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, rum and grated peel from 1 lime in large bowl; stir well. When cake tests done, remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  3. Poke holes in cake with a long-tined fork every ½ inch. Carefully pour milk mixture over cake, spooning any pooled mixture along the sides over the top of the cake. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Cut the cake; top with dollop of whipped topping. Grate peel from remaining lime over cake; sprinkle with toasted coconut (or to achieve look in picture, use round biscuit cutters to cut cake, transfer to serving plate, then add toppings).

Preparation time:  15 Minutes

Cooking time:  30 Minutes

Number of servings (yield): 12

Culinary tradition: Mexican

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)



Recipe: Whole-Wheat Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies


  • 1 Cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Coarse Salt
  • 1 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 9-inch-square baking pan with foil.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
  3. Melt ¾ cup morsels in large, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Stir in oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture; fold in zucchini. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup morsels over top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift brownies from pan; cut into 16 squares. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Preparation time:  15 Minutes

Cooking time:  30 Minutes

Number of servings (yield): 16

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)


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Samantha June 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

Those brownies look amazing! I’ve got a ton of zucchini in the fridge right now so I will be making these. Thanks so much for the recipe (found you on Pinterest!).

Susan Bewley June 5, 2012 at 7:52 am

I don’t know which looks better, the Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake or the brownies! I love tres leches cake and will have to try this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing and pinning this now!

Johnny April 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

The ingredients listed to make Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake include “1/3 Cup Light Rum,” but it does not appear in the instructions. Would like to make this; please tell me where the rum goes (be nice). Thanks!

Pamela April 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

Hi Johnny, I corrected the recipe. The rum should be added into step #2 with the milk mixture that gets poured onto the cake. Be nice….that was cute. 😉

Enjoy the cake!

Susan June 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Made the brownies. LOVED them! Thank you for sharing!

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks June 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I’m always interested in tres leches recipes. This presentation is gorgeous. Will bookmark as a lowfat version.

healthy dishes June 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Great to know about Whole-Wheat Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies and Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake.
Its seems very yummy………..

Lauren @ Sugar Coated Sisters June 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

OH MY GOSH. Reading my mind!! I’ve been pining after tres leches for a couple of weeks now after pouring some spare coconut milk over coconut cupcakes and re-baking them for 5 mins.

I will try this recipe out ASAP.

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