Ina Garten Calls This Barefoot Contessa Cake the ‘Dessert of Your Dreams’ and It’s So Easy to Make

Ina Garten has no shortage of amazing dessert recipes that impress — her tres leches cake with berries and whipped cream is a total crowd-pleaser. Garten calls the rich and beautiful cake “the dessert of your dreams” and, while it looks like a fancy restaurant dessert, it’s easy to make.

Ina Garten on the Today show during a cooking segment
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ina Garten’s tres leches cake with berries and cream recipe is easy to make

While demonstrating her “light and airy” tres leches cake on Barefoot Contessa, Garten noted it’s “the dessert of your dreams.”

“Tres leches cake is a Mexican dessert,” she explained. “It’s very unassuming but so delicious. It’s a cake that’s been soaked with a mixture of three milks.”

Garten begins by making the tres leches part, mixing the heavy cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, almond extract, and the seeds of a vanilla bean.

She calls the dessert “kind of a combination between a cake and a pudding” that’s “so delicious.”

She makes the cake by beating eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer for 10 minutes on high speed until it’s fluffy.

Garten sifts flour, baking powder, and salt together then adds the flour mixture and whole milk to the batter slowly. She pours the batter into a buttered 9 x 13 cake pan and bakes it for 25 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. She allows the cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Ina Garten calls this her ‘favorite’ cake

Garten then gets to work poking the cake. “So now I’ve got the cake — it’s cooled, but still a little bit warm — and I’m going to poke it with holes with a skewer,” she shared. “But not the sharp end of the skewer, the blunt end. And lots of holes. And this is going to allow the milks to really soak into the cake, all over.”

“There are actually lots of different cakes that I like that have some kind of syrup absorbed into the cake,” she added. “The French have baba au rum, which is soaked with rum — always a good idea. But I think this tres leches cake is my favorite.”

Garten pours the milk mixture over the cake, assuring that all the milk absorbs into the cake.

Garten refrigerates the cake for six hours then sprinkles it with powdered sugar before adding the berries mixed with sugar and whipped cream.

RELATED: Ina Garten’s ‘All-Time Favorite Dessert’ Looks Elegant but Is So Easy: There Are Just 4 Ingredients

Ina Garten uses a make-ahead whipped cream for the dessert

Homemade whipped cream isn’t typically a make-ahead dessert topping because the cream starts to break down, but Garten has a recipe that holds up perfectly.

She combines cold heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and crème fraiche “which makes the cream stable so it can be made ahead.” Garten whisks everything in a stand mixer on high speed “until it forms soft peaks.”

“And you thought you couldn’t make whipped cream ahead and you can!,” she said.

To serve the cake, Garten cuts it into squares, piles berries alongside it, and adds whipped cream on top.

“Now I don’t know about you, but this is the dessert of my dreams,” she said before taking a bite. “It’s flavorful, it’s fresh, it’s got great textures. It’s got whipped cream. That’s amazing.”

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.