Tres Leches Cake is served all over the world using different accent ingredients which range from rum to caramel, but always using 3 milks (hence the name!). The cake probably originated in Central America, where it is still made today with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream. These milks combine to form a rich sauce that is poured over and absorbed into the moist, spongy cake, making this dessert truly unique.
What makes my version even more special are the coconut and almond accent flavors, and the fact that this cake is entirely gluten, dairy and egg-free. A vegan tres leches cake? You bet! And topped with homemade coconut whipped cream, it tastes like a dream!
I’ve given you lots of ingredient options here, so dive in! (My preferred brands are in parentheses.) No excuses – it’s time to celebrate … just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
To hear more about this annual tradition and about other wonderful gluten-free options for this day of food and festivities, download the free podcast of my radio show on Cinco de Mayo!
Tres Leches Cake with Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream
Tres Leches Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F (static) or 325°F (convection or for dark pans). Coat bottom and sides of 8×8 inch pan with oil or cooking spray (without flour).
In a small bowl, combine the gluten-free egg replacer powder with warm water and whisk together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together oil, sugar, almond extract, and almond milk. Add the egg replacer mixture and mix well.
Whisk together the Jules Gluten Free™ flour, non-dairy milk powder, baking powder and salt. Slowly stir these dry ingredients into the wet mixture bowl, then increase the mixer speed and beat for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is lighter and well-mixed.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the sides of the cake are pulling away from the sides of the pan. The cake will be lightly browned on the top and sides.
Set aside to cool for 5 minutes while preparing the Tres Leches Sauce.
Tres Leches Sauce
In a medium-sized sauce pot, whisk together the three “milks”: coconut, almond and kefir coconut milk. Add the untoasted coconut. Stir over medium heat on the stove until warmed — approximately 5 minutes.
Poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or fork, every 1/2 to 1 inch. This perforation will help the Tres Leches sauce to seep into the cake itself. Once the sauce is warmed, pour slowly over entire cake, but do not allow it to pool in the center. Tilt the cake pan, if necessary, to help disperse the sauce, and reserve extra sauce if there appears to be too much for the cake to absorb (this may be served with the cake later, if desired). Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the sauce is mostly absorbed – usually 3- 4 hours or overnight.
Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream
Plan ahead by putting the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator the day before, making it super easy to make insanely delicious coconut whipped cream in just minutes.
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat)
- 1/3 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk powder (Vance’s DariFree™)
- 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds – optional –
- 1/2 cup toasted, flaked coconut (sweetened) – optional –
Chill coconut milk by putting the unopened can in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours – this will help the milk to separate.
Before preparing the cream, chill a metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment or beaters in the refrigerator or freezer.
Open coconut milk can by removing the lid. Using a spoon, skim the thick cream off the top of the coconut water and transfer to the chilled bowl. There should be approximately 1 cup of cream skimmed off, leaving approximately 1/2 cup coconut water in the can to save for other uses.
Beat the cream with the chilled whisk attachment or beaters until thick and fluffier – at least 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift confectioner’s sugar and mix with non-dairy milk powder. Stir in the sugar mixture with the cream and beat again until integrated. Cover and chill until serving.
Serving Suggestion: Serve chilled Tres Leches Cake in sliced squares, topped with a dollop of fresh coconut whipped cream. Sprinkle toasted almond slices and toasted coconut on top.
This recipe has been entered in the So Delicious/Go Dairy-Free Recipe Contest!