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Vegan Tres Leches Cake Recipe
This vegan tres leches cake is so delicious and easy to make!
It’s an incredibly rich, moist and flavorful cake made with a mixture of evaporated coconut milk, canned coconut milk and condensed oat milk.
Easily one of my new favorite cakes – it’s then topped with dairy-free whipped cream from a tub, a strawberry slice and a little mint leaf.
Perfect for any occasion, and I’ll bet no one will have a clue that it’s totally vegan and dairy-free!
- Almond Milk & Vinegar – This will create a sort of vegan “buttermilk” that adds a lot of richness to the cake.
- All-Purpose Flour – You can substitute for a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend as well.
- Sugar – Plain, white sugar is best for this cake’s color!
- Cornstarch – When added to flour, this creates a homemade cake flour that is lighter!
- Baking Powder & Soda – To help the cake rise while baking.
- Salt – To bring out all the rich flavor.
- Vegetable Oil – Any neutral oil like canola will also work fine.
- Vanilla – The rich vanilla flavor is so irresistible!
- Aquafaba – This is the liquid in a can of chickpeas. When whipped it turns into a vegan meringue that helps make that classic tres leches cake texture!
- Milk Mixture – A tasty combination of canned coconut milk, evaporated coconut milk and sweetened, condensed oat milk. I bought these at Whole Foods but you can also make your own, or simply use the creamiest milk you can find.
- Toppings – The best simple topping for this delicious cake is vegan whipped cream, strawberries and mint leaves!
Coconut Dairy Free Tres Leches
I was so happy when I found out that Whole Foods carries evaporated coconut milk and condensed, sweetened oat milk.
While you can use any milk for this recipe, having the option to buy these canned, especially the condensed milk, is a huge game changer.
I’ve found that many specialty stores, and pretty much all Whole Foods stores, carry the Nature’s Charm products, but I’d call ahead or order if you’re unsure.
What is Tres Leches Cake?
The origin of Tres Leches Cake seems to be open to debate, but many Latin American countries claim the milk cake as their own.
It is a soft and bubbly sponge cake that is poked with a fork and soaked in a blend of three milks, typically evaporated, condensed and whole.
It’s then topped with whipped cream, meringue or even marshmallow fluff, as well as fruit; It’s truly a delicious dessert!
What Does Tres Leches Cake Taste Like?
It is an extra moist cake (but not at all soggy), that is just the right amount of sweet – the whipped cream on top is the perfect balance.
It has a rich, vanilla sweet cream flavor and the texture is just delicious – light and airy yet moist and hearty!
How Do You Make Vegan Tres Leches?
While this recipe isn’t truly authentic and uses dairy-free milk, it is absolutely delicious and one of the most crave-worthy vegan cakes I’ve made!
Luckily, many grocery stores like Whole Foods have begun selling canned evaporated coconut milk and sweetened, condensed oat milk.
These make it a breeze to make dairy-free tres leches cake as true to the recipe as possible.
How to Make Tres Leches Cake
Making and Baking the Cake
To make this easy cake, start by preheating your oven and preparing your pan (full instructions in recipe card below).
Then, mix together your vegan buttermilk (almond milk and vinegar) and set aside. Mix together your dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet and mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, add the aquafaba. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium until stiff peaks form – this may take up to 5-10 minutes but it’s important you get those peaks for the proper cake texture. Add the whipped aquafaba to the batter and gently fold in until evenly incorporated.
Once you mix in the whipped aquafaba, the batter will bubble up a bit, and this is good! It will help make that light and airy cake texture you want, that perfectly soaks up the milk mixture.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean without any wet batter on it.
My pan was a little on the big side, but a normal 9×13 baking pan should yield a slightly thicker cake.
Soaking and Frosting the Cake
Cool the cake for about 30 minutes, then mix together your three dairy-free milks until combined.
Using a fork, make a bunch of holes in your cake, and then slowly pour the milk mixture on top, all except for about a cup which I find to be just a little too much milk.
Place the cake in the fridge to soak for 1-8 hours, or until the milk is absorbed. Then frost with whipped cream and decorate with strawberry slices and mint leaves!
This cake stores pretty well – you can keep it in an airtight container, or simply cover the pan with wrap, in the fridge for about three to four days.
As usual, it’s always best to enjoy fresh though!
Easy Tres Leches Cake Dessert
The taste and texture of this cake is just what you expect from a tres leches recipe – super moist, incredibly rich and delicious.
The whipped cream is the perfect subtle frosting on top of the cake, and the strawberry and mint leaf give it that extra bit of flavor.
This recipe is:
- Easy to Make
- Dairy Free
Try these other tasty vegan cakes!
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- 1 1/2 Cups Almond Milk
- 2 Tsp Vinegar
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup White Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tsp Vanilla
- 1/4 Cup Aquafaba*
- 12oz. Sweetened, Condensed Oat Milk
- 12oz. Evaporated Coconut Milk
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (full-fat from a can)
- 9oz. Tub Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
- Sliced Strawberries
- Mint Leaves
- Preheat oven to 350F. Add parchment paper to a 9x13 pan and lightly grease.
- Mix together almond milk and vinegar, set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well.
- Add the milk and vinegar mixture, oil and vanilla and mix until smooth, try not to overmix.
- In a separate bowl, add the aquafaba. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium until stiff peaks form - this may take up to 5-10 minutes but it's important that you get those peaks for the proper cake texture.**
- Add whipped aquafaba to the batter and gently fold in until evenly incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean without any wet batter on it.
- Cool cake for about 30 minutes. Then, mix together your milk mixture.
- Poke many holes in the cake with a fork, then slowly pour the milk mixture over, all except for about a cup (I find using all of it to be a little too much).
- Place in the fridge to soak in for 1-8 hours, or until the milk is absorbed. Then frost with whipped cream and decorate with strawberry slices and mint leaves. Enjoy!
*Aquafaba is the juice in a can of chickpeas. Shake the can before opening, measure out 1/4 cup of the liquid and use the beans in another recipe!
**If yours is not whipping up like meringue, you may have gotten a weird can, try with remaining liquid or a new can. Nine times out of ten it works fine but every now and then I have to restart with different liquid.