This easy gluten free tres leches cake recipe is a delicious dessert you will want to make again and again. The creamy three-milk blend is sheer perfection and makes this cake so moist. It is perfect for Cinco de Mayo or anytime you want an easy cake recipe!

A slice of gluten free tres leches cake on a small white plate.

Have you tried tres leches cake before? This gluten free coconut tres leches cake recipe is worth making!

Tres leches is a Spanish cake made with a similar method to my Gluten Free Sponge Cake recipe. With gluten free tres leches cake, you soak the cake in three different kinds of milk, making the cake rich and very creamy.

You can check out my favorite Cinco de Mayo recipes for even more ideas :-).

A slice of gluten free tres leches on a plate. It is topped with fresh whipped cream, coconut, and a strawberry.

Why this gluten free tres leches cake is great:

  1. Moistness: Tres Leches Cake is soaked in a mixture of three types of milk (hence its name, “tres leches,” which means “three milks” in Spanish) that makes it incredibly moist and tender.
  2. Flavor: I use a combination of coconut milk, coconut cream, and heavy cream to add a rich layer of sweetness to this cake recipe.
  3. Simple to make: Despite its impressive taste and texture, this Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. You will need an electric or stand mixer, but most gluten free flour blends will work in this recipe.
  4. Versatility: I include a dairy-free version of this cake so everyone has options. Note this cake recipe will not work with an egg replacer.

Reader Rave

I made this and it was quite possibly the best cake, gluten or non gluten, I have ever eaten! ❤” Joyce R.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I used King Arthur Measure for Measure to make this cake. Because of how this cake is made, most gluten free flour blends should work well. Be sure your blend has a binder like xanthan or guar gum.
  • Sugar – Use white sugar.
  • Baking Powder – Use aluminum-free. This recipe calls for a full tablespoon of baking powder. If you use regular baking powder, it will affect the taste of your cake.
  • Eggs – Use size large.
  • Coconut Cream – Use canned coconut cream.
  • Coconut Milk – Use regular canned coconut milk.
  • Heavy Cream – Do not use half and half.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract. Using imitation vanilla will affect the flavor of this cake.
  • Whipped Cream – Make it from scratch or buy pre-made whipped cream.

Tips For Sucess:

  • Be sure to whip your eggs, sugar, and vanilla until the color of the eggs becomes dull and creamy colored. This can take 4-5 minutes.
  • Do not overmix your whipped egg mixture and dry ingredients. Gently fold the two together to blend.
  • Cover and cool the cake in the refrigerator after adding the milk blend.
  • Cover the top of the cake with foil if your baking time is over 30 minutes. This cake takes a long time to bake, so you want to prevent the top from getting too dark.

I swaped the sugar with Monk Fruit Sweetener. It turned out great! I also made it dairy-free too! 💕

Alyssa C., Facebook

Substitutions:

  • To make this cake dairy-free, use a dairy-free heavy cream. So delicious and makes a great non-dairy heavy cream.
  • I used Truwhip non-dairy whipped topping. This is a nice whipped cream if you don’t want to make one from scratch.
  • Feel free to add funfetti sprinkles to the cake batter. This makes the cake festive. Use a brand of sprinkles that is gluten free.

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

Photos of steps 1 and 2 making a gluten free tres leches cake.

Step 1: Add the gluten free flour and baking powder to a mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.

Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. You can use a hand-held electric mixer if you like.

Photos of steps 3 and 4 making a gluten free tres leches cake.

Step 3: Whip the egg mixture for 4-5 minutes until the color is very pale yellow and the mixture is. You will know the mixture is finished whipping when you lift the whisk attachment, and a thick string of batter runs down.

Step 4: Gently fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg mixture.

Photos of steps 5 and 6.

Step 5: This is what your batter will look like. It is going to be very airy.

Step 6: Pour the cake batter into a greased 8×8 baking pan or 9-inch springform pan. The bubbles make this gluten free tres leches cake so airy and light. I use this gluten-free baking spray.

Bake the cake for 40-48 minutes. The actual baking time will vary depending on the size and depth of the pan you use.

Photos of steps 7 and 8.

Step 7: While the cake is baking, heat the coconut cream, coconut milk, and heavy cream in a saucepan over low heat. Do not let it boil. This is to blend them and melt the coconut cream.

Step 8: Remove the cake from the oven. Use a shishkabob stick to poke holes all over the top of the cake. You want a lot of holes so the tres leches can soak into the cake.

Photos of steps 9 and 10.

Step 9: Use a spoon to pour the warm milk mixture over the cake. Be sure to really let the milk soak in, then add more.

Step 10: You can see how saturated the cake is. Now cover the cake and place it into the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Step 11: Cover the top of the cake with store-bought whipped topping or homemade whipped cream. To make whipped cream from scratch, add heavy cream to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to whip it until it forms stiff peaks. Add fresh berries and shredded coconut.

The top of a tres leches cake with strawberry slices and shredded coconut.

Enjoy dessert with these Pink Grapefruit Margaritas! This is the perfect cocktail for any Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Recipe FAQ:

Why is this cake called Tres Leches Cake?

Tres Leches cake is a Mexican dessert that means three kinds of milk. I guess you could call this cake a three-milk cake. This gluten free milk cake recipe is a delicious cake to make at any time, though many make this cake in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. This recipe makes individual cakes like in this recipe, or you can make one large cake for a crowd.

How long do you soak a tres leches cake?

The recipe Chef Kzaz created for us soaks overnight in the refrigerator. This allows all the flavors to blend and soak in before adding the whipped cream topping.

Can you freeze a gluten free tres leches cake?

If you want to freeze this cake, I recommend freezing the cake before adding the milk blend and frosting. Freeze in a zipper-style freezer bag. Thaw the cake and then poke the holes, and add the milk soak.

How do you store tres leches?

This tres leches cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I highly recommend keeping this tres leches cake in an airtight container so the cake doesn’t dry out!

A single serving sized gluten free tres leches cake topped with cream and coconut.

More Gluten Free Cinco de Mayo Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Include which flour blend you used. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A slice of gluten free tres leches cake on a small white plate.

Coconut Tres Leches

Sandi Gaertner
A delicious homemade gluten free tres leches cake recipe that is perfect for any occasion. Three milks blend together to make this creamy tres leches cake.
5 from 22 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 slices
Calories 496 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder aluminum-free
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend *see note
  • gluten free cooking spray
  • 15 ounce can cream of coconut
  • 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 14 ounce heavy cream

Topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  • Add the coconut cream to a sauce pan. Heat the over low heat until melted. Add coconut milk and heavy cream and heat until simmering (do not boil). Set aside until ready to use.
  • For the cake batter, place eggs, sugar, vanilla and water in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Whip on high speed until tripled in volume or ribbon stage. Sift flour and baking powder together. Using a whip, fold flour mixture into egg mixture until smooth.

For Small Cakes:

  • Wrap the bottom of each ring mold with a piece of aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Fill each mold 3/4 full and bake on a sheet pan at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes. Cakes should rise and fall when cooked. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the top of each cake then ladle 6 to 8 ounces of coconut milk on top of each cake should absorb all the milk add more milk if necessary . Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.
  • When ready to plate, carefully remove foil while tilting cake slightly sideways without letting it slide out. Slide it onto a plate and remove the ring mold garnish with whipped cream, toasted coconut and your favorite fruit sauce with berries. Makes five to six individual cakes.

For an 8×8 Cake Pan:

  • Spray oil in the baking pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until finished baking. If you notice the cake getting dark on top, cover with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking.
  • Remove the cake and use a shishkabob stick to poke holes all over the cake.
  • Pour the tres leches over the cake. The cake will absorb all of the liquid. Let the cake cool then cover and refrigerate the cake.
  • Chill for 2 hours then top with whipped cream.

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF. Other blends should also work well.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container.
  4. You can make one large cake by using a springform pan.
  5. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the donut. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. The cake needs to be baked longer if you see batter or crumbs.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 496kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 5gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 60mgPotassium: 273mgFiber: 3gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 620IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This post was updated from an old post published in 2014 with new photos and more detailed recipe instructions.

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5 from 22 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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48 Comments

    1. It is funny you asked this. I looked on my spreadsheet where I track reader modifications, and one reader did write she used monk fruit sweetener for this cake, and that it was great. I haven’t tried it myself…but knowing a reader used it successfully should encourage you to try it.

  1. I couldn’t even get the cool whip on and I was eating this cake lol. So delicious, light and milky. Only problem I had after following the directions exactly and batter looking just like yours was my center caved in my 8×8 cake as soon as I took it out of the oven. Doesn’t matter to me still eats the same. So good with the coconut flavor!

      1. 5 stars
        I used King Arthur measure for measure. I did open the oven to cover so top didn’t get too dark. I think i happened then. Regardless it’s delicious! I would love to share a picture but don’t see that as an option.

  2. Just wondering if you let the batter sit for 30 mins before baking? I always do that with gf cookie doughs and batters. I’m concerned the airiness will settle if I let the dough sit. I appreciate any insight you have 🙂 thanks

    1. I find it varies, depending on the flour blend I use. I always let Bob’s 1:1 sit, but I find King Arthur Measure for Measure doesn’t need to sit that long. I usually let it sit 10 minutes while my oven heats.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! I substituted Lakanto Monk Fruit for the sugar and used a hand mixer (took about 10 minutes to get it to the correct consistency). However, the cake itself tasted so good! I also baked at 375 for 18 minutes and then had to cover, lowered temp to 350 for 12 minutes. Next time, I’ll do 350 for 35-40 minutes. Lastly, I made it DF too! Thank you so much!! This was also so much easier than the traditional way of making it. 🤣

  4. I tried this recipe twice and both times my cake collapsed. I tried two different pans and tried convection and non convection. I’m not sure what went wrong. Any advice? Thanks!