Recipe: Gluten and dairy-free tres leches cake

I don’t know where tres leches (three milks) cake came from but it’s very popular in several Latin American countries. It’s basically a sponge cake soaked in a mix of evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream (hence the name). Peruvian dessert queen Sandra Plevisani has a cinco leches version that uses coconut milk and dulce de leche (caramel) in addition. Needless to say, both versions are unbelievably sweet.

While it’s not my favourite cake (I prefer chocolate over anything else), I realise it’s a crowd pleaser. My version is lower in sugar, plus gluten and dairy-free.

Gluten and dairy-free tres leches cake
Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Gluten and dairy-free tres leches


Sponge cake (recipe from Yoginibear’s blog):

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup almond milk (preferrably homemade*)
  • ground cinnamon, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a loaf pan with baking (wax) paper.
  3. Mix almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Add honey and vanilla whisk with an electric mixer (or by hand, if you’re game) until pale and fluffy.
  5. Using a spatula, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until completely cooked.
  7. While cake cools down a bit, mix the milks in a bowl.
  8. Place cake in a suitable container (I use a Pyrex dish) and pour the milks on top. Cover with the container’s lid or cling wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow the cake to soak.
  9. When ready to serve, take the cake out of the fridge, cut in slices, pour the milk that’s sitting on the container on top of each slice and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

* To make the almond milk: soak 1/2 cup of almonds in water overnight, the next day drain and rinse them and blend them with 1 cup of fresh water. Drain in a fine mesh strainer. Use the milk for this recipe, and reserve the solids for later use (for example: nut porridge or pancakes, or as facial scrub).

12 thoughts on “Recipe: Gluten and dairy-free tres leches cake

  1. Should I be this excited ? 🙂

  2. I like the sound of this version and it sure does look delicious. Though something tells me nobody would take a nap after the regular version due to the high sugar content. They’d be bouncing off the walls!

    1. The first 15 minutes… until the sugar crash comes! 🙂

  3. this version sounds nice! im not into overly sweet desserts and chocolate over everything!

  4. Oh my goodness. That looks so delish. I’m not a fan of coconut milk but it looks so good I might try it anyway. =)

  5. Ohhh yum this looks sooo good! I’ve only tried tres leches cake once before but I really enjoyed it. So glad to see a dairy and gluten free version!

  6. i must try this Gaby, sounds delicious 🙂

  7. So how many calories in a dish like this per serving?

  8. Did you mean egg WHITES? Or…. 6 whole eggs.

    1. Hi, 6 whole eggs.

  9. Excellent recipe! I have made tres leches for years and now I can’t eat it because of my autoimmune problems. This recipe is great! Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Hope you enjoy this version of tres leches as much as we do 🙂

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