Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Tres Leches Cake with Berries

Just when you thought tres leches cake was forever out of reach, we bring you a totally delicious gluten-free, dairy-free tres leches cake that wows without the wheat or milk! By our pal Alanna Taylor-Tobin, it’s perfect to feed crowds, it’s impressive, too, thanks to its spongy-wet cake soaked with coconut milk and a light and fluffy topping crowned with fresh berries.

5 from 2 votes

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Tres Leches Cake with Berries

If regular cakes are too dry for your taste, tres leches is the cake for you. A light and airy cake poked and soaked with a sweetened milk mixture, this classic Latin-American sweet is like a cross between cake and custard. This version breaks with tradition by using coconut milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk in the “leches” mixture, all topped with a billow of whipped coconut cream and juicy berries. Your guests will never, ever believe this light and tender cake is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword cake, dairy-free, gluten free, mexican, tres leches
Servings 20
Calories 216 kcal


For the Cake:

  • 1 teaspoon room temperature coconut oil or vegan butter for the pan
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral oil
  • 3 large egg yolks (reserve the whites)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120 grams) granulated sugar divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 grams) millet flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (55 grams) sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (40 gramoat flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature (reserve the yolks)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Milk Mixture:

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounce) canned sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • Pinch salt

For the Whipped Coconut Cream:

  • 2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut cream chilled at least 8 hours
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla paste or extract

For the Berries:

  • 4 to 6 cups fresh berries
  • Sugar to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


  1. Make the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Butter the bottom only of a 9- by 12-inch or 9- by 13-inch cake pan. The cake batter will crawl up the ungreased sides of the pan, making for a taller, lighter cake that will better absorb the milk mixture.

  2. In a very large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup water wiht the oil, egg yolks and vanilla, then whisk in the 1⁄2 cup sugar. Place a strainer over the bowl and sift the millet, sweet rice, and oat flours with the baking powder and salt directly into the yolk mixture, adding back any bits left behind in the strainer. Whisk until very smooth and the consistency of pancake batter.

  3. In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg 
whites with the cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until the whites are glossy and just hold a firm peak when lifted from the bowl, 1 to 3 more minutes.

  4. Use a flexible silicone spatula to fold one-third of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined and no streaks remain. Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan and quickly but gently spread the batter into a thin, even layer.
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cake is golden, springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool until warm, about 30 minutes.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the milk mixture: Combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring until combined and warm to the touch. Keep warm; this will help the mixture absorb into the cake.

  7. When the cake has cooled slightly, poke it all over with a slender chopstick or skewer (make 100 or more holes). Slowly pour the warm milk mixture over the cake 1 cup at a time, letting it absorb into the cake, until the cake stops absorbing liquid. Tilt and swirl the cake to help the liquid absorb. Cover and chill the cake until ready to serve, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  8. Make the whipped coconut cream: Remove the bottoms from the chilled cans of coconut cream and pour off the liquid. Scrape the cold cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip on high until the mixture holds firm peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Chill until needed.
  9. Prepare the berry topping: Cut any large berries into smaller pieces. Combine the berries in a large bowl and toss with enough sugar and lemon until you like the taste. Let sit for 15 minutes to draw out the berry juices.
  10. To serve: Top the cake with the whipped coconut cream and berries. Cut into squares or wedges and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Tres Leches Cake with Berries
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 216 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 91mg4%
Potassium 175mg5%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Vitamin C 2.7mg3%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

8 Comments on “Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Tres Leches Cake with Berries”

  1. Avatar for Caresse

    I’ve never heard of canned coconut sweetened condensed milk. What brand do you recommend?

  2. Avatar for emily.s.r

    5 stars
    This was super yummy! I realized I needed one more cake for birthday party that included dairy-free people, so I whipped this up the morning of. I used the So Delicious coconut whipped toppping instead of using cans as I have inconsistent results with that. Topped it off with strawberries and blueberries. Several people told me how good it was!

  3. Avatar for Devonne Skuba

    Can I sub a gf all purpose flour for the three fours labelled here ?

  4. Avatar for Erika

    You can, but we can’t guarantee what the texture will be! Give it a try and let us know!

  5. Avatar for Erika

    I’m guessing it would work, Lisa, but I haven’t tried it. If you do, will you let me know how it goes?

  6. Avatar for Mila

    5 stars
    I always liked the “Tres leches” cake, but it’s a killer with the sugars… I alway had made by Spanish and they used only white sugar, I understand. I have a table spoon of cake and get heartburn. I was look forward to see your recipe, but discovered again its sooo much sugar..,, can it be reduced or it will effect the quality? Also, I tried the very good quality from WF coconut condensed milk, it’s terrible . I returned. What’s your suggestion. Thank you. Sincerely Mila

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