Indulge in the irresistible sweetness of this classic Mexican dessert with a plant-based twist, vegan tres leches cake, a sweet vanilla cake soaked in a combination of three dairy-free kinds of milk, covered in silky coconut whipped cream, then topped with juicy strawberry slices.
This recipe was edited in October 2021. If you are looking for the old recipe you can download it here.
What Makes This Recipe Great
This delicious dessert recipe leaves me full of nostalgia for my childhood birthday parties and our weekly family meals. It has been one of my favorite cakes for decades, closely followed by the Chocoflan, and Carlota de Limon. It is completely vegan, egg-free, and dairy-free, and will impress both vegans and non-vegans alike.
What Is Tres Leches Cake?
Traditional tres leches cake is a very popular cake in Latin America. The recipe varies according to the country you are in, but in Mexico, it is a vanilla sponge cake soaked in condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (media crema). It is then topped with whipped cream, fresh berries or assorted fruit, and sometimes cinnamon. On occasion, rum or rompope (a sort of Mexican eggnog) is added to the milk mixture.
Dairy-Free Whipped Topping: This can be store-bought or you can easily make it yourself. If you plan on buying it, check your local grocery store for options. If you plan to make it I recommend this recipe made with coconut cream.
Aquafaba: This is the liquid from a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). The protein in the cooking liquid makes it act as an egg replacement and binder, and it can even be beaten to make meringue, like egg whites.
Soy condensed milk: I purchased my soy condensed milk at HEB, my local grocery store. You can purchase coconut or oat milk condensed milk online if you can't find it. Alternatively, you can make it yourself.
Soy evaporated milk: I purchased my soy evaporated milk at HEB, my local grocery store. If you can’t find it you can purchase coconut evaporated milk online.
How to Make Vegan Tres Leches Cake
In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients: soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together.
In a medium bowl beat the aquafaba until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the whipped aquafaba into the batter.
Pour into a cake pan and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Let the cake cool, then cut off the top of the cake.
How to Make the Three Milk-Soaking Liquid
- There are two ways to make this. The first one is to simply combine the condensed oat milk, evaporated soy milk, and condensed soy milk.
- The second (find instruction in recipe notes) is to combine 1 cup of almond milk, 1 1/2 cups oat milk, 1 1/2 of soy milk, and 1/2 cup of sugar and simmer for 30 minutes (this is so the milk thickens slightly), then let it cool completely in the fridge. Either way will work.
Poke holes in the cake.
Pour in the three milk syrup. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to serve it top it with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.
Expert Tricks and Tips
When pouring the milk on the cake start from the center then pour to the sides. This will ensure that the cake soaks all the way through.
Serve topped with fresh fruit with acidity in it like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and mango.
If you have any leftovers they will keep for only one day in the fridge.
Tres leches cake is very similar to a poke cake. Which is basically a cake that you poke holes in after baking and soak in a liquid. A poke cake is very popular in the southern United States.
The word "Tres leches" translates to "three milks". It is aptly named because you use a combination of three milks to soak the cake.
Yes!!! Tres leches is supposed to be a moist cake, but it should not be soggy, and it should still hold its shape.
Vegan Tres Leches Cake
- 1 ¼ cups Soy milk, unsweetened
- 2 teaspoons Apple cider vinegar
- 1 ¾ cups All-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons Aquafaba
- 1 ½ cups Oatmilk, unsweetened
- 1 ½ cups Soy condensed milk (11.2 oz)
- 1 ½ cups Soy evaporated milk (11.2 oz)
- 2 cans Reddi-whip Coconut Whipped Topping
- 1 pint Strawberries, hulled and sliced
To make the cake
- Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 x 13 " baking pan with parchment paper, and spray lightly with oil.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix to combine.
- In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well.
- Add the milk-vinegar mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture, add the oil, and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, pour in the aquafaba and using a stand mixer with the whiks attachementor a hand-held mixer whip at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.
- Pour the whipped aquafaba into the bowl with the cake batter, and fold it in with a spatula until it has completely incorporated into the cake batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake in the middle rack of the oven, for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven. Let cake cool for 10 min, and remove from baking dish. Remove parchment paper and let cake cool completely on a rack.
To make the milk syrup
- In a bowl, combine the oatmilk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Whisk and set aside.
- Using a serrated knife, gently cut off the top of your cake. Place your cake inside of the baking dish and poke the surface of the cake with a fork. Be sure to press the fork all the way down through the cake.
- Start pouring the milk over the cake starting from the center. Contine pouring until the cake is soaked all over. There might be some liquid that hasn't been absorbed on the sides of the cake, but that's ok. Place in your fridge and let the cake soak overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, top the cake with the coconut whipped topping and spread with a spatula. (Don’t add the whipped topping to the cake unless you’re ready to serve it.)
- Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the whipped topping and serve.
- This recipe was edited in October 2021. If you're looking for the old recipe you can download it here.
- It's very important to make the cake the day before so you can let it soak in the fridge overnight.
- If you can't find plant-based condensed or evaporated milk combine 1 cup of almond milk, 1 1/2 cups oat milk, 1 1/2 of soymilk, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes (this is so the milk thickens slightly), and let it cool completely in the fridge. This will be your tres leches. You can use your favorite plant milks.
- Top with strawberries or assorted berries. The acid in the berries cuts the sweetness of the cake.
- If you want to make your own whipped topping I recommend this recipe.
- If you're looking for whipped topping without coconut check out all these options.
Although dorastable.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates.