This Vegan Tres Leches Cake is one of my favorites and consists of a light vanilla cake soaked in a triple dairy free milk mixture. Top with fluffy coconut whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced strawberries.
The traditional version of this cake is soaked in a mixture of 3 milks and topped with whipped cream, so creating a vegan version was quite the project!
This vegan tres leches cake ranks as one of the best desserts I’ve ever made! Similar to my vegan tiramisu, it took me quite a while to get it just right and worthy of sharing. Desserts that rely so heavily on dairy products can be hard to replicate.
Once you’ve tried a bite you’ll understand it was worth the effort.
What is tres leches?
Tres leches literally translates to “three milks” because a light sponge cake is soaked in a mixture of three dairy milks, usually sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk or cream. It is a wildly popular Mexican dessert and is topped with whipped cream.
This vegan version is far from authentic since I’m not using any dairy or eggs whatsoever. I think you will fall in love with this vegan tres leches cake!
It’s perfect for bringing to potlucks or any other celebration. I love that it’s not too sweet and tastes rather light while being a pretty rich cake.
A vegan tres leches cake consists of
- A simple vanilla cake
- Three milk mixture – Full fat coconut milk from a can, vegan sweetened condensed milk (my recipe or store bought), and oat milk (or your favorite plant milk).
- Coconut whipped cream – or aquafaba whipped cream or store bought coco whip.
- Sprinkle of cinnamon + sliced strawberries
How to make vegan tres leches
First, make the easy vanilla cake in a 9×13 inch pan. Poke holes all over the cake. Not just a few holes, but literally all over, and all the way down to the pan! This will help the milk mixture soak all the way through, creating a deliciously moist cake.
Mix your three milks together: full fat coconut milk, vegan sweetened condensed milk, and oat milk. Pour over the still warm cake with holes poked all over it. Chill for at least an hour.
Top with vegan whipped cream. I used So Delicious Coco Whip which I love.
Spread whipped topping evenly over the milk-soaked cake.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired and serve with sliced strawberries.
Make ahead option and storing
You can make this cake 1-2 days ahead of time, in fact it gets better with time! Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
The cake will keep, covered, for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
I would not freeze the cake that is already soaked in milk, but you could freeze the vanilla cake, then thaw and soak in the milk before serving.
What to serve with tres leches cake
Serve with any of the following popular vegan Mexican-inspired recipes:
- Jackfruit Tacos with Avocado Cream
- The Best Vegan Enchiladas
- Vegan Carne Asada
- Vegan Fish Tacos
- Best Vegan Queso
Want more crowd pleasing desserts?
- Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Best Ever Vegan Brownies
- Vegan Raspberry Bars
- 1 Bowl Vegan Apple Cake
- Vegan Peanut Butter Pie
Vegan Tres Leches Cake
For the vanilla cake
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk or other plant milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil or other neutral flavored oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the milk mixture
For the rest
- 1 Recipe coconut whipped cream OR store bought coco whip
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- sliced strawberries
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch cake pan.
- Combine the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup or bowl, stir and set aside for a few minute to curdle.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Now pour in the milk/vinegar, oil and vanilla. Whisk until combined and there are no large lumps left in the batter.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake cool for about 15 minutes. The cake should still be warm when you pour the milk over it; it will absorb better.
Prepare the milk mixture
- Scoop/pour the full fat coconut milk into a large microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, until warm and there are no more hard white portions.
- Add the sweetened condensed coconut milk and oat milk to the bowl with the coconut milk and whisk well.
Pour the milk mixture on cake and chill
- Use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the cake, all the way down to the bottom of the pan.
- Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to let it soak up the milk.
Finish and serve
- Prepare whipped topping. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and smooth whipped cream all over the cake.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and decorate with fresh sliced strawberries, if desired. Store vegan tres leches cake in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, covered.
- Gluten free – Try a gluten free flour mix, such as King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Flour.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – You can use my recipe OR buy a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk.
- I used So Delicious Coco Whip for the whipped topping. You can make my coconut whipped cream or aquafaba based whipped topping instead if desired.
- Make ahead – This cake is the perfect cake to make 1-2 days ahead of time, in fact it probably tastes better if you do!
- Can you freeze the cake? Don’t freeze the cake with the milks soaked in, but you can freeze the vanilla cake, then thaw and pour milks over before serving.