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!

yellow cake with white frosting and strawberries on top

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.

bite taken of a vegan tres leches cake showing texture

A vegan tres leches cake consists of

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.

a cake with holes poked all over

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.

milk poured over a vanilla cake in a pan

Top with vegan whipped cream. I used So Delicious Coco Whip which I love.

dollops of whipped cream on a milk soaked cake

Spread whipped topping evenly over the milk-soaked cake.

whipped cream on a cake

Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired and serve with sliced strawberries.

a whole tres leches cake with cinnamon on top

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.

glass pan with a cake and milk mixture on the bottom

What to serve with tres leches cake

Serve with any of the following popular vegan Mexican-inspired recipes:

a piece of milk soaked cake with whipped cream and strawberries on a plate

Want more crowd pleasing desserts?

square image of a piece of cake with a bite taken out of it
5 stars (8 ratings)

Vegan Tres Leches Cake

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.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chilling time: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 
 

For the vanilla cake

For the milk mixture

For the rest

  • 1 Recipe coconut whipped cream OR store bought coco whip
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sliced strawberries

Instructions 

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.

Notes

  1. Gluten free – Try a gluten free flour mix, such as King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Flour.
  2. Sweetened Condensed Milk – You can use my recipe OR buy a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12 servings | Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I made for New Years Eve party, Latin theme. Used mango, not strawberries. Mango was so ripe, I pureed it and made a thin layer on top of the cake after it had soaked and before adding whipped cream.
    A huge hit, delicious. Making it now at request for a 20th Birthday party. Yummy! Thanks

    1. Hi Allyson. Your cake sounds wonderful! I’m thrilled it was a hit at your party! Thank you for sharing you terrific feedback and ideas! I’m sure you’ll do a beautiful job on the next one you make! Happy cooking!

  2. Thanks! Made this last night, served today… An absolute hit! I did all coconut milk/cream. Also, I used your coconut whip cream recipe. I can’t wait to make it again. I used a springform pan because it was the closest to the proper volume. Only problem now is my lack of self control lol. Just wanted to add that your chocolate crinkle cookies are my favorite cookies in the world!

    1. Hi Sarah. I’m thrilled to know your cake was a hit! Thanks for sharing your experience with the recipe, and your fantastic feedback! I’m glad you love the cookies as well! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  3. I never leave reviews but this was so so good I had to! This cake was super easy to make (I’ve been wanting to for a long time but I thought it would be harder) and it was delicious! I didn’t have strawberries so I added blueberries on top instead which is not authentic but it was tasty! Can’t recommend this recipe enough! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    1. Ashley. I’m so glad that you tried the cake, and that you found it easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback!

    1. I haven’t tested it, but they might need a little longer in the oven, I’m not totally sure. I would check often after 25 minutes with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Enjoy!

  4. I made this cake for our annual family Christmas gathering which is a spread of vegan Mexican food. This cake was FABULOUS! Everyone loved it. It is super easy to make as well. I have been looking for a vegan tres leches cake recipe and this does not disappoint. Nora thank you for a wonderful recipe. This cake will be one of my go to recipes now.

    1. Hi Valerie. I’m so glad that the cake was a hit at your Christmas gathering! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! I’m thrilled this will be one of your new go to recipes!

  5. Hello,

    If you’re making this cake 1-2 days ahead, do you wait to put the whipped topping on top until right before serving or can you put it on and then leave it in the fridge overnight? Thank you!

  6. Planning to make this for my husband’s birthday this weekend – tres leches is his favorite! Question – I’m planning to make your sweetened condensed milk recipe for it and wondering how much I will need. The recipe for the cake says 11.25oz, so I am wondering how much will  one recipe of the milk yield? Thanks! 

    1. What a wonderful gift for your husband! The condensed milk recipe makes about 1 cup and 11.25oz = just over 1 cup. You should be fine making a regular batch of the milk or feel free to double the recipe just in case. Hope this helps!

  7. Hi Nora this I’m making! Do you think I can sub another oil? Maybe avocado?
    Thank you for all your beautiful recipes!!

  8. Hi Nora,

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes as always. I was wondering, could this recipe be made into cupcakes?

  9. Hi Nora! Would it be the same outcome if I used your Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe instead of your Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake? Thank you!

    1. Hi Mari. My vegan vanilla cake is quite light and delicate, which means it may not hold up as well when you add the milks. You could try it, but you’ll have the best results if you stick to this recipe!

  10. This recipe was DELICIOUS, and surprisingly super easy to make. Everyone loved it – total home run. Only thing I was disappointed by was how FEW leftovers I was able to take back home with me! 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah. Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback! I’m glad the cake was a hit! Sounds like it may be time to make another one! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  11. I love this cake!  I made it as written, using hazelnut milk for the plant milk in the milk mixture and Coco Whip for the topping.  Nice presentation with the cinnamon and strawberries on top.  Definitely a hit!

  12. Hi there! If I would like to make this recipe gluten-free as well, can I substitute the flour for gluten free flour or additional ingredients needed? 

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Gabriela. Try a gluten free flour mix, such as King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Flour. Hope this helps!

  13. I made this cake for my son and his wife who is from Colombia on their wedding day. It was delicious and so easy. Everyone enjoyed it. Even my other son who usually doesn’t eat desserts was happy for the leftovers the next couple of days.

  14. My partner and I loved this! With the whipped topping, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some sliced berries, this is a truly delicious and decadent dessert. The cake, however, took much longer in the oven than suggested for a toothpick to come out clean (maybe an extra 10-15 mins) in our 9×13 pan with the recipe as written. Just a heads up!

    1. Thank you for sharing your feedback and review. I’m glad you guys loved the cake! Thanks for the heads up about the baking time.

      1. Hi Nora,

        Do does the cake tastes coconutty? If so, is there a way to bypass it? For example, by using something else instead of the coconut milk?
        Thanks 🙏

        1. I really didn’t find this cake to taste like coconut much at all. I haven’t tried anything else but the coconut milk, but you could use an oat based condensed milk instead of coconut based. Maybe a store bought vegan heavy cream would work in place of coconut milk, but I haven’t tried it. Thanks!

  15. Growing up we always had tres leches, but as I have recently started eating vegan it’s been hard to not crave tres leches. I’m so glad I found this recipe, I cant wait to try it!!

  16. Hi there. I may still be missing it but I’ve read through three times and I don’t see where the 2 tablespoons cornstarch get added. Please help, thank you.

    1. Hi, sorry about that, it’s added with the flour and other dry ingredients. I updated it because it was missing. Thank you!

  17. Awesome recipe! It worked really well. I cooked it in 2 round 8″ x 8″ cake pans because I didn’t have a 9″ x 13″ and because I’m new to experimenting with cake pan sizes, I think I cooked it too long, but it still tastes amazing, just was a touch dry. Luckily, it’s tres leches cake, so it was perfectly fine once it had soaked a bit.

    Thank you for the amazing recipe! Next one on the list: Your Boston Creme Pie. Then I’m going to try your Boston Creme doughnuts, because my bf loves doughnuts, but the only vegan doughnuts near us are sooooo expensive

    1. Hi Paige. It sounds like you are having fun baking, and I love it! I’m so glad you loved the cake! Wishing you fun with the doughnuts! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and review! Happy cooking!

  18. Omg I want to make this right now! The quantity is too much for me though. If I want to make 8×8 pan should I half the recipe? Thank you! I’m a huge fan. 

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