Apologies in advance for the overload of pictures in this post, but I just adore this vegan tres leches cake and had a tough time choosing my favorite shots! This is my dairy-free spin on the classic cake.
I’ll address the elephant in the room first: vegan tres leches cake is a pretty ridiculous sounding name considering that the crucial component of standard tres leches cakes is a mixture of 3 different forms of dairy. But then again, I think it’s also ridiculous to ask me to name this Vegan Sponge Cake With A Sweetened Non-Dairy Beverage Mixture Poured Over The Top. So we’re going with vegan tres leches.
Phew. Now that I’ve preemptively addressed the haters who will urge me to choose a different name for the recipe, I can tell you all about this glorious cake. Traditional tres leches was undoubtedly one of my favorite sweets before I went dairy-free. So I’ve eaten a fair number of these in my day, and I will honestly tell you that I think this vegan version is just as good, if not better.
It starts with a basic vegan vanilla sponge cake. I merged a couple of different recipes that I found online, and then reduced the sugar and liquid to arrive at my final version. That’s because after the cake cools, we poke a bunch of little holes in it and pour a mixture of vegan sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk over the top and let the cake soak up all of that goodness.
You can also whip up the rest of the coconut cream as additional topping if you like. I just like my cake served with some fresh berries. (Or a tiny bit of rice whip, pictured). It’s already super sweet and moist even without frosting or cream on top. Up to you!
Enjoy this vegan tres leches cake for Cinco de Mayo, or anytime! Personally I’m gonna have to make yet another one, because this entire thing was gone in 36 hours. No clue where it went. I definitely did not skip all of my regular meals that day. Also, this is my official acknowledgement that the amount of sugary cake recipes in general lately has been too damn high. More fresh veggies coming to you very soon 🙂
If you make this vegan tres leches cake, let me know! Leave a comment, or tag me on Instagram with #yupitsvegan and @yupitsvegan. Happy baking!
Vegan Tres Leches Cake
For the sponge cake:
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
- 170 g all-purpose flour (1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil is not recommended)
- 2/3 cup cane sugar (or use coconut sugar, cake will have a darker color)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
For the soaking syrup:
- 1 cup vegan sweetened condensed milk
- 1 14- oz . can full-fat coconut milk , refrigerated overnight
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease an 8-by-8 or 7-by-11 inch baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- To the bowl with the soy milk, add the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk well to combine. Stir in the dry mixture and mix until no lumps remain.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Wait until at least 20 minutes have passed before opening the oven door at all). The 7-by-11 cake size takes around 30 minutes to bake, and the 8-by-8 size takes around 35 minutes.
- Let the cake cool for at least an hour. (You could potentially prepare the sweetened condensed milk while the cake bakes and cools). Using a chopstick, skewer, or a toothpick in a pinch, poke holes throughout the cake, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. The distance isn't very important, just make to poke lots of holes all over.
- Retrieve the coconut milk from the refrigerator and gently scoop out the cream on top. Either turn this into coconut whip to top the cake if you like, or reserve it for another use (curry, etc.). Take the rest of the liquid from the can and mix it together with the sweetened condensed milk. Pour this milk mixture over the top of the cake. You'll need to do it in several stages, waiting in between for the cake to soak up the milk. When the cake is pretty much saturated with the milk, you're done - you may or may not need all of it.
- This cake is best served cold, so if you have time, refrigerate it. However, it still tastes pretty darn good if you eat it right away 🙂 leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
NON-DAIRY MILK: I heartily recommend using soy milk for this cake batter. The higher protein content in soy versus other options leads to better flavor, texture and browning. But you can substitute for it if you need to.
NUTRITION: Nutrition facts exclude sweetened condensed milk and any other toppings such as coconut cream.