When my blogging pal Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake self-published her new cookbook Just Vegan Cakes and asked me if I wanted a copy to check out... of course the answer was YES! 75 recipes of cake. Of every kind. And all cake I can eat... No brainer!
I've always loved Amy's creativity and delicious recipes. There's a strange pull between our blogs. Our recipes and style are somewhat different, yet our tastes and sense of adventure in the kitchen seem to be aligned so often. Something akin to fraternal baking twins... In any event, her *unmistakably Amy* cakes always catch my attention. So having 75 new ones all at once to check out was a lot of fun.
The moment I got my copy I proceeded to fawn over each and every cake... until I settled on this coconut tres leches cake which I asked Amy if I could share with you -- it turned out so delicious. Plus there's been a real gap in baked cakes on the blog here lately, so figured this cake should tide you over and fill in that comforting spongy coconutty cake void you may (or may not?) have been experiencing. But more about the cake later...
First, 2 words about this book and recipes. This isn't Amy's first book. If your curious, you can find her earlier books here. This book is just about cakes. Raw cakes, pound cakes, layer cakes, upside down cakes, crepe cakes, coffee cakes, bundt cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes, mug cakes... in short, enough cakes to keep you happily busy baking a good while ?. And while the book is called Just Vegan Cakes, besides being naturally eggless and dairy-free, all of the recipes are also gluten-free and refined sugar free, too.
Just to give you a sense of Amy's cakes, here are a few layered ones from her blog:
It was so hard to pick just one cake from the book to share with you -- I wanted to do so many! But I've been wanting to make a tres leches cake for the blog for some time, so figured rather than re-invent the wheel why not share Amy's take on it. It turned out quite lovely, and the cake base was so easy to work with and versatile -- you could really use it for so many different variations of layer cakes, loaves, and so on.
Here's what Amy shared in the book about her recipe:
"Traditional tres leches cake gets its name "three milks" from the milk in the batter, a sweet milk soaking syrup and a whipped cream topping. This cake is just as delicious, and has the three milks, except it is coconut milk used instead of dairy milk. I think this coconut milk version is even more delicious that the original because the coconut is naturally sweet. This cake is so dreamy with all the billowy whipped coconut cream on top."
It's a "tres yeses" from me on the above. We loved the cake. The only modification I did was throw on some rose petals on top, for a "fiesta" feel to celebrate this new book :)
Also, it just so happened that I picked the worst day of the year to bake and take photos of this cake -- we had an intense heat spell and that day was particularly crazy. But when I'm busy "caking" I don't generally notice these things... that is until my husband comes in to give me the look for running the oven in the middle of a heat wave ?. Reason I'm sharing this is that my frosting was getting soft-ish while taking photos. But don't judge the book by my melty "cover" of the recipe. It was utterly delicious from top to bottom. I could eat that whipped frosting with a spoon and be a happy camper! I know you'll love it too -- melty frosting or proper (though now that you've got my warning, I'm sure you'll know better than to bake cakes and then take lengthy photoshoots of them during a heat wave ;) ?).
In short, if you like this cake or just cake in general, check out Amy's book and blog to support her recipes and creativity! And if you're not in need of cake at the moment, may I recommend Amy's incredible ice cream gallery... ?
Ok, and now to cake...Print
Amy's Coconut Tres Leches Cake
Lush vegan version of "three milks" cake aka Tres Leches Cake, topped with billowy dairy-free whipped cream. Gluten-free and made without refined sugar.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: an 8x8" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1 ½ cups all purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup applesauce
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk at room temp.
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp organic full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or raw coconut nectar
- 1 15 oz can full fat organic coconut milk, chilled
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or raw coconut nectar
- pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
- large flake coconut for topping
- [my addition: a sprinkle of edible dried rose petals]
- Preheat oven to 375F and position rack in center of oven. Line an 8x8 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides lightly with oil.
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk wet ingredients (except cider vinegar) together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in the cider vinegar.
- Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Turn cake out onto platter, peel off parchment paper.
- Whisk together the soaking syrup ingredients, and then brush over top of cake.
- For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, and place in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes (whisking every 15) until it thickens to the consistency of thick whipped cream. Spread the frosting over cake, then top with large flake coconut (and rose petals, if using).
Keywords: vegan tres leche cake
Hello, I'm trying to make this AIP compliant (for a birthday celebration tomorrow) - do you know if cassava flour would work for the cake? Or a combo of coconut, cassava and arrowroot/tapioca? (If a combo, what proportions?)
I'm looking for a dairy-free tres leches cake to make for my husband's birthday (it's his favorite!) and this looks incredible! Would it work just as well to make it with regular flour, rather than gluten-free? Thanks!
Beatrice Miranda says
Can one use canned condensed coconut milk? It's delicious and I would love to try it in something besides my Nescafe :)
I believe you -- that stuff is dangerously good :)
I suppose you can try adding it to the frosting instead of the sweetener and some of the coconut milk. Or just drizzle it on top of the cake altogether in place of the frosting.
Oops! One more question: About the soaking syrup, is 3 Tablespoons of syrup really enough for the whole cake? Other tres leches cake recipes seem to have about a cup or more of soaking liquid. Thanks again!
Hey Jill. I actually found it to be a lot of syrup! I had so much I didn't know what to do with it :) I just followed Amy's recipe exactly as she outlined in her book and there was definitely enough syrup to soak the whole cake.
I made the cake, and it was super-delicious!!! Everybody raved about it. I followed the recipe. I refrigerated the frosting, but not the cake, and frosted it the day of the party. I used toasted small flake coconut on top and surrounded the cake with nasturtium flowers. Just one thing: The recipe calls for 1 can chilled full fat coconut milk for the frosting. (I used Trader Joe's organic.) It never firmed up. So I made another batch and drained the liquid from the can, and then it firmed up perfectly. Thanks Audrey and Amy!
Hey Jill. Thanks so much for sharing how it went. So happy it worked out well!
I sort of agree about the frosting come to think of it. I used one a can that had more cream in it, and felt like it could have been a bit firmer maybe for next time, so draining the water makes sense as you described. It was still fluffy and delicious so I didn't mind :) but maybe for a frosted birthday cake, etc. a firmer frosting would work best.
Thanks for this recipe! I'll be making it for a special occasion. So I just want to check with you to be sure: There is no flax egg or egg replacer in the recipe. Is it correct that it doesn't need it?
Also, what's the best way to store it overnight. Would it be best to frost it the day of serving? Thanks!
Yes, that's correct -- the recipe doesn't call for an egg replacer. Applesauce does the trick nicely enough in this case :)
You could refrigerate it overnight, and frost the day of. You could also frost in advance if you prefer, but I feel like frosting the day of would probably work best.
The Vegan 8 says
It looks gorgeous Audrey!! I definitely need to try this one next. I love Amy's book so far, I mean hello, cake is my favorite thing ever, haha! I'm posting this week on her book as well! So much yumminess. You did a wonderful review of her book and recipe!
Thanks Brandi :) I loved this cake. Can't wait to see what you picked to try out!
Simple ingredients and easy, Delicious!!!!! Would eat it again!
Oh, wonderful -- so happy you liked it, Sarah! :) We loved it too.
I really want to try out this cake but is there anything I can use instead of the coconut butter? I can't get any . Thanks
Hi Angela, you could just make fresh coconut whip cream instead of the topping if you prefer -- that doesn't require coconut butter (just the white cream part from a chilled can of coconut whipped + a few tbsp sweetener and vanilla). Or you can make your own coconut butter by processing shredded coconut for about 10-20 minutes in a food processor until it reaches coconut butter consistency.
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
I remember first coming across Amy's blog and her incredible cakes many years back, just scrolling and exploring and gazing for hours at how intricate and colorful and magical they are! I never thought about it, but you two do kind of have a similar thing going. I quite love the way you styled this--elegant but approachable is what comes to mind. It sounds like I'm writing a bio for a dating site or something lol :D And I am just trying to embrace the melty look as well since it seems it's unavoidable during a photoshoot in July. And my photoshoots are never brief. "...messy 'cover'" hehe :D
Ok, you totally cracked me up with the dating site ?
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
What a delicious-sounding cake. I've never come across one quite like this so thanks for the inspiration :)
I've been seeing so many tres leches cakes on pinterest these last few months. I've never tried one before but it looked and sounded great. Amy's version is delicious!
Thank you so much for reviewing my book Audrey, and your version of the cake looks wonderful :)!
Thanks Amy -- it's been a pleasure to explore it!