Amy’s Coconut Tres Leches Cake

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.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Just Vegan Cakes (Free From: gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar)

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...

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Just Vegan Cakes (Free From: gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar)

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.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Just Vegan Cakes (Free From: gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar)

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 ;) ?).

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Just Vegan Cakes (Free From: gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar)

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...

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Just Vegan Cakes (Free From: gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar)

Amy's Coconut Tres Leches Cake

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: an 8x8" cake
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert


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.



  • 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 tablespoon coconut milk at room temp.
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Soaking Syrup:

  • 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
  • cup plus 1 tablespoon raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
  • large flake coconut for topping
  • [my addition: a sprinkle of edible dried rose petals]


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Whisk together the soaking syrup ingredients, and then brush over top of cake.
  5. 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).
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