This vegan tres leches cake is perfectly sweet, soft and creamy. It's topped generously with my homemade dairy-free whipped cream and I have to say, it tastes amazing.
The sheet cake takes less than 20 minutes to bake inside the oven. Once it has cooled, pour the vegan milk mixture over it, which contains soy milk, coconut milk and dairy-free condensed milk. Let the cake set, decorate and enjoy!
This recipe is loosely based on milk cakes which are very popular in many parts of the world such as, Latin America and South Asia. I've always wanted to veganize them so here's my take on classic, traditional milk cakes.
Why You Will Love This Cake
- Amazing Texture - The consistency of this cake is amongst my all-time favorites. It's certainly no secret that I adore moist cakes and this recipe takes the meaning of 'moist' to a whole new level. After the cake soaks in the milk mixture, the texture becomes luscious.
- Great Toppings - My vegan whipped cream topping makes the perfect topping for this cake. It is made from coconut cream and powdered sugar and is so incredibly light. I also made it for my vegan chocolate mousse and my vegan banoffee bars. Many traditional milk cakes have cream on top, so I couldn't leave it out.
- Comforting - I sometimes serve this tres leches cake in a similar way to my pudding cakes. I don't always top it with the whipped cream. Instead I serve the cake with dairy-free custard instead. The warmth of the custard makes the dish so homely and comforting.
- Allergy Friendly & Plant Based - This vegan tres leches cake recipe is fully vegan and dairy free.
- Cornstarch - Adding a little cornstarch (cornflour) to the cake batter, along with the other dry ingredients, helps to soften the final texture.
- Soy milk - This is one of the three ingredients that you will need to make the dairy-free milk mixture. You can also use other plant milks such as, oat milk and almond milk.
- Canola oil - If you aren't familiar with this kind of oil, it is another name for rapeseed oil. It helps to give the cake an even crumb which is tender. Other types of oil will also work well but I've always had the greatest success with this one.
- Coconut milk - This is another important component for the milk mixture. Make sure that you use full fat coconut milk.
- Vegan condensed milk - My condensed milk recipe down in the recipe card is wonderfully delicious and will enhance your tres leches cake tenfold. Of course, you can also buy a store-bought one but I often find them too sweet. I added condensed milk to my vegan caramel rice krispie treats, as well as my vegan lemon poke cake recipe which really shows it's versatility.
- Vegan whipped cream - I recommend that you make my homemade whipped cream recipe, which is also linked in the recipe card. It has the perfect consistency for this cake and I know you're going to love it.
See recipe card for full information on individual ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- There are so many ways that you can customize this recipe. Why not create a different topping? One time, I replaced the whipped cream with the chocolate ganache topping from the vegan carrot sheet cake recipe. It worked beautifully. If you want to keep the cream, you can add extra toppings onto it such as, vegan sprinkles, vegan chocolate shavings and finely chopped nuts.
- You can make this tres leches cake gluten-free by substituting out just one ingredient. The all-purpose flour. Swap it for a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour blend. You can also swap out the cornstarch for a teaspoon of arrowroot powder as this really helps a gluten-free cake to become soft.
How To Make Vegan Tres Leches Cake
For the full method, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1: Grease a square baking tin with vegan butter.
2: Whisk together the two sugars and the softened vegan butter.
3: Add the other dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Combine.
4: Next, fold in the wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms.
5: Spoon the cake batter into the greased cake tin. Bake until the cake is golden brown.
6: Let the cake cool.
7: Portion the cakes and poke holes into them.
8: Pour the tres leches milk mixture into the cakes so that it can absorb.
Chill the cake in the fridge overnight - The recipe calls for the tres leches cake to be inside the fridge for a minimum of two hours after the milks have been poured in. The longer you leave the milk mixture to soak into the cake, the better that it will taste.
Don't over-mix the cake batter - As this is a vegan milk cake, you want the texture to be as light and fluffy as possible. If the cake is dense, the vegan milk mixture won't soak through as well and ultimately won't taste as appetizing.
Tres leches cake isn't usually vegan. It translates to 'three milks' traditionally consists of milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk which are soaked into sponge cake. It is also usually topped with whipped cream too. My vegan version is just as good as its dairy counterpart.
This is a sign that your cake batter was over-mixed. Dense, heavy cakes tend to be very non-absorbent. If your cake hasn't turned out to be as light as you wanted, make sure that you poke a few extra holes into it.
As this cake is filled with soaked plant milk, you can't freeze it effectively but you can store it inside the fridge for up to four days. Alternatively, you can freeze the cakes after baking and pour the milk mixture onto it a few days later.
More Vegan Cake Recipes
If you tried this Vegan Tres Leches Cake Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Easy Vegan Tres Leches Cake
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 g vegan butter softened
- 200 g all-purpose flour sifted
- 1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 0.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 0.25 teaspoon baking soda
- 0.5 teaspoon salt
- 110 ml soy milk
- 30 ml canola oil
Vegan Milk Mixture:
- 180 ml coconut milk full fat
- 250 ml vegan condensed milk* see notes
- 100 ml soy milk
- Vegan whipped cream* to taste, see notes
- Ground cinnamon to taste
- Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius (356F).
- Line a 9.5” (24cm) square baking tin with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the cake batter:
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the light brown sugar, the granulated sugar, vanilla extract and the vegan butter until fully combined.
- Fold in the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and the salt.
- Next, pour in the soy milk and the canola oil. Fold again until a smooth batter forms.
- Pour the cake into the prepared tin.
Bake the cake:
- Bake the cake in the oven for 20 minutes. It should be golden brown, and a skewer should come out clean. If you are making my vegan condensed milk recipe, do this now. If you have a store-bought variation, skip this.
- Let the cake cool for 15 minutes. While you wait, prepare the milk mixture.
Make the dairy-free milk mixture:
- Add the coconut milk to a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 45 seconds so that all the hard parts have melted.
- Mix in the condensed milk and the soy milk. Whisk to combine.
Pour on the milk mixture:
- Use a skewer or a fork to poke holes all over the sheet cake. Pour the vegan milk mixture over the entire cake so that it is all covered.
- Place the cake into the fridge for at least 2 hours but I recommend overnight.
Serving the cake:
- Remove the tres leches cake from the fridge. Use store bought vegan whipped cream or my vegan coconut whipped cream as the topping for this cake. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top and enjoy.
- The recipe calls for the tres leches cake to be inside the fridge for a minimum of two hours after the milks have been poured in. The longer you leave the milk mixture to soak into the cake, the better that it will taste.
- As this is a vegan milk cake, you want the texture to be as light and fluffy as possible. If the cake is dense, the vegan milk mixture won't soak through as well and ultimately won't taste as appetizing.
- You can either buy store-bought vegan condensed milk and whipped cream or make my recipes which are above.