Gluten-free Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Gluten-free Coconut Tres Leches Cake

I adore coconut. Since the time I was a little girl and I could get coconut slices on the street of Milan, I have always loved the nutty flavor and crunchy albeit still soft texture of fresh coconut. Though, I never baked with coconut before coming to the United States. And every time I see a recipe with coconut in it, I almost can taste it in anticipation.

As you probably know from previous posts, Tessa Huff is one of my favorite bloggers and bakers. She shared a recipe for a Coconut Tres Leches Cake that intrigued me for a couple of reasons. First of all, I never made a tres leches cake. Second, it had coconut in it, and third, it only called for egg whites, of which I had plenty – see all my lemon curd recipes.

Here is my gluten-free version.


Gluten-free Coconut Tres Leches Cake

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the coconut cake
  • 350 g 350 Simona’s Flour Mix – 2 1/4 cups

  • 2 teaspoons 2 baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 salt

  • 170 g 170 unsalted butter, softened – 3/4 cup

  • 300 g 300 granulated sugar – 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 teaspoons 2 vanilla extract

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 glycerin

  • 150 g 150 egg whites – the equivalent of 5 large egg whites

  • 240 g 240 full fat coconut milk – 1 cup

  • For the milk soak
  • 120 g 120 sweetened condensed milk – 1/2 cup

  • 80 g 80 evaporated milk – 1/3 cup

  • 80 g 80 full fat coconut milk – 1/3 cup

  • For the whipped cream
  • 480 g 480 heavy cream, chilled – 2 cups

  • 60 g 60 sweetened condensed milk – 1/4 cup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 coconut extract (optional)

  • as needed as needed toasted coconut flakes


  • For the coconut cake
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue mixing until the butter and sugar are creamed together. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla extract and glycerin, followed by the egg whites. Slowly pour in the whites to help the batter absorb all the liquid. If the batter curdles, add a couple teaspoons of the flour mixture to help bring it back together. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • In alternating batches, add in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the coconut milk, then the remaining dry – mixing on low in between. Mix until the batter is thoroughly combined.
  • Evenly distribute the batter in the pan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
  • Place the still warm cake on a plate with a slightly raised edge. Prick all over with a fork or a wooden skewer. While it is still warm, pour the milk soak (recipe to follow) over the top of the cake. Gently cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and let the cake completely cool while allowing the milk to soak in.
  • For the milk soak
  • While the baked cake is cooling on a wire rack, whisk together the three types of milk until combined.
  • For the whipped cream
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, begin whipping the chilled cream on medium speed. Once the cream begins to thicken slightly, and the condensed milk and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to mix until medium peaks. Add the coconut extract (if using) and mix until medium-firm peaks.
  • Use a gentle hand to fill and frost the chilled cakes with the whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut flakes, if desired. When you toast the flakes, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure to check them every few minutes, not to burn them. They should be ready within 10 minutes.

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