Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free Tres Leches

Tres Leches: Many people think this cake originated in Latin America, but did you know that it is actually dates back to the Medieval European Era?! It only became popular in Central and South America in later centuries. Tres Leches literally means three creams/milks. I had already “mastered” a gluten-free yellow sponge cake recipe, which is necessary to soak up the liquid without becoming soggy (see the recipe below, or the previous blog post entitled “Killer Yellow Cake,”) s0 I thought to myself…what’s next? Well, my husband’s birthday was coming up, and I thought, what can I do for him this year? We had been relocated to Atlanta from Orlando (away from his family and our friends,) for his job. I knew this first birthday of his may be rough, since for the previous seven years I threw him a party, or gathered his friends and family for a dinner. So this year I wanted to do something special for him, and he had already eaten quite a few of my “Killer Yellow Cakes” (since he’s my only taste tester.) So I decided to make him his favorite: Tres Leches. Now, I had no idea how to make a Tres Leches, but I was going to try (never give up, never surrender,) and sure enough, it worked!! Then it happened…the Celiac bug struck again, and I developed a Lactose intolerance (this is before I found the magic of the Lactase Enzyme pill, email me if you are unfamiliar and want information.) So for my birthday, I found ambition (but when do I not love a challenge?) My brother-in-law and our friends were coming in town to stay with us for Dragoncon, and I decided to make a gluten-free, dairy-free Tres Leches birthday cake for my birthday (and a friend of ours whose was the same week.) Now, don’t get scared…I am going to throw a curveball and let you in on a little secret: I found an absolutely delicious way to make this DAIRY-FREE!! You’ll be surprised how close it is to the real thing! Below you will find the base for my Yellow Cake Recipe, Traditional Tres Leches, and Dairy-free Tres Leches (They all use the same base Yellow Cake.) Now, I add cinnamon in my Tres Leches and whipped Icing/TruWhip; however, you can use whichever you prefer, or cut the cinnamon (if you have an allergy.) Please remember to comment below if you made any changes to the recipe, so we can try it your way! I’m always open to suggestions and new additions!

Ingredients for Standard Yellow Cake Base:
1 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Honey
5 Eggs
1 1/2 cups flour mixed
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Soften Butter and add to mixing bowl. Whisk in both White and Brown Sugars until smooth. Add Vanilla and Honey and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add Eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly, until well incorporated, before adding the next Egg.
  4. In separate bowl, add Flour, Xanthan gum, and baking powder, and incorporate.
  5. Add a few tbsps at a time to Sugar/Egg mixture, incorporating completely, before adding next tbsps (until all incorporated.)
  6. Spray 9×13 glass (preferably, or metal if no glass available) baking dish with non-stick spray and pour batter in. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula (or butter knife.) (I now “hit” the dish on the floor a few times to remove the air bubbles.)
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean (no crumbs on it.)
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Ingredients for Traditional Tres Leches:
*Standard Yellow Cake Base Ingredients
Milk mix:
1 can Sweet Condensed Milk 14oz
1 can Evaporated 12oz
2 cups Whole Milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Soften Butter and add to mixing bowl. Whisk in both White and Brown Sugars until smooth. Add Vanilla and Honey and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add Eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly, until well incorporated, before adding the next Egg.
  4. In separate bowl, add Flour, Xanthan gum, and baking powder, and incorporate.
  5. Add a few tbsps at a time to Sugar/Egg mixture, incorporating completely, before adding next tbsps (until all incorporated.)
  6. Spray 9×13 glass (preferably, or metal if no glass available) baking dish with non-stick spray and pour batter in. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula (or butter knife.) (I now “hit” the dish on the floor a few times to remove the air bubbles.)
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean (no crumbs on it.)
  8. Mix Can of Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk, and Whole Milk. Whisk together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. When Cake has completed cooking, cool for 30-60 mins.
  10. Pierce with fork all over top of cake (through to bottom,) then pour milk mixture over top of cake. Be sure to evenly distribute mixture. If more than an inch of liquid “pools” above cake, let it rest until it soaks in, then repeat with remaining mixture until complete.
  11. REFRIGERATE LEFTOVERS. GOOD FOR 3-4 DAYS.
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Whipped Icing Ingredients:
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4 cup White Sugar

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2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Mix Heavy Whipping Cream, Sugar, Vanilla, and Cinnamon on Low Speed until peaks form, and “frothy.” You’ll know it’s done, when it holds form, and can be spread as icing. MUST BE REFRIGERATED.

 

 

Ingredients for Dairy-Free Tres Leches:
*Standard Yellow Cake Base Ingredients
“Milk” mix:
1 can Coconut Milk 14oz
1 cup Lactaid 2% Milk
1 cup Italian Sweet Cream Creamer (Nestle Coffee-mate brand)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Soften Butter and add to mixing bowl. Whisk in both White and Brown Sugars until smooth. Add Vanilla and Honey and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add Eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly, until well incorporated, before adding the next Egg.
  4. In separate bowl, add Flour, Xanthan gum, and baking powder, and incorporate.
  5. Add a few tbsps at a time to Sugar/Egg mixture, incorporating completely, before adding next tbsps (until all incorporated.)
  6. Spray 9×13 glass (preferably, or metal if no glass available) baking dish with non-stick spray and pour batter in. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula (or butter knife.) (I now “hit” the dish on the floor a few times to remove the air bubbles.)
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean (no crumbs on it.)
  8. Mix Can of Coconut Milk, Lactaid, and Creamer. Whisk together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. When Cake has completed cooking, cool for 30-60 mins.
  10. Pierce with fork all over top of cake (through to bottom,) then pour milk mixture over top of cake. Be sure to evenly distribute mixture. If more than an inch of liquid “pools” above cake, let it rest until it soaks in, then repeat with remaining mixture until complete.
  11. Top with TruWhip, Dairy-Free whipped “icing,” then add cinnamon on top.
  12. REFRIGERATE LEFTOVERS. GOOD FOR 3-4 DAYS.

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