This past weekend we had some friends over for a Latin fiesta of sorts. We had a taco/burrito bar with all kinds of fixings, multiple pitchers of sangria, and my friend Coco’s amazing salsas. I’ll have to ask her to do a guest post on them sometime—they are the best salsas you will ever taste!
For dessert, I made a Tres Leches cake. Tres Leches is Spanish for “three milks” and is traditionally made with regular dairy milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The milks are mixed together and poured over the cake, which absorbs the milks and becomes moist to the point of falling apart—it’s almost as soft as pudding. If that weren’t enough, it’s then frosted with whipped cream.
While it was a bit more laborious than a plain cake, it wasn’t hard, and it was fun to tackle such a challenge—I made my own condensed and evaporated milks. Traditionally the Tres Leches is made with a sponge cake. I’ve seen a few vegan sponge cake recipes online, but they had mixed reviews. I’d like to experiment with them at some point, but for our party this weekend I went with a sure thing—Chloe Coscarelli’s Coconut Cake. It was a bit denser than a traditional Tres Leches (her cake is not meant to be used a sponge cake), but so delicious and packed with coconut flavor.
If you’re a coconut lover, you’ve got to try this one for your next party! It was a hit with all of my friends, and I got to snack on the leftovers all week (yikes!).
Quick side note: I’m heading off for my sister’s college graduation this weekend and then continuing on for a family vacation in southern California for the rest of the week. I won’t be doing any recipe posts but I will be posting on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not already following me on one of them, you might want to check it out! And if you have any recommendations for family and vegan friendly restaurants, leave a comment and let me know!
Tres Leches Cake
*Note: You need to let it sit overnight, so plan your time wisely! And don’t be intimidated by the number of steps—they are all really easy!
Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can of full fat coconut milk, well mixed
¼ c sugar
Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add sugar. Allow to simmer on low until sugar is dissolved and it has reduced by half, about 30-45 minutes.
1 ½ c almond milk
Heat almond milk in a small saucepan until it reduces by half, about 30 minutes.
Tres Leche Milk Mix
Evaporated milk (from above)
Sweetened Condensed Milk (from above)
½ c sweetened vanilla hemp milk (or other non dairy milk)
Miz the three milks together. Reserve until the cake is cool.
Coconut Whipped Cream (for pictures, go to this post on Coconut Whipped Cream)
1 can of full fat coconut cream/milk (I like Trader Joe’s), refrigerated overnight
1/3 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight (pay attention to your can…some specify which end to open….put the end you will open facing up). Once chilled, carefully remove can without shaking it. Open the can and scoop the hardened coconut cream off the top, being careful to leave the thinner, more watery coconut milk in the can (you will use this in the awesome smoothie that you will now make tomorrow morning!). Put the coconut cream into your mixer and begin to whip, slowly raising the speed to the highest setting. The cream will quickly start to thicken.
Once it is starting to thicken, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip it a few minutes longer. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Coconut Cake (slightly adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 c sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 c non-dairy milk
1 c coconut oil + more for greasing pan
¼ c apple cider vinegar
2 T vanilla extract
1 c shredded coconut
¼ c coconut and dash of cinnamon, toasted for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×12” pan with coconut oil.
* Note: this is the pan you will be serving the cake in, so if you have a “fancier” pan, use it!
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, microwave non dairy milk and coconut oil until oil is melted. Add vinegar and vanilla extract and mix together. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in coconut.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cake cool completely.
Once cool, use a skewer or a fork and poke holes all over the cake. Pour the three milks that you mixed together over the cake, a little bit at a time. Let it absorb between each addition. If you can’t get it all in that’s ok, just pour a little bit more than you think really fits! Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, spread the whipped cream over the cake. Sprinkle with toasted cinnamon coconut. Keep refrigerated until time to serve. Enjoy!