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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake

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This healthy gluten free tres leches cake is a must-try, heavenly dessert! It’s topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit, and just melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. This sweet & delicious cake is a healthier grain-free take on traditional tres leches cake, but tastes just like the real thing!

Slice of healthy gluten free tres leches cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries, served on a white plate.

If you’ve never eaten tres leches, or three milk cake before, you’re missing out. It’s time to change that! You’ve got to try this gluten free tres leches cake that has all of the traditional texture and flavors.

Back in the day, milk cakes were known for being made with whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. They were AMAZING, but as you can imagine, they were completely packed with gluten and lots of refined sugar.

I wanted to develop a healthier tres leches cake so we could still enjoy it but without the guilt. The cake itself is fluffy and filled with sweet, rich flavors. It is then topped with a fresh whipped cream. One taste, and I am sure you will be in love with this incredible healthy dessert!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Healthy Tres Leches Cake

  • Lower Calorie: Tres leches is known as a decadent dessert, with one slice having about 350-400 calories. But one slice of our skinny tres leches cake has only about 260 calories, making it a healthier option.
  • Lower In Sugar: One slice of a traditional three milk cake has over 40 grams of sugar! But this gluten free healthy tres leches has only 13 grams of sugar for a big slice.
  • Healthy Fats: There are many healthy fats in this three-milk cake, like whole milk, coconut milk, condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream. In moderation, they are all good for you and taste great. 
  • Gluten-Free: If you eat gluten-free, then you will love being able to use this gluten free tres leches recipe as a go-to dessert. The combination of tapioca, coconut, and almond flour is perfect. 
  • Vitamins And Minerals: Coconut flour and almond flour offer some fantastic nutrients. Fiber, protein, iron, manganese, and vitamin E can all be found between the two flours. 
  • Kid-Friendly: Of course, kids will devour every crumb of this easy milk cake recipe. It’s fluffy and topped with cream and berries, so they are thrilled to have the opportunity to eat it. Not only will it taste great, but they will also get some nutrients from whatever fruit you add to the top. 

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🥘 Ingredients

These are some of the main ingredients in this gluten free tres leches cake recipe – you can find a full ingredient list in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients for healthy gluten free tres leches cake recipe on a white background.
  • Milk: This gluten free three milk cake recipe uses a 3 kinds of milk! We used a combination of whole milk, condensed milk, and coconut milk. If you want to reduce the fat but keep the same flavor, you can use 1% milk, fat-free condensed milk, and light coconut milk!
  • Flour: A combination of gluten-free flours – almond, coconut, and tapioca flour – ensures a light and fluffy consistency while still keeping this cake gluten-free. Alternatively you can use an all purpose gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill that has xanthan gum added.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses 1/2 cup sugar, but you can always cut it down to 1/4 cup to reduce the sugar further if you are okay with a less-sweet cake! That is a great way to make this a healthier tres leches cake!
  • Vanilla Extract & Salt: These both enhance the overall flavor of the cake!
  • Eggs: Use both the egg yolks and egg whites to make this cake extra fluffy and moist!
  • Heavy Cream: Whip up the best fluffy topping with heavy whipping cream.

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Milk: Replace the dairy milks with your favorite alternatives like almond milk, soy milk, or coconut cream for a dairy free tres leches cake! See the dietary adaptation section for a vegan option.
  • Sugar: Use coconut sugar, monk fruit, or your preferred sugar substitute.
  • Fruit: Use any type of fruit, from fresh berries to whichever fruits may be seasonal when you make the gluten-free tres leches cake.

🔪 How To Make Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake

Here’s how to make this easy gluten-free tres leches recipe. For more detailed instructions and nutrition facts, see the recipe card below.

For The Milk Cake

Mix Most Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, take all the dry ingredients except sugar and whisk until everything is well combined.

Dry ingredients for cake mixed in a bowl.

Prep Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and add the sugar. Whisk it until the egg starts to get frothy. Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture. Whisk until everything is combined. You can also use a hand mixer for this step.

Wet ingredients for three milk cake mixed in a bowl.

Mix Wet And Dry: Add in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk it gently until everything is evenly mixed into a smooth cake batter.

Cake batter being mixed in a mixing bowl.

Bake: Pour batter into a prepared 8×8 inch pan, lined and sprayed with cooking spray, and bake the cake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cake batter being added to an 8x8 baking dish before going into the oven.

Cool: Let the spongy cake cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes) in the cake pan. While the cake is cooling, make the topping mixture (see steps below).

Healthy three milk cake in a baking dish, fresh out of the oven.

For The Milk Topping

Warm Coconut Milk And Condensed Milk: Add the coconut milk and condensed milk into a small pot and place it over medium heat to form a sweet milk mixture. Warm it through, stirring continuously, for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Three types of milk cooking in a pot on the stove.

Pour Warmed Milks Over Top: Now, to the slightly cooled cake, poke holes using a skewer or a fork. Pour the coconut milk mixture all over the surface of the cake as evenly as you can. Refrigerate the cake for about 4-6 hours before serving.

Warmed milks poured over cake in a baking dish.

Prep Whipped Cream: Before serving, whip up the whipping cream with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form.

Whipped cream being whipped in a mixing bowl.

Add To Cake: Spread the homemade whipped cream evenly on top of the cake.

Whipped cream topping added to gluten free three milk cake in a baking dish.

Finish & Serve: Top the cake with slices of fresh fruit. Serve on a serving platter or individual plates.

Low calorie gf tres leches cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries in a baking dish.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Take your time. For the best results with this healthy tres leches cake recipe, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Additionally, be sure not to overmix. 
  • Avoid Sticking: You will want a prepared pan that is coated with oil or parchment paper. Be sure to grease the sides of the pan, as well.
  • Refrigerate. Don’t skip chilling the cake for 4-6 hours – the longer, the better. I know it’s a long time, but the cake is so amazing when it’s served cold. Plus, this gives the milk mixture time to really soak into the cake. You can even make it the day before and chill it overnight for even more moistness to make its way into the cake!
  • Change up the fruit. Use any kind of fruit that you like on top. We used strawberries, but you could add blueberries, raspberries, or anything else you enjoy. 
  • Add whipped cream last. Wait until right before serving to add the whipped cream to the cake so it’s nice and fluffy! Also, always wait until the cake cools before adding the topping.
  • Use the right temperature ingredients. Make sure you use room-temperature eggs and butter so that the wet ingredients mix well.

📖 Variations

While I love the flavors of the original, you easily create your own take on this cake. 

  • Chocolate: Use cocoa powder to create a chocolatey tender cake.
  • Spiced: Add warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a fall version of this healthy tres leches recipe.
  • Fruity: Use fruit-flavored extract in this healthy milk cake for a boost of fruity taste and vibrancy.
  • Coffee: Impart rich coffee flavor with the use of espresso powder or coffee extract. 

🍽 Serving Suggestions

You can serve this healthy take on the classic cake with any side or drink that you would typically serve with a vanilla or coconut-flavored cake. Here are a few ideas to pair with this delicious dessert:

Slice of healthy gluten free tres leches cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries, served on a white plate.

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

  • Vegan Option: For a gluten free vegan tres leches cake recipe, replace any dairy products with a vegan alternative and replace the egg with flax egg. While condensed milk desserts are so dreamy, I promise this will be equally delicious!
  • Low-Sugar Or Sugar Free: Reduce the amount of sugar in the cake for a less sweet, low sugar option. For a sugar free tres leches, replace the sugar with a natural sweetener option like date syrup, honey, vegan honey, monk fruit, or stevia.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • To Refrigerate: After the cake has cooled to room temperature and is frosted, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The frosting might deflate slightly in the fridge, but it will still taste great. In fact, the longer the milk has to soak into the moist cake, the better it will be. Sometimes it even tastes better the next day!
  • To Freeze: You can freeze milk cake, but you can only freeze the cake portion of the recipe (before soaking it in milk and frosting it). After the cake has cooled and before you add the hot milk + frosting to it, put it in an airtight container (or wrap with aluminum foil) and freeze it. It will last up to 2 months in the freezer. 
  • To Serve From Frozen: The day before you want to serve it, thaw it overnight in the fridge, and make the hot milk mixture + whipped topping and add it to the cake. Store the cake in the fridge overnight and serve the next day.

❓Recipe FAQs

WHAT’S A MILK CAKE?

A milk cake is any cake that incorporates a milk mixture poured on top of the cooked cake. While it is most popular to use 3 different types of milk, technically you can just use one type of milk.

IS TRES LECHES CAKE HEALTHY? 

Unfortunately no, it’s not! The traditional version of tres leches – or three milk cake – can be rich, high in sugar, and often uses white flour. But this recipe replaces some of the ingredients that are less healthy to make it a treat that can be enjoyed in moderation. If you have been looking for a gluten free Mexican dessert, give this a try!

​HOW MANY CALORIES IN TRES LECHES CAKE?

One slice of this cake has 235 calories, which makes it a low calorie tres leches cake in comparison to many other milk cake recipes.

IS TRES LECHES GLUTEN FREE?

With an authentic tres leches cake recipe, it’s not gluten free because regular all-purpose flour is used. Since the traditional dessert isn’t gluten-free friendly, so it is best to make a homemade, modified version! This almond flour tres leches cake is totally gluten free, and lightened up too!

WHY IS TRES LECHE SO GOOD? 

Tres leches cake is delicious because it is a moist and light sponge cake infused with the flavor and richness of the milks that absorb into the cake. Its light and fluffy whipped cream topping makes it texturally appealing, too. 

​DOES GLUTEN-FREE CAKE TASTE DIFFERENT?

It depends on the recipe you’re using! Some gluten free cakes may taste slightly different or have a slightly different texture than regular cake. If you don’t normally eat gluten-free, you may notice it more, but in general, gluten-free cakes will have a combination of multiple kinds of flour to achieve the same texture as a traditional cake.

This milk cake is just as delicious as a regular milk cake and is still fluffy and light. We tested this gf tres leches recipe using different proportions of flours so you can be sure the almond, coconut, and tapioca flour mixture will give you a remarkable dessert that is similar to regular cake!

Slice of healthy gluten free tres leches cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries, served on a white plate with a forkful taken out.

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

Slice of healthy gluten free tres leches cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries, served on a white plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake

This healthy gluten free tres leches cake is a must-try, heavenly dessert! It's topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit, and just melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. This sweet & delicious cake is a healthier grain-free take on traditional tres leches cake, but tastes just like the real thing!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Refrigeration Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 45 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 262kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Cake

For The Toppings

Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

For The Cake

  • In a bowl, take all the dry ingredients except sugar and whisk until everything is well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and add the sugar. Whisk it until the egg starts to get frothy.
  • Add the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract to the egg mixture. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixture and whisk it gently until everything is evenly mixed.
  • Pour this batter into a greased and lined 8×8 baking pan and bake the cake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes). While the cake is cooling, make the topping mixture (see steps below)

For The Toppings

  • Add the coconut milk and condensed milk into a small pot and place it over medium heat.
  • Warm it through, stirring continuously, for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Now, to the slightly cooled cake, poke a lot of holes using a skewer or a fork. Pour the warm milk mixture all over the cake as evenly as you can. Refrigerate the cake for about 4-6 hours before serving.
  • Before serving, whip up the whipping cream and spread it evenly on top of the cake and top it with slices of fresh fruit.

Notes

  • Take your time. For the best results with this healthy tres leches cake recipe, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Additionally, be sure not to overmix. 
  • Avoid Sticking: You will want a prepared pan that is coated with oil or parchment paper. Be sure to grease the sides of the pan, as well.
  • Refrigerate. Don’t skip chilling the cake for 4-6 hours – the longer, the better. I know it’s a long time, but the cake is so amazing when it’s served cold. Plus, this gives the milk mixture time to really soak into the cake. You can even make it the day before and chill it overnight for even more moistness to make its way into the cake!
  • Change up the fruit. Use any kind of fruit that you like on top. We used strawberries, but you could add blueberries, raspberries, or anything else you enjoy. 
  • Add whipped cream last. Wait until right before serving to add the whipped cream to the cake so it’s nice and fluffy! Also, always wait until the cake cools before adding the topping.
  • Use the right temperature ingredients. Make sure you use room-temperature eggs and butter so that the wet ingredients mix well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g

259 responses to “Healthy Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake”

  1. Hi Everyone! I just wanted to let you know that Nieka and Rachael won this giveaway!! Congrats to both of you! 🙂 Zespri will be contacting you soon to coordinate shipping your Coach purses – congrats again!!

  2. I JUST found your blog. I’ve been looking for healthy recipes for a while & subscribed by RSS feed. Everything looks delicious! I def want to try your tres leches cake!

    • Aw thank you so much Rachel! It’s so nice to meet you – can’t wait to hear how my recipes end up turning out for you!

  3. I am a subscriber via email (CharlieGurl57@aol.com)
    I follow you on Twitter (@Swtlilchick)
    I follow you on Facebook (Charlene Kuser)
    I would make the PAN-SEARED SALMON WITH KIWIFRUIT SALSA .Thanks for the great giveaway and
    the Coach purse is too cute.

  4. I am following on twitter as @wordromancer.

    I would make the cake recipe you posted above. I am actually anxious to try it- sounds delicious!

  5. Do all three (twitter is ilovetoclap).
    This recipe looks amazing: KIWIFRUIT STACKS WITH CINNAMON MASCARPONE
    I found a recipe years ago that combined kiwi with sliced star fruit. Yum!

  6. I would make Kiwi Fruit Salsa.

    “Mild onion, kiwi, banana and orange are spiced with a chopped pepper in this refreshing summer salsa. Try it with chips, or as a side to grilled meats and fish.” .

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