*This Caramel-soaked Coconut Tres Leches layer cake is gluten & grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and paleo friendly.
I’ve always loved a good Tres Leches Cake but ditching the refined sugar and cutting back on gluten has pushed this sticky-sweet, milk laden dessert from my mind. A few months back I made a strawberries and cream cake that was totally gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free, LOVED it, and couldn’t help but think what a good base recipe it would make for a tres leches, seeing as it had such a creamy texture.
I finally got around to testing that theory and turned that cake recipe into this caramel soaked little piece of heaven. And OH, how it worked. So well. So very very well.
The cake layers themselves are made of almond and coconut flours, mixed with a lot of eggs and coconut milk, with honey to sweeten. What makes this cake special, however, is what it’s soaked in. Instead of the traditional mixture of sweetened condensed milk, cream, etc., I made a caramel sauce with coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, and a little honey. Those ingredients, cooked down into a syrupy golden puddle, make this cake suuuuper good. The cake is very simply frosted with a bit of sweetened coconut cream and then more liquid gold is drizzled over the top. Toast the coconut before placing on top of the cake, if you like!
*If you have a scale, weigh out the coconut flour instead of spooning it into a measuring cup (both measurements are given). Weighing out the coconut flour will give you more consistent results as different brands of coconut flour vary in heaviness.
*Make sure you let the cake batter sit for at least 5 minutes before spooning into cake pans – the coconut flour will continue to soak up liquid as it sits.
*Spooning the caramel sauce over the cake layers while they are warm will allow the sauce to soak in better.
*I prefer this cake chilled, but you could also let it come to room temperature before serving it, if you prefer.
Pictures continued below recipe…..
- 2 cups Almond Flour
- ⅓ cup Tapioca Starch
- 1 cup (or 2 ounces) Coconut Flour (use weight measure for best result)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 5 Large Eggs
- 1½ teaspoons Vanilla
- ⅔ cup Honey
- 1½ cups Coconut Milk
- ⅔ cup Coconut Oil, melted
- FOR THE CARAMEL:
- 1 can Coconut Milk
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 small can Coconut Cream
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- Coconut Flakes, to garnish
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease four 6" round baking pans with coconut oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper. You can also bake the cakes in two different batches if you only have two 6" pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, honey, coconut milk, and coconut oil until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and well combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, tapping each pan once on the counter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (make the caramel sauce while cakes bake).
- Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and remove cakes from pans. poke holes all over the surface of each cake with a toothpick (this helps the caramel sink in).
- FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
- Place the coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, honey, and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to medium and let sauce simmer until it has thickened and reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or platter. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of caramel over the cake, letting it sink in. Place the next layer of cake on top of that layer and spoon caramel over it as well. Repeat with remaining cake layers until there is only about 3 tablespoons of caramel sauce left. Place cake in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- Place the coconut cream and honey in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Lightly frost the chilled cake with the coconut frosting.
- Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkle coconut flakes over the top. Serve at least slightly chilled.
More simple, showstopping cakes:
Strawberry Vanilla Almond Cream Layer Cake