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  • Writer's pictureDia Ramos

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Updated: May 14, 2023

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Cool Time: 2 hours- overnight

Total Time: at least 3 hours

Servings: 12-15 slices (1 9x13 cake)


Coconut Cake

  • 1 box of King Arthur’s Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 unsalted butter stick, softened

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil

  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut emulsion

  • 2/3 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measured OR whole milk

Milk Mixture

  • 12 oz can evaporated milk

  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/2 cup, coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup, cream of coconut

Whipped Topping & Additions

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted, optional

  • 1 pint strawberries, diced, optional


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan and then line with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper. This step may seem redundant however, this will help the cake to not stick to the bottom or sides of the cake. Make sure to have your oven preheated for at least 20 minutes before putting your cake inside to bake.

  2. Follow the directions on the back of the cake box. Add the coconut milk instead of the regular milk if you want a more coconut-intense flavor. I added whole milk to mine to balance the flavor. Add the coconut emulsion in when you add the milk. Mix until the batter is combined all the way.

  3. Evenly distribute the batter in your 9x13 pan. Do not tap your pan or shake it to get it to even out quicker. This will tap out the air in your cake whichever will make it more dense.

  4. Bake for about 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs on it. To get a moist gluten free cake, you want to have a few moist crumbs on the toothpick. Your cake will continue to bake as it is in the hot pan while cooling down completely, giving you the best texture. If you wait until the toothpick comes out clean, you might have a dryer cake. This may not affect too much since you will be adding your milk mixture to this, but if you decide to use this cake recipe for a plain coconut sheet cake, it will be too dry.

  5. Let the cake cool in pan for 30 minutes or until completely room temperature before pouring the milk mixture over on top.

For the milk mixture

  1. While you let the cake cool, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut and coconut milk in a small bowl.

  2. Once the cake has cooled completely, use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the cake. The more holes, the better the liquid is going to get soaked up by the cake. Make sure the holes are deep to make sure that the whole cake gets soaked with milk.

  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the top of the cake, making sure to pour the entire surface of the cake, including edges of the cake.

  4. Cover your pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the for for at least 3-4 hours. I like to let mine refrigerate overnight. The longer it soaks, the better the moisture will spread and soak into the cake itself.

For the whipped topping, add-ins & assembly

  1. Toast your shredded coconut on a sauté pan over medium heat until your coconut goes from white to a golden brown. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl and save until you are ready for the cake. You can do this in advance to save time.

  2. Wash your strawberries thoroughly in the sink. Taking a chef’s knife and dice your strawberries to what ever size you would like. I like mine to be smaller so I get a small chunk of strawberry in every bite of cake.

  3. 30 minutes before you want to serve the cake, start making your whipped cream topping.

  4. Using your wire whisk attachment on your stand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until it turns into a soft peak. This step might take a little bit but if you do it on the highest speed, it will whip air bubbles faster making your heavy whipping cream fluffier faster. Then add your powdered sugar and vanilla and whip on high speed until stiff peaks.

  5. Pull the cake out of the fridge, spread your whipped topping on top of the cake so that it covers the entire cake.

  6. Sprinkle the top with your toasted coconut shreds and diced strawberries. Slice and serve!

  7. Put back in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap for storage. Eat within 3 days for best results.

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1 Comment

Elizabeth Hanks
Elizabeth Hanks
May 15, 2023

WOW this cake is incredible. I eat gluten, but I opted to make this recipe gluten free because I know Dia's gf recipes are nothing short of delicious. This cake was no exception. I can't wait to make this again! Thank you for sharing!

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