• Barth Bakery

Gluten-free Coconut Caramel Tres Leches Cake

Updated: Mar 17

Coconut and caramel are the perfect additions to an already amazing tres leches cake. This luscious sticky-sweet milk laden dessert laced with coconut will melt in your mouth with every bite. A dense, moist sponge cake is soaked with a mixture of cream, coconut milk, evaporated milk, and dulce de leche, then layered with a delicate coconut whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut. You won’t get enough of the flavors in this little piece of heaven.

I soaked the cake layers in pie plates overnight.

A regular (non-gluten-free) version can be made using regular all-purpose flour in place of the gluten-free all-purpose flour at a ratio of 1:1.


Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp coconut extract

  • 2¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 5 large eggs

Caramel Tres Leches

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk

  • ½ cup evaporated milk

  • 7 oz dulce de leche (or caramel sauce)

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

  • ½ cup cream of coconut

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  • 1½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


Sponge Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and coconut extract.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Add the butter to the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the mixture is crumbly, about 3 minutes.

  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the milk mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes until smooth. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed until incorporated.

  6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops of the batter with an offset spatula. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

  7. Let the cakes cool for another 15 minutes. Place each cake on a plate or in a pie pan, and use a fork to pierce all over so that the cakes are covered in holes.

Caramel Tres Leches

  1. In a large liquid measuring glass, whisk together the heavy cream, coconut milk, evaporated milk, and dulce de leche. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir.

  2. Pour half of the mixture over each cake and use a spatula to work the liquid into the holes. Let soak for about 15 minutes, then cover each cake in foil and refrigerate overnight.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. In the bowl of a handled electric mixer, combine the heavy cream, cream of coconut, and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture starts to thicken.

  2. Add in the confectioner’s sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Toasted Coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. Spread the coconut evenly onto the baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown, stirring and re-spreading every 5 minutes, for a total of 15-20 minutes.