Paleo Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake

A Tres Leches cake your Nana would be proud of.

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by Angela Gallardo in Desserts, Recipes

In preparation for Cinco de Mayo, I’ve been dreaming of Mexican desserts.  One of my indulgences while living in Honduras included stopping by the local bakeries after the bus dropped us off from a long day of teaching. And the dessert I ordered most, hands down, was tres leches cake. If you’re not familiar, it’s typically a spongey vanilla cake which is soaked in a milk glaze and topped with whipped cream. So with as much as I love this dessert, I needed to find a way to lighten it up. I took my standby basic coconut flour cake and made it mas mejor (much better).

The cake is made solely with coconut flour in place of all-purpose flour. The “milk bath” is done instead with coconut milk. And it’s topped with a dairy-free coconut whipped cream. Airy, moist and slightly sweet coconut flavor accenuated by fresh lime zest and juice. We joked about sharing the cake half and half and we probably could’ve done it and not had that full, sickly feeling you get when eating heavy, rich cakes. Dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and no processed sugars.

tres leches

tres leches

tres leches

Paleo Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake

The Cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c. coconut water (see instructions)
  • 1/2 c. raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil, plus some for greasing the pan
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 c. dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Coconut Milk Glaze:

  • 1/2 c. coconut water, approx (see instructions)
  • 1 tsp. raw honey

Coconut Whipped Cream:

  • 1 c. coconut cream, approx (see instructions)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin coconut oil, warmed
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Open 2 cans chilled full-fat coconut milk. Carefully remove the coconut cream from the top of each can and place in a small mixing bowl. (Avoid removing the thinner coconut water in the bottom–set this aside for later use.)  To the coconut cream, add 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, 1 tsp. raw honey, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.  Whisk well to mix the coconut oil in.  Place the mixing bowl in the fridge until the cake is ready to be served.
  2. Preheat the oven for 350F. Fit a stand mixer with paddle attachment and combine eggs, 1 c. reserved coconut water, honey, coconut oil, juice/zest of the lime, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed to combine and turn mixer to medium speed and mix till light and fluffy, about 60 seconds. Sift in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, just to combine.
  3. Pour the batter into an 8-in springform pan greased with extra-virgin coconut oil.  Bake for 40 min or until cake is set in the middle but appears springy.  While the cake is baking, make the Coconut Milk Glaze by mixing 1/2 coconut water from set aside cans and 1 tsp. raw honey.  Once the cake has cooked, remove from the oven and pour the Coconut Milk Glaze over top.  Set on a cooling rack and allow to let the glaze seep in and cool, about 1 hour.
  4. To assemble:  Make the Coconut Whipped Cream by removing the cream mix from the fridge and beating with wire beaters until light and fluffy, about 2 min.  Remove the springform frame from the pan and top with Coconut Whipped Cream and dried coconut flakes, as desired.  Best enjoyed immediately.

tres leches

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