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, specifically tres leches cake.  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 – the dessert I ordered most, hands down, was tres leches.

If you’re not familiar, it’s traditionally a spongy vanilla cake which is soaked in a milk glaze and topped with whipped cream. 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).

This tres leches cake is made with coconut flour in place of all-purpose flour; the “milk bath” is done with coconut milk; and it’s topped with a dairy-free coconut whipped cream. Airy, moist and slightly sweet coconut flavor accentuated by fresh lime zest and juice. I’ve joked about sharing this version half and half  with my best friend 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 cup coconut water (see instructions)
  • 1/2 cup 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 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 TSP baking soda
  • 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/2 TSP sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Coconut Milk Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup coconut water, approx (see instructions)
  • 1 TSP raw honey

Coconut Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup 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 cream. 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 to 350F. Fit a stand mixer with paddle attachment and combine eggs, 1 cup reserved coconut water, honey, coconut oil, juice/zest of the lime, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed to combine; increase to medium speed and mix until 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-inch springform pan greased with extra-virgin coconut oil.  Bake for 40 minutes 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 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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