Gluten-Free Tres Leches Cake

If you know someone who is gluten-free, then you probably know all the pains that accompany a gluten-free lifestyle (including how difficult it is to find a decent cake that is gluten-free!). At a friend’s house the other week, I learned that it was going to be her little sister’s birthday soon and that she so dearly wanted a tres leches cake from Cafe Latte (a neighborhood bakery). Unfortunately, Cafe Latte’s tres leches cake wasn’t gluten-free. I jumped at the chance to bake her a birthday cake and try my hand at some gluten-free baking. I wanted to bake her the perfect birthday cake – exactly identical to Cafe Latte’s, but just gluten-free!


Well, ladies and gents, here is the final product taken by her wonderful father! He was so kind and wonderful to take some professional photos for me 🙂 While I never got to taste it, her family ended up loving it. The recipe is fairly simple and can be adapted to fit any sort of sponge cake that you may want to bake for your gluten-free friends (or just ALL your friends!). I stumbled upon this recipe from one of my favorite websites, Food 52 and I’ve adapted it for my own uses.


The key to light and fluffy sponge cake is to make sure your eggs are at room-temperature. Room-temperature eggs end up holding more air when you beat it, leading to a lighter and fluffier cake. I hope your adventures in gluten-free baking bring you as much joy as mind did!


TRES LECHES CAKE (SPONGE ADAPTED FROM EMIKO’S FOOD 52 RECIPE)
INGREDIENTSfor the Cake (makes two 8inch cake layers)

  • 150g (~1 cup) Potato starch
  • 150g (~2/3 cup) Sugar
  • 6 Eggs (at room temperature)

for the Tres leches syrup

  • 1 can Evaporated milk
  • 1 can Condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream

for the Whipped cream

  • 3 cups Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 cup Powdered sugar
  • Box of raspberries
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS for the Cake 

  1. Sift potato starch in a bowl and set aside
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and mix 1/3cup of the sugar in with the egg yolks
  3. Using an electric mixer, mix all 6 egg whites on low speed for 2 minutes, medium speed for 2 minutes and then add in the remaining sugar. Then beat on high until the peaks formed are stiff (check by taking the whisk off the mixer and inverting. If the point on the egg whites don’t droop or fold over, then stiff peaks have formed).
  4. Beat the yolks and the sugar together for about 10 minutes, or until the yolks are lightened in color and the mixture has become creamy
  5. Alternate folding in the potato starch and the egg whites into the egg yolks until you have a well-combined batter (do not over mix!)
  6. Pour batter into lined cake pans and bake at 350 ºF for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Invert and cool cakes

for the Tres leches syrup

  1. Mix together entire can of evaporated milk, entire can of condensed milk and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I find it is easiest pouring this all into a large water bottle and shaking well)
  2. Once cakes are cooled, divide syrup mixture evenly between cake layers and soak (the cakes will absorb more liquid than you think they will!)

for the whipped cream

  1. Mix heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer
  2. Beat until cream has reached your desired consistency (I usually beat it for about 4-5 minutes, or until cream is medium-stiff).
  3. When cake layers have soaked in all the syrup, assemble the cake layers and outline the edge of the cake in raspberries cut a big slice and enjoy!

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