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Gluten-free chocolate tres leches cake

Turn up the flavor on the traditional tres leches cake with this gluten-free chocolate version topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

gluten free chocolate tres leches cake

Soaked in three (tres) types of milk (milk, buttermilk and sweetened condensed milk), aptly-named tres leches cake really might just have been good enough on its own — especially if you serve it topped with fresh whipped cream. Never one to leave well enough alone, especially when it comes to dessert, I took the liberty of adding both melted chocolate and rich, Dutch-processed cocoa powder to the cake itself, and even some more cocoa powder to the three milks mixture poured over this fabulous chocolate cake. You’ll be amazed by how much of that rich chocolate milk one little cake can soak up.

This recipe doesn’t make a very thick cake, as it is rich enough that a thick slice, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, would be going too far. Even for me. But if you’re serving for a crowd, the recipe can easily be doubled, straight across the board. Either bake it in two cake pans, or in one large pan, and bake for closer to 20 minutes. Be sure to take it out as soon as a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and leave out the xanthan gum in this recipe. It makes for a tough cake, instead of the chocolaty, buttery richness we deserve. ¡Olé!

Gluten-free chocolate tres leches cake recipe

Serves 8


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 7 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour, without xanthan gum (use your favorite, or my go-to blend: 9 tablespoons superfine brown or white rice flour plus 4-1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch plus 2-1/2 tablespoons potato starch)
  • 4 fluid ounces sweetened condensed milk, room temperature
  • 4 fluid ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 fluid ounces milk (2% or whole)
  • 8 fluid ounces heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • Chocolate shavings, for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set the pan aside.
  2. Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a small, microwave safe bowl and microwave at 70-percent power for 40 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Set the bowl aside to cool briefly.
  3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), place the confectioners’ sugar, 5 tablespoons of the cocoa powder (reserve the other 2 tablespoons) and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the cooled melted chocolate and butter, and the vanilla, and mix on medium-high speed with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer until well-combined. Add the eggs, and mix again on high speed until smooth. Add the flour blend, and mix on medium speed until just combined. The batter will be light and airy. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula.
  4. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (about 17 minutes). As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke 8 to 10 holes evenly spaced throughout the surface of the cake. Set aside to cool briefly.
  5. Pour the sweetend condensed milk, buttermilk and plain milk in a measuring cup (or other container) with a pour spout, and whisk to combine well. Sift the remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder into the 3-milk mixture and whisk to combine well. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the top of the still-warm cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the milks are completely absorbed into the cake (at least 2 hours, or up to overnight). Pour off any remaining milk that did not fully absorb into the cake.
  6. Before serving, whip the heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer) until soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream on top of each slice of cake and sprinkle with chocolate shavings right before serving.

gluten free chocolate tres leches cake

More gluten-free recipes

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Gluten-free sour cream cheddar cheese muffins
Gluten-free soft frosted sugar cookies

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