Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Article first published as Chocolate Tres Leches Cake on Blogcritics.
So with fall upon us, I hesitated about baking this season. It's not so much that I can't really eat all the delicious gluten-laden treats I want to make, but rather I wondered if I could continue baking recipes that I would have made before I became gluten free, with a gluten free spin on them. I shouldn't let the lack of gluten stop me from enjoying myself in the kitchen, right?! Exactly. And with that, I got my baking groove on. I've been meaning to do a chocolate version of the traditional Mexican Tres Leches Cake and I finally did. This Chocolate Tres Leches Cake came out rich with a nice deep chocolate flavor, coupled with the creaminess of three milks that the cake absorbed. The best part? I made my cake and ate it too...

This cake is gluten free but you're welcome to use your favorite chocolate cake recipe instead. The key to this dish is the milky glaze made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and half & half. After your cake is done baking and slightly cooled, carefully pour the glaze over the cake until it absorbs it. It may seem like the cake is just swimming in the glaze but be patient - eventually the cake will absorb it. The recipe below notes the cake is baked in a 9x13 baking pan, but I made these individual cakes in a jumbo muffin pan to yield 6 mini cakes.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
recipe adapted from

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1 cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.

Sift the gluten free all purpose flour with the cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat until creamy.

Slowly add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar to the butter and whip until fluffy.

Add the eggs and the egg yolks one at a time, then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the cake is springy to the touch. Set aside to cool while you prepare the 'tres leches':

For the Glaze:
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

For the Topping:
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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