This iconic Hispanic dessert is typically made with three types of milk (evaporated, condensed and whole milk). Making this dairy-free turned out to be easier than I thought and I actually like it better than the original. By using coconut milk, cream of coconut and almond milk I was able to add a lot more flavor than you typically see in this dessert.
Although you may be tempted to eat this cake the same day you make it, you really need to let it sit overnight in the refrigerator in order for the three milks to fully absorb into the cake. If you don't you'll end up with the outside edges of the cake very soggy while the interior is still dry. Trust me, it's worth the wait.
6 3/4 ounces cake flour (approx. 11/3 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
8 ounces sugar (1 cup)
5 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-fat coconut milk
11/4 cup regular or vanilla-flavored almond milk
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1 (8-ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping
1 tablespoon amaretto or vanilla extract
Garnish: ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan and set aside.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Place shortening into bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.
Whisk together the coconut milk, almond milk and cream of coconut. Pour over the cake, cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Stir together whipped topping and amaretto and spread evenly over cake. Garnish with ground cinnamon, if desired.
Note: For testing purposes only, I used Coco Lopez for the cream of coconut.
Developed from Alton Brown's Tres Leches cake.