Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake is a spin on the Tres Leches Cake from Central America/Mexico which soaks a delicate sponge in condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. My version is gluten-free made with buckwheat flour and tastes just like a walnut latte in cake-form.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

I became 100% gluten-free eighteen months ago and pledged to convert all my recipes to gluten-free or remove them from the website. This is a huge work in progress, namely because I get distracted by new recipes and ingredient obsessions which take priority in my mind. Plus converting an original successful recipe to gluten-free takes a little bit of trial and error as I want the new and improved version to be just that – an improvement.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

This is where the Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake comes into play. I posted the wheat flour version of this recipe about three years ago, funnily enough, about this time in my last pregnancy. Due to feeling really rubbish in the final part of my third trimester back then I abruptly stopped posting new recipes here. Then Cole came along and I found it really hard to get back into the blog as I adjusted to motherhood so this Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake resided stubbornly at the top of my blog for about four months whilst I found a balance to posting again.

The problem was that the photos for the cake were absolutely terrible, along with a couple of other recipes posted around that time. I felt these were not a great representation of my site so I became ashamed of my blog and when my new friends wanted to see what I did before becoming a mummy I felt I had to apologise for my hard work. So this recipe, along with a couple of others, were removed from the site and languished on my to-do list to be re-posted at some point when I returned whole-heartedly to blogging. Then, as I said above, new recipes and obsessions took over, I became gluten-free so the original cake was no longer relevant and so this Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake lay dormant.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

Then last year I offered to bring along a cake to a weekend away with friends. I always offer since this is the ideal opportunity for me to recipe test and get a good range of feedback. Of course my friends are so nice they make all the requisite yummy noises despite how good or bad the cake is. Although I guess it’s cake and it’s homemade which can usually only be a good thing. Anyway, I decided it was time for my Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake to come out of retirement and I tweaked the recipe a little, making it gluten-free, and took it with me.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

It was a resounding hit and I was thrilled that I could be proud of this cake once more. This Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake had always been delicious but the gluten-free amendments took it to another level. I chose to use buckwheat flour due to its delicious wholegrain nutty flavour which pairs amazingly well with the earthy coffee and walnut notes. Buckwheat flour has a very assertive flavour but it stands up well to this intensely flavoured cake so absolutely shines here. I didn’t want to only use buckwheat flour as too much can be overwhelming so I paired it with white rice flour which doesn’t fight with the buckwheat and instead sits back happily whilst it’s friend reaps all the glory.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

The cake is a very simple coffee and walnut sponge which is made ultra special by giving it the tres leches treatment. The sponge is left to cool slightly after being removed from the oven and then soaked with a mixture of three milks, condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream which have been infused with cinnamon and cardamom. The cake is left overnight to really absorb all the flavour, take on a delightfully moist texture, and is then covered in a whipped coffee cream and sprinkled with caramelised walnuts.

It’s a complete treat of a cake and works well as a dessert due to its ‘soaked’ texture. I have made this cake a couple of ways and I like both, so which direction you take depends on how much you like the moistness of the cake. In my directions below I have instructed to soak the cake with the milks before cutting into squares. This means that although the cake takes on all the flavour of the milks, it isn’t as sodden in the middle, so if someone (I’m looking at my husband) isn’t a fan of the texture then he can have a piece taken from the middle of the cake. However, if you are like me and want the cake as moist as possible (since that’s the idea behind the cake anyway) then I suggest cutting the cake into squares before soaking and then slather on the whipped cream the next day onto the individual squares. Both ways are delicious but you have a choice should you require it.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

I am so happy to bring Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake back into play on the blog, I feel like it was definitely worth waiting for.

Print Recipe
Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}
Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake is a spin on the traditional South American Tres Leches Cake which soaks a delicate sponge in condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. My version is gluten-free made with buckwheat flour and tastes just like a walnut latte in cake-form.
Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
16 squares
Ingredients
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 100 g white rice flour
  • 75 g walnuts toasted then ground
  • 2 tablespoons coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tres Leches Soak
  • 200 g evaporated milk
  • 200 g condensed milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cardamom pod seeds removed and crushed
  • pinch of salt
Whipped Latte Cream:
  • ½ teaspoon coffee powder
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
Caramelised Walnuts:
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 30 g chopped walnuts
  • pinch of salt
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
16 squares
Ingredients
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 100 g white rice flour
  • 75 g walnuts toasted then ground
  • 2 tablespoons coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tres Leches Soak
  • 200 g evaporated milk
  • 200 g condensed milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cardamom pod seeds removed and crushed
  • pinch of salt
Whipped Latte Cream:
  • ½ teaspoon coffee powder
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
Caramelised Walnuts:
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 30 g chopped walnuts
  • pinch of salt
Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C then grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition then add the vanilla.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture and mix in until just combined.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the tin then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, turn out of the tin and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile prepare the soak by whisking the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream, cinnamon and cardamom seeds in a saucepan over medium heat until it is just warm. Remove from the heat.
  9. Place the cake in a dish with high sides, poke several holes into the cake with a cocktail stick then spoon the glaze over.
  10. Cover the dish with cling film then refrigerate overnight.
  11. Remove the cake from the fridge to take the chill off whilst you prepare the toppings.
  12. Begin with the caramelised walnuts by the placing the walnuts on a baking tray in an oven pre-heated to 180°C for 5 minutes until toasted. Remove and set aside.
  13. In a smallish saucepan pour the caster sugar evenly into one layer and heat over a medium heat. The sugar will slowly melt, beginning at the sides. Carefully shake the saucepan every so often so the sugar melts evenly, do not stir. As soon as all the sugar has melted drop in a pinch of salt.
  14. Prepare a baking sheet with baking parchment before pouring the walnuts into the molten sugar and stir in with a silicone spatula. Working quickly make sure all the walnuts are coated in sugar then tip onto the baking parchment, spreading out into an even layer. Leave to cool then chop finely.
  15. To make the whipped latte cream, whip the cream for a few minutes with the coffee powder and icing sugar until thick and cloudlike.
  16. Finally, carefully remove the cake from its dish, spread the whipped cream over, cut into 16 squares then sprinkle over the caramelised walnuts.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I have been using this MasterClass Non-Stick Deep Square Cake Tin with Loose Base, 20 cm (8″) for all my square cakes, brownies and bars for many years. It has a loose base so it’s really easy to remove cakes from and lovely high sides so is suitable for all kinds of recipes. It’s the tin I used in this recipe and I couldn’t recommend it more.

The buckwheat flour I have been using lately is Amisa Organic Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour, 400 g. I love the texture and flavour of it. It hasn’t been completely refined so still retains little black flecks of the buckwheat grain which improves its nutty flavour. It is also very easy to get hold of.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Walnut Dukkah

Walnut Dukkah is a delicious seed and nut mix, warm with black pepper and spices. Try it mixed with olive oil and used as a dip for bread or sprinkled over a myriad of dishes from roasted vegetables to baked fish to houmous.

close up of Walnut Dukkah

I have discovered this week that most meals are improved by a generous shaking of this walnut dukkah. On Wednesday, I sprinkled a conservative amount on my plantain for breakfast, then for lunch a tablespoon went over my chicken salad, but by dinner I threw nearly half the jar over my roasted butternut squash. This is how addicts are born.

The addictive quality I’m sure comes from the intense pepper heat. There is a good amount of smoky black pepper in here which, when sprinkled over whatever you fancy, softens a smidge, providing a comforting background to the savoury sesame seeds, the warmth of the spices and the earthy crunch of walnuts.

Walnut Dukkah in a pot

Dukkah is originally an Eygptian seed and nut mix, traditionally made with hazelnuts. It is most commonly used mixed with olive oil and then used as a dip for bread. As I described above though we should never restrict ourselves when we find a taste combination we love. Sprinkle it over everything, experiment with different nuts, add some fennel seeds or even add more black peppercorns if you are man enough. Then use it as a topping to houmous or whizz it up with olive oil for a rub for your barbecued meat. I am suddenly realising that this immediately needs to be stirred through buttered rice for a wonderfully aromatic accompaniment to Middle Eastern slow roasted lamb. Gosh, the possibilities are endless, the only limitations are our imaginations.

Close up of Walnut Dukkah

Print Recipe
Walnut Dukkah
Walnut Dukkah is a delicious seed and nut mix, warm with black pepper and spices. Try it mixed with olive oil and used as a dip for bread or sprinkled over a myriad of dishes from roasted vegetables to baked fish to houmous.
close up of Walnut Dukkah
Cuisine Eygptian
Keyword dip
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 75 g walnuts
  • 50 g sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Cuisine Eygptian
Keyword dip
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 75 g walnuts
  • 50 g sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
close up of Walnut Dukkah
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the walnuts from the oven and chop roughly then set aside.
  4. Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan and lightly toast for a couple of minutes on a low heat until aromatic.
  5. Pulse the seeds and peppercorn and the salt in a spice blender or with a pestle and mortar until relatively fine.
  6. Finally toast the sesame seeds in a small saucepan for a minute or so until some of them are just starting to turn a light gold.
  7. Put the sesame seeds, the walnuts and the spice mix in a clean jar and shake wildly until everything is evenly dispersed.
  8. The dukkah can keep for a couple of months in a cool cupboard.

Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday has completely coincided this year with my obsession with this Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancake recipe.  It is versatile, very healthy and produces quick but absolutely scrumptious pancakes.

Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes

This year is the first year I will actually be eating pancakes on pancake day and I’m very excited about it.  It always seems to fall on a day when I’m dieting.  This year is no exception but thanks to this recipe I am not letting that stop me.  Don’t be scared that I’ve labeled these paleo or skip over as you don’t follow the paleo plan, I would happily serve this to anyone happening to drop by and would make absolutely no apologies.

Mashed Banana

The simplicity of the recipe is that it only really relies on 2 ingredients, 1 egg and 1 banana, whatever else you throw in is up to you.  As they do not contain flour they are much lighter which also means you can quickly whip up a batch mid week without being weighed down all morning by a heavy breakfast.

I have just included the recipe below for 1 person as it’s a cinch to size up depending on how many you are feeding.   Make sure the banana is a couple of days old so it’s mashable and also more bananary.  I do like to add some sort of ground nut to the recipe but it’s by no means a requirement, it just adds a bit more flavour and texture.  Feel free to substitute the walnuts with almonds or pecans if you prefer.  You can also mix it up by adding blueberries into the batter or a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or a touch of lemon zest.  Go wild at the weekend and top with a heaping of crispy salty bacon drizzled with maple syrup.

Banana and Walnut Pancakes

With these little lovelies every day can be pancake day.

Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes

For 1 person

1 x banana
1 x egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ground walnuts
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp salted butter (optional)

  1. Peel and mash the banana then whisk it up with 1 egg.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and ground walnuts.
  3. Melt 1 tsp coconut oil in a frying pan. Ladle in the pancake batter, you should be able to get 3 pancakes from this batter, each about 40-50ml.
  4. Heat the pancake through on a gentle heat for 3 mins on the first side, then flip over and heat for 1½ mins on the other side.
  5. Serve anyway you want but I like them with a good knob of butter.