Tres Leches Cupcakes

“Tres Leches” translates to “Three Leches”.   Or, if you’re a stickler, “Three Milks”.   This is a simple, though a little time-consuming recipe to make, but it’s really worth it, and they are delicious.

Normally, when I make cupcakes I make mini cupcakes because I make a lot of different recipes and I want people to try everything.   In that instance, full-sized cupcakes tend to just be a little too much food for people, and they end up eating a bite or two and tossing the rest, or worse don’t even try them.

In the case of these cupcakes, though, we kind of have to go all in and make full-sized cupcakes – the smaller ones really won’t work nearly as well.   The problem is adding the actual tres leches part of the recipe to the cupcakes – you have to spoon it over the tops to get it to absorb and that’s a little more difficult (and a lot more work) to do when you have the small cupcakes.

So, full-sized cupcakes it is!   This is a fantastic recipe – I think you’ll like it.



·        1 ½ cups flour

·        ¼  t baking soda

·        ½ t baking powder

·        ½ t salt

·        ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        1 cup sugar

·        1 egg

·        1 cup buttermilk

·        2 t vanilla

Tres Leches (yeah, we’re gonna have three milks here)

·        1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

·        1can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

·        1 cup heavy whipping cream


·        1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

·        1/3 cup powdered sugar

·        1 t vanilla

·        Sweetened, shredded coconut (totally optional!  For this recipe I didn’t use it – and it definitely didn’t need it)


First we’ll make the cupcakes themselves.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set that aside.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and blend that until combined.  Next, add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix that until everything is well mixed.   Don’t go overboard here – just make sure everything is together, you don’t have to mix for a long time.

Go grab your bowl with dry ingredients, add them to the wet ingredients and mix, again until everything is just combined.

Line a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake liners.   If you have them you’re better off using foil ones rather than paper ones.  You’re going to be pouring liquid on top of these and the paper liners can get soggy.

Fill each of the cupcake liners about ¾ of the way up – giving them room to expand.

It looks like I used an old-time movie filter on this. I didn’t. I, um, just needed to clean the camera lens…

Bake them at 350 for 15-17 minutes and they’re golden brown.   Move them to a wire rack that has newspaper or wax paper underneath it (you’ll want it for easier cleanup later) and let them cool completely.

IMG_7759This is where, of course, I recommend you go get a cocktail.   You’ve still got a couple things to do and you need sustenance.

After the cupcakes are cool, take a skewer and poke a ton of holes in each.   Really go to town.   The goal is to provide places for liquid to fill in and soak into the cupcakes.



Now, you’re going to make the tres leches, and that’s super easy.   You can do this in a blender, or just in a bowl.   Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk and the whipping cream and mix until just blended.   Don’t mix too much!  You don’t want the cream to actually start whipping up – you just want the three ingredients combined.

Next, you’re going to slowly spoon the milk mixture over each of the cupcakes (this is why you have the newspaper underneath the wire rack – to catch the mess.  What happens here is that the milk will seep into the cupcakes through the holes you poked into them.   You don’t want to use TOO much milk per cupcake because they’ll get too soggy – you’re best off at two, maybe three tablespoons per (understanding that some will just pour over the edges).img_7765.jpg


IMG_7766One thing to note – you’re going to have milk mixture left over.   That’s because the condensed and evaporated milks don’t come in smaller sizes (at least not at my store), so you start off by making more than you need.   I’m not sure what the solution here is except to make more cupcakes or to halve the amount of each of the three ingredients.   The problem is then you’re stuck with half a can of condensed milk and half a can of evaporated milk and you’re not likely to use either.   If anyone out there has a good idea of what to do with the extra milk mix, I’d love to hear it.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  Now, you need to let the milk get absorbed by the cupcakes, so put them into an airtight container and stick them in the fridge for at least an hour.   Time for another cocktail.

When you’re ready to frost them, pour the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.   Plop a big spoonful onto each cupcake.


If you want – and it’s not necessary but it looks kinda nice…the colors all work together…you can sprinkle some toasted coconut on top of each cupcake.   To do this, take a cup of sweetened shredded coconut and spread it evenly across a cookie sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.   Bake it in the oven at 325 for three minutes.   After three minutes open the oven and mix the coconut up a bit and bake it for another three or four minutes.   It’s important here, though – watch the coconut.  Once it starts to brown it will go from brown to overcooked VERY quickly and you don’t want that.

After it’s a nice golden brown, take it out of the oven and let it cool, then sprinkle it on top of the cupcakes before serving.

But like I said…I didn’t do that…




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