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Classic Tres Leches Cupcakes

Tres leches cake works really well as cupcakes! I’ve taken a classic, traditional tres leches recipe and turned it into cupcakes perfect for parties and snacking!

Close up of a tres leches cupcake with a couple other cupcakes in the background

What are Tres Leches Cupcakes?

Tres leches cake is popular in Mexico and all across Latin America. It is translated as three milks cake as it is made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream (or whole milk).

Tres leches cupcakes are the cupcake version of that cake.

Tres leches cupcakes are airy, like angel food cupcakes (another one of my cake-to-cupcake transformations), as they are made by incorporating whipped egg whites.

Most tres leches cakes are made in a single layer topped with whipped cream or toasted marshmallow frosting. In my tres leches cupcakes, I switch up my cupcake frosting between both, but I’m showing it here with whipped cream frosting as it’s the easier option and totally delicious.

How to Make Tres Leches Cupcakes

A group of three tres leches cupcakes

Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Soft peaks just barely hold their shape. They fall over shortly after you lift the beater.

egg whites in soft peak phase

Then, add sugar to the egg whites and keep beating until stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are glossy and hold their shape when the beater is lifted.

A bowl of egg whites beaten to stiff peaks

Next, beat the egg yolks and sugar. As you beat them, they will double in volume and become a pale yellow color.

Beaten egg yolks in a mixing bowl

Add milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined.

I suggest using whole milk, but any milk will work here.

Adding dry ingredients to tres leches cake batter

Next, gently fold in the stiff egg whites. Do this by hand, not with a stand mixer, as the speed of the stand mixer can remove the air from the fluffy egg whites.

folding egg whites into tres leches cake batter

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. The recipe should yield 24 cupcakes if you are using standard sized liners.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Use a skewer or toothpick to poke lots of little holes in the cupcakes. These will help the cakes absorb the three milks.

Poking holes into tres leches cupcakes

Pour a mixture of heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk over the cupcakes. Pour just a little at a time onto each cupcake. Then, go back for a second pass after some of the liquid has been absorbed.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pouring three milks into tres leches cupcakes

Top with whipped cream (or use the fancy name, Chantilly cream) and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

Topping tres leches cupcakes with whipped cream

Best Tips for Making Tres Leches Cupcakes

  • You may have a little leftover liquid and that’s OK. Don’t try to use it all if it isn’t being absorbed.
  • The cupcakes may sink a little bit after being removed from the oven. This is normal. Don’t worry, you are topping them with whipped cream!
  • At first I thought that the liquid would soak through normal paper cupcake liners, but I found that the liners stayed totally dry. So, feel free to use whichever liners you prefer.

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Tres leches cupcakes
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5 from 3 votes

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Tres leches cupcakes are the cupcake version of tres leches cake. They're ever so moist and topped with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pressure coker desserts, pressure cooker cake, tres leches cake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24
Calories 104kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • 5 eggs separated
  • 1 cup sugar divided
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • whipped cream to taste, as frosting for the cupcakes
  • cinnamon to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whip egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar and continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • In another mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until pale yellow and doubled in volume.
  • Mix in milk, vanilla, cake flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed until fully combined.
  • Gently fold in beaten egg whites/sugar with a spatula.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Set cupcakes onto a cooling rack. Use a skewer or a toothpick to poke lots of holes in the cupcakes.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk.
  • Pour a little of the liquid over each cupcake making a small puddle on top of the cupcakes. Wait a few minutes for the liquid to absorb. Then, pour more liquid onto each cupcake. You may not use all of the liquid. 
  • Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator in a covered container overnight.
  • Pipe or spread whipped cream on top of the cupcakes and optionally dust with cinnamon.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Notes

  • You may have a little leftover liquid and that's OK. Don't try to use it all if it isn't being absorbed.
  • The cupcakes may sink a little bit after being removed from the oven. This is normal. Don't worry, you are topping them with whipped cream!
  • At first I thought that the liquid would soak through normal paper cupcake liners, but I found that the liners stayed totally dry. So, feel free to use whichever liners you prefer.
  •  

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Tres Leches Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 104 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 53mg2%
Potassium 89mg3%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 120IU2%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!
Love tres leches cakes? Try them on a cupcake too! This classic tres leches cupcake is perfect for dessert or snacks! Now, you don\'t only have a delicious cupcake but a pretty one too!
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15 comments on “Classic Tres Leches Cupcakes”

  1. Gracesays:

    i’m loco for tres leches. (that’s right, i took 4 semesters of spanish in high school…) these cupcakes are muy bonita. :)

  2. toontzsays:

    Yum! I so wish I could taste one of those right now!

  3. K.says:

    These look great – but I doubt even you could beat Dan’s Tres Leches cake! (Not that I’m biased or anything – but his was AMAZING!!)

    BTW- the strawberry cakes turned out pretty good once they rested for a few hours. At least they disappeared at the party! Guess I need to be more patient with myself. Darn pregnancy hormones!

  4. Marasays:

    i have never had a tres leches anything…so sad…esp considering my heritage is 1/2 mexican. i need to get on that!

  5. Nancysays:

    Thanks for my cupcakes. I loved the milkiness and moistness. Would have preferred less sweetness. As always, you’re my favorite cucake queen.

  6. Great flavor choice! Those look yummy!

  7. Great flavor choice! Those look yummy!

  8. Cakespysays:

    FANTASTIC!!! A triple threat of dairy deliciousness. Tres Leches is one of my newest obsessions. I feel as if it’s like flan in the respect that it’s hard to find a good one, but when you do, you become a believer. Wonderful! And maybe if I eat enough I’ll get my growth spurt and break the 5 foot mark? ;-)

  9. Deborahsays:

    I love tres leches cake – and in cupcake form I’m sure they are even better!

  10. Gigisays:

    Another awesome cake to cupcake conversion! I have never tried tres leches cake before. I’ll have to ask around and see if I can find a good place for a slice.

  11. Stefsays:

    Lismi – What an adorable idea! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Melissasays:

    Que Delicioso! (well delicioso sounding!!) Today I saw Tres Leches mix from Betty Crocker & thought of using this as a cupcake. But THIS sounds MUCHHH better!! Thanks!

  13. I made these last night for a birthday party. I had never had tres leches cake before but the birthday girl requested it in cupcake form. I’m not sure how my cupcakes stood up to the real deal but everyone said they were the best cupcakes they’ve ever had. Next time I make them I plan to use 6 eggs (they were a little eggy) and a little more of the “milk mixture.” I wanted them to be even more moist. The fluffy frosting was divine though!

  14. Thanks for a jumping off point! I made my own rendition of these cupcakes- a smaller batch, less eggs and a tad more milk. http://gabrielaskitchen.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/postres-tres-leches-cupcakes/

  15. 5 stars
    Tres leches is my numero uno favorito pastel on the planet (i probably butchered the spanish). I am looking for cupcake recipes for a bridal shower that are a little “special” and this is it! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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