Hello! I hope you're all enjoying your weekend thus far, and had a chance to enjoy Cinco de Mayo yesterday. I'm excited to share with you the second cupcake recipe from our Cinco de Mayo cupcake sale: Tres Leches Cupcakes.
When the decision was made to hold a cupcake sale for Cinco de Mayo, I immediately knew that the Margarita Cupcakes were a must. However, I did not have the same sureness about the second recipe. In fact, I had NO idea what the second cupcake recipe would be. The only thing I knew was that either its flavor or appearance needed to be Mexican-inspired. I scoured the internet in search of a perfect cupcake to pair with the margarita flavored ones. I found tons of recipes for various chocolate-chili cupcakes, but that wasn't quite the direction I wanted to take. Finally, I stumbled across the gorgeous photos of Tres Leches Cupcakes from Bakers Royale. I immediately knew that this cupcake would be perfect, so I saved the recipe and never looked back.
I admit, I was pretty unfamiliar with the actual tres leches dessert, but after reading the recipe and its ingredients, I was sold. The buttermilk cake, infused with a trio of milks, was enough to make my mouth water. Evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut milk are injected into the cake, saturating it with their sweet flavors and creating a delicious, moist cupcake center. It's then topped with a silky, decadent dulce de leche Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, and sprinkled with grated chocolate.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with dulce de leche, it's basically sweetened condensed milk that has been cooked very slowly, resulting in a sweet, thick ingredient that is similar to caramel. Although I purchased my dulce de leche to save time, you can also make your own dulce de leche at home. There is a great tutorial on how to do this here, at Bakers Royale.
This cupcake has a perfect balance of flavors and components, which made it a HUGE hit our cupcake sale. The cake portion is sweet, yet light, so it pairs perfectly with the richer dulce de leche frosting. The grated chocolate on top also adds the right amount of simplistic, elegant decoration.
After our cupcake sale, I can honestly say that this recipe is a keeper. I loved the flavors of this cupcake, and it's so different from any other cupcake recipe I've made in the past. I think I ended up eating 3 this weekend. That's probably not the healthiest decision I've made, but these were so good it would be impossible for me to eat just one.
Tres Leches Cupcakes
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Yield: about 30 cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Bakers Royale
For the cupcake:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coconut milk
Chocolate for garnishing, if desired
For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup dulce de leche, at room temperature
For the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined and all the yellow disappears. Add the vanilla, mix to combine. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Alternately, add the dry mixture and buttermilk to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the dry mixture and being careful not to overmix.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold into cake batter.
Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and set aside.
Stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Using a plastic squeeze bottle (or meat injector), poke tip into center of cupcake and inject each cake with 1/2 to 3/4 ounce of the mixture, while cupcakes are still warm. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before frosting.
For the frosting:
Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring the mixture to 160 degrees F, whisking constantly.
Transfer mixture to a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until the mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks when the whisk is pulled up.
Add butter, one Tbsp at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Add dulce de leche and mix to combine.
Frost cooled cupcake with dulce de leche buttercream and dust tops with grated chocolate.
- Dulce de leche and coconut milk can both be found in a can, usually in the international foods aisle of most grocery stores.
- If you don't have a squeeze bottle or meat injector, you can also do the poke and drizzle method. Simply poke holes in the top of the cake and pour a tablespoon or so of the milk mixture over the cake and let it absorb. I avoided this method because I did not want my cupcakes to end up with a soggy surface, but I'm sure they would still be delicious.