Tres Leche Cupcakes


Tres Leche Cupcakes

Tres leche cupcakes are a playful variant of the traditional white sponge cake soaked in milks. These are inspired by the Santarepa Cafe, perfect for individual servings and a lot of fun to make.

There is one major side effect to these wonderful desserts however, they are really hard on the waistline. Don’t make a batch without enlisting the help of family, friends and neighbors to eat them, or suffer the consequences.


Ownership of this iconic confection is claimed by many Latin American nations and Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela are at the forefront. Tres leche cake was virtually unknown until the widespread acceptance of canned milk products in the 40’s and recipes weren’t found until the 70’s. Researchers surmise this may have medieval roots beginning with trifle cake, but there is no definitive answer.

Tres Leche Cupcakes

This recipe is the result of many test batches. Balancing density and flavor with the milks was more challenging than I expected. We tested recipes with and without butter, used only egg white meringue or baking powder to achieve the right density. We varied the type and quantity of flavoring extract. Finally we tested whipped topping techniques to gain a longer shelf life in the refrigerator. We even tested a boxed cake mix, but found a scratch recipe much more satisfying. Hey, if you’re in a hurry or feeling a little lazy, use that boxed mix and the world won’t come to an end!

I believe you will enjoy this recipe, because the taste is heavenly and well worth the effort of scratch baking.

  • Author: TJ



Cake Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 13/4 cups sugar
  • 13/4 cups AP flour
  • 5 extra large egg whites – room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 21/2 double-acting baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz whole milk
  • 2 oz vegetable oil
  • Large aluminum cupcake tins

Tres Leche Milk

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cans (24 oz) evaporated milk

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 3/4 oz instant vanilla pudding – optional for stabilized whipped cream
  • Candy sprinkles – garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 335
  2. Whisk together the milk, both extracts, vegetable oil and set aside
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside
  4. Separate the egg whites. Save the yolks for another use or discard them
  5. Cream the butter on high speed using a paddle attachment for about 3o seconds, then lower the speed to low and add the sugar creaming butter and sugar
  6. Beat on high until fully combined and light white about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula once or twice
  7. Reduce speed to low and add 1 egg white at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next
  8. Continue beating on low and add 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 the liquids
  9. Repeat adding another third of the flour mix and the rest of the liquids
  10. Finish adding the remaining flour mix and mix until it is all fully combined. Stop immediately when all the dry ingredients are wet and the batter is smooth. Do not overmix tres leche cake batter
  11. Spoon the batter into the cupcake molds filling them halfway and place them in the oven on a cookie sheet
  12. Bake for 22-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove and set on a rack to cool baked cakes
  13. While the cupcakes are baking, make your tres leche milk mixture
  14. When the cupcakes are cool, poke holes in them with a toothpick or the tines of a fork to help the milks penetrate the cake
  15. If your cakes have risen over the edges of the tin cut them off to leave room for the milks
  16. Pour the milks over the cakes and fill to the top of the rims. Let it set until the milk is absorbed trimmed cake soaking cake
  17. Repeat with more milk until the cakes are saturated
  18. Refrigerate and let set for a minimum of 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight to give the milk time to totally saturate all the cupcake


Tres Leche Milk

  1. Whisk together the three milks in a bowl with a pouring spout and refrigerate until ready to use

Whipped Cream Topping

piping bag

  1. Freeze your mixing bowl and whisk attachment to whip faster and with more volume
  2. Pre-mix the powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix
  3. Whip the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form
  4. Add the sugar mix and vanilla extract and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form
  5. Scoop the topping into a disposable piping bag fitted with a large star tip to decorate the cupcakes.
  6. Garnish with sprinkles

tres leche gold sprinkles colored sprinkles