Tres leches cupcakes

Tres leches cupcakes |

Tres leches literally translates to three milks. The cupcakes (traditionally, a whole cake) are baked then soaked in a mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream. Can you imagine the rich velvety texture? The incredible aroma? The surprising thing is how the cupcakes do not crumble or get soggy after all that soaking. Speedy and the girls loved these tres leches cupcakes. There was a huge to-do after the last piece was gone from the fridge and both girls were complaining about how they were only able to eat so few pieces. And I baked a total of 18 cupcakes.

Tres leches is said to be popular in many Latin American countries. Its origin is attributed to Mexico, a claim disputed by Nicaragua. Wherever it originated, it’s enough to know that it is absolutely delicious. The cupcakes are easy enough to make, the soaking part is a bit messy though. But that may be because it’s my first attempt at making tres leches. Perhaps, next time, I won’t spill so much milk on the kitchen island.

Based on a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.


  1. 6 large eggs, separated
    1/4 tsp. of baking soda
    1/4 tsp. of salt
    1 c. of white sugar
    1/2 c. (or one half of a 225 g. block) of butter, melted and cooled
    1 c. of all-purpose flour
    3/4 c. of evaporated milk
    1/2 c. of cream
    3/4 c. of sweetened condensed milk
    whipped cream and ground cinnamon, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 325oF.Line muffin pans with waxed paper cups (available in baking supply stores).

    Sift the flour.

    With an electric mixer, over medium speed, beat the egg whites, baking soda and salt until soft peaks form (see stages in beating egg whites).

    Lower the speed of the mixer and add the egg yolks and sugar. Continue mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds.

    Add the butter, folding it in (I used a spatula). Then, mix in the flour in three or four batches, mixing by hand (carefully, so as not to break the precious air bubbles that will add volume to the cupcakes) until the mixture is well blended.

    Pour the batter into the paper-lined muffin pans, filling them only a little halfway through. The cupcakes will rise tremendously during baking, trust me, and you don’t want the baked cupcakes to reach the brim of the paper cups for reasons that I will explain later.

    Bake the cupcakes in a preheated 325oF oven for 25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, stir together the three milks.


    So now you have your baked cupcakes. Like I said, I baked a total of 18 but I think it would have been better if I had spread the batter over 24 molds so that the risen and baked cupcakes didn’t reach the brim. Some of them did and it made the brushing with milk part a bit difficult.

    While the cupcakes are warm, poke holes in them all the way to the bottom. Several holes per cupcake, about a dozen to a dozen and a half. I used a wooden toothpick at first, it didn’t work (the holes were too small) so I got a bamboo skewer (barbecue stick) and used that instead.

    Get your three milk mixture and brush it little by little on the tops of the cupcakes. Wait for the cupcakes to absorb the milk before brushing again.

    This is the part that takes a little time and a lot of patience.

    Patience has never been one of my virtues and I started POURING the milk mixture into the cupcakes. And pools formed around them. I was so convinced that I ruined everything. So I decided that before wasting any more time, and cupcakes, I might as well see first if what I had so far was edible. I took one cupcake — see the empty hole?


    It was so delicious, I finished the it in less than three minutes. I was also very hungry. Stress makes me hungry. And I was stressed out because I was staring too much at the spilled milk all over the top of the kitchen island that I knew I’d have to clean up.

    So continued pouring the milk, little by little, until the cupcakes looked swollen and wouldn’t take any more liquid. That’s when I stopped and let the cupcakes cool. Everyone arrived, saw them, wanted to know if they could be eaten already and I told them the cupcakes were supposed to be topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with ground cinnamon first. Sam volunteered to take care of the whipped cream, I let her, and below is the result.


    These are very rich and very tasty cupcakes. I’ve never really been a fan of sweetened condensed milk until lately. After baking these tres leches cupcakes and making Vietnamese iced coffee, I’m a convert.

    Next time, I’ll bake the cake version of tres leches. I’ll take photos of the preparation of the batter. Consider these cupcakes as a teaser. :)

Cooking time (duration): about an hour

Number of servings (yield): 18 to 24 cupcales


  1. LeiCerv says

    what’s with these tres leches goodies,PW has the cake version posted same day as your cupcakes…gotta try gotta try…bye diet hello more condensed milk.

    ms connie, i am an avid reader and i have tried some of your recipes. they all taste great!

      • Zynnie says

        I vowed never to make this cake again as I’ll just devour the whole cake :) great idea making them as cupcakes, but did they leak in the bottom or are they portable-friendly?

        Btw, I forget the site, but they made a chocolate version- choco cake base & choco chips melted in the cream mixture & choco whipped cream!

        • says

          I used waxed paper cups in one miffin pan; paper-lined foil cups for the other pan. No leaks except for what overflowed along the rims.

      • karen says

        i saw PW’s post, too! as if that’s not enough, my friend posted a picture of her tres leches cake on facebook account just a while ago.

  2. says

    Hi Miss Coney! Looks yummy! I do a variant of this too using gata (the canned one) and condensed milk (got it from a recipe actually haha, was planning to do tres leches but kulang sa evap, but may gata so I used it) tastes a bit different, para naman syang coconut cream cake. But I agree! kaka-test ng EQ yung pagwait until magsettle yung cream waaa! Will try your recipe using the three milk one of these days!

    BTW, may I ask Miss Coney what the frosting you used here is? Is it buttercream or the butter + confectioner’s sugar+ vanilla variety? Thank you!

    • says

      Whipped cream. It says right there in the list of ingredients. Says so in the text as well. And you’re spelling my name wrong. :)

    • layla baker says

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      • haidee says

        hi ms cons, naku fan ka na rin pala ng sweetened condensed milk. baka magustuhan mo na rin ang dulce de leche. i baked a dulce de leche cheesecake last week and it was so good. later i’m gonna make banofee pie. im going to try this recipe of tres leches next week, puro sugar na katawan ko hehehe.

        • says

          I tried making dulce de leche from sweetened condensed milk about two weeks ago. After more than an hour in the oven the milk was still too thin and light colored. Shocking really because we used to boil the milk in the unopened can a decade ago and get perfect caramel (see photo). I suppose the quality of local condensed milk has changed a lot since.

          • haidee says

            i made dulce de leche last week, i boiled 4 unopened cans of alaska condensed milk and slow simmered it for 3 hours ss stovetop(tagal ng paghihintay) but worth it naman ms. cons. sarap, grade 3 pa ako huling nakatikim nito hehehe). mas masarap talaga sya ms. cons kesa sa oven gawin, yung iba lang takot baka raw sumabog, basta wag lang mauubusan ng water, safe naman gawin at low fire lang talaga. my dad used to do this nung bata pa ako when i got sick, dapat sa akin matatamis lang we call it yema noon, palaman ko sa pandesal.later ko na lang nalaman na dulce de leche pala ang tawag dun and famous sa argentina. tama ka ms. cons, naiba naang quality ng mga condensed milk ngayon, dati saglit lang pakuluan, malagkit na agad. nakagawa tuloy ako ng banoffee pie at dulce de leche cheesecake. i wanna send you sana the recipe baka kako you might wanna try kasi it’s really masarap the dulce de leche cheesecake kaya lang po i don’t know your email address.

          • Lidia Herrera says

            Hello, your Tres Leches Cupcake looks beautiful and delicious!!! I’ll made them soon. Congrats!!!

          • LOURDES says

            Hi Connie

            I make my own version of the tres leche, to help the process along for me since I really don’t have enough time in my schedule to bake….I do use the box cakemix…you will need….1 box of the Classic white cake mix….follow the instructions on box…..for the mixture I use one can of sweet and condense milk…one can of the Goya cream of coconut and 1/4 cup of pineapple juice….After the cake is done…take out oven and use the bottom of a mixing spoon to poke the holes in the cake…the more holes the better it will absorb the milk mixture..once that is done pour the milk mixture evenly and put in the refrig for about 2hrs…For the topping just use cool whip and garnish with shredded coconut and pinapple slices if you desire….Omg it is so good…Everytime there is a function I am ask to make it…it is so moist, rich and creamy is awsome

          • Toni Holguin says

            Try putting a opened can of sweetened milk, with water up to about the middle of the can in a crock pot on low over night and the milk turns to dulce de leche. Nice caramel color and its delis!

  3. ingrid says

    hello ms. Connie! naku i will try this mukhang super yummy ito pero lagot ako kay hubby kc baka tumaas ang blood sugar ko. anyways, i saw a similar technique with Malva Pudding done by Art Smith. He poked the pudding while its hot then drowned it with sauce. He said it’ll keep the pudding sweet and moist. I can’t wait for you to experiment with the recipe as cake. More power ms. Connie.

  4. says

    i baked tres leches cupcakes this afternoon. and it ended up tasting like puto with milk sauce =D hahahaha i dunno if it’s supposed to taste like that or something just went wrong in my baking.

  5. Tess says

    Hi, Ms. are my inspiration!

    Can kind of cream did you use for this it heavy cream or nestle cream?

    Thanks and more great recipes to come!

      • princess says

        hi ms connie,

        how do you make the whipped cream? do you add sugar (how much) or you just whip the cream up?

        as for the cream that you mix with the the 2 other milk, it’s the same cream that i’ll use for the whipped cream only its liquid type right?

        pardon my ignorance on these subject.


        • says

          Some recipes require sugar to be added to whipped cream. Whipping is done with a wire whisk or an electric mixer.

          Yes, the cream you add to the two milks is cream in its original state.

          • princess says

            thanks! for the quick reply.

            im so excited to make try this but i dont have paper cups with me now (by the way, how do you wax paper cups? or are pre-waxed paper cups available in grocery stores?).

            what would be the effect if you dont place the cupcakes in paper cups or but only on non stick muffin pans? this is for trial and family consumption only. :)

          • says

            You buy them waxed. Not in the grocery but in baking supply stores like Living Well or Cooks Exchange.

            If you don’t mind serving them directly from the muffin pan, well, presentation is always secondary.

          • bridj says

            I have tried the Tres Leches cake when i attended a birthday of an El Salvadorian friend in California, that was my 1st time to eat such cake and it was really good.

            I want to try this at home tomorrow but I don”?t have whipped cream at home and don”?t have time to drop by the grocery. Would a chilled all purpose cream be a good substitute to a heavy cream?

            Thanks and more power :)

          • Macy says

            I’m thinking I’ll use syringe to transfer the milk mixture to the cupcakes. Less drips and you can equally distribute the amount of milk per cupcake kse meron measurement sa gilid. I don’t think I have the patience din to brush it. Hehehehehe.

          • haidee says

            you could use a squirt bottle to inject the milk mixture in the cupcakes, it way easier and not messy. =)

      • Maureen says

        I think they are asking if you use heavy/whipping cream or half-and-half, because that is what I was wondering.