Easy-to-Follow Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

Written by Chris –

Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

Tres Leches Cake is a sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. You can vary the creams. I like to use lite coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, but you could also use whole milk. Whipped cream is traditionally used as the topping.

In this new recipe, the traditional Latin Tres Leches cake is transformed into delicious cupcakes. I was looking through our cupcake collection on meals.com and couldn’t believe we didn’t have a tres leches cupcake. How could that be? I have a huge, HUGE crush on traditional tres leches cake, and I’ll be the first to admit that I always go back for seconds, or take a piece far too big. Or scrape off the top of the cake with a spoon.

Seeing that I obviously lack self control when it comes to tres leches cake, I thought that making cupcakes out of this Latin cake would provide guidance of what a serving size looks like. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Kidding aside, one sweet milk-filled cupcake will completely satisfy your cravings!

If you happen to be planning your Cinco de Mayo menu or thinking about a summer barbecue (not too far off!), this Tres Leches Cupcake recipe will make a great addition! They are perfect for bridal and baby showers, too!

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Ingredients for 32 cupcakes:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract



  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted (optional)


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Line cupcake tins with 32 paper or foil liners.

SIFT flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.

BEAT egg whites in large mixer bowl until soft peaks form. With mixer on, gradually beat in sugar. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately beat in flour mixture with milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in vanilla extract.

Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

SPOON batter into prepared cupcake tins, filling only 1/2 full (be sure to not overfill or the tres leches sauce will overflow).

BAKE for 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. While cupcakes are cooling, make tres leches sauce.


WHISK together all but 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (the 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk will be used in the topping to sweeten up the whipped cream), evaporated milk and coconut milk in a large glass measuring cup.

Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

POKE holes in the cupcakes using a wooden pick, skewer or fork, penetrating to the bottom of the liner (but don’t poke through it).

Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

SPOON tres leches sauce over each cupcake one tablespoon at a time. After it soaks in, add a little more. Each cupcake should hold about 3 tablespoons of sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cupcakes can be refrigerated overnight if you plan to serve these the next day.

BEAT cream in small mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk. Right before serving the cupcakes, add a dollop of whipped cream over each cupcake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. (Toasting coconut is simple! Just add coconut to a skillet and cook it over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn golden.)

Tres Leches Cupcakes Recipe

I wanted to share the picture above with you. I made these cupcakes the other day but only had 2 muffin tins on hand. So I improvised and used a mini Bundt pan as well (the pan held 6 mini Bundt cakes). Obviously cupcake liners won’t work here, so I sprayed the pan with coconut oil, and proceeded with the recipe following the same directions as stated above. To remove from the pan, I placed a rimmed baking sheet over the Bundt pan and inverted it, shaking the pan to loosen the cakes. I needed to loosen each Bundt cake a little with a knife, but after that, they plopped right out. So if you get into a pinch like I did, don’t be afraid to improvise.

Related recipes:

Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake Recipe Clásico Three Milk Cake Recipe
Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake Clásico Three Milk Cake


  1. Posted May 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yum I have always wanted to try to make tres leches. I love the idea of these cupcakes and cant wait to try your recipe 🙂

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Brooke, let me know if you try it. Our entire test kitchen loved it! It’s now a family fave 🙂

  2. doreen
    Posted September 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    For my topping I use a half gallon of heavy cream a tub of Mascarpone a teaspoon of vanilla and powered sugar.
    But I use cake flour and 3 eggs for the cake it’s sooo good.

  3. Posted October 29, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Related Recipe: Tres Leches | FightForTheBite

  4. Cindy Klinger
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I used pillsbury moist supreme classic white cake and extra creamy cool whip. I didn’t do coconut milk, just whole milk, evaporated and condensed

  5. Posted July 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve done these a couple times. They’re best with fruit on top. Also, use the tin foil cup cake liners. The paper ones will get soggy.

  6. Diana GONZALEZ
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m doing these cupcakes right now lets see how they come out!! Really easy recipe thanks!!!

  7. Jessica
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is this recipe not suppose to have butter or some type of oil

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jessica,
      No – no butter or oil is used in this type of recipe.

  8. Kathy
    Posted March 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What speed are you using after whipping egg whites, and do you continue with whip attachment or switch to paddle?
    Can’t wait to make it!!

    • Posted March 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Kathy! That’s a great question! Sounds like you are using a stand mixer. Ideally, after you’ve whipped the whites and added the sugar, you’d switch to a paddle attachment. But it’s not required. You can keep whisk attachment on and just beat the other ingredients in on medium speed (you just need to beat until combined). And just be sure to tap the whisk on the side of the bowl to get all the batter out of the whisk. If using a hand mixer, there is no need to change the beaters. We’ve tested this recipe so many different ways – the most important thing is to just get the egg whites to soft peaks, beat in the sugar and then beat in the other ingredients. Hope you enjoy it as much as us!

4 Trackbacks

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