The classic Mexican dessert, Tres Leches Cake, goes single sized in these Tres Leches Cupcakes. They're light and fluffy cupcakes infused with three creamy milks and topped with whipped mascarpone frosting.
Tres Leches Cupcakes
These Tres Leches Cupcakes make a Latin American favorite even more fun. Super soft, fluffy vanilla cupcakes are poked with a fork and then soaked in a milk mixture with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream.
What could be better?, you might be wondering.
The ultra light and creamy whipped mascarpone frosting, that's what. It is the perfect light topping to a rich, moist tres leches cupcake.
What is Tres Leches?
"Tres Leches" literally translated means "three milks." Tres leches cake is traditionally served in cake form (as opposed to this cupcake recipe!), and is called "milk cake" because it's a light sponge cake soaked in a sweet milk mixture.
Tres leches cake is popular in Mexico and Latin America.
Can I Use a Box Mix?
I recommend making the cake from scratch, as there's just something about a homemade cupcake that a box can't replicate.
However, if you're in a time crunch or you have very strong feelings about using a cake mix, then you can use a box mix. It won't harm the "tres leches" part of the cupcake as long as you follow the rest of recipe.
More Cupcake Recipes You'll Love
- Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes - yellow cupcakes filled with pastry cream and topped with a rich chocolate ganache.
- Berries and Cream Cupcakes - classic vanilla cupcakes with fresh berries mixed into the batter, topped with whipped cream cheese frosting and more fresh berries.
- Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting - bright lemon cupcakes topped with blackberry buttercream, made with fresh berries. A delicious fruity combination!
- Ginger Brown Sugar Cupcakes - moist spice cake with cinnamon-spiced cream cheese frosting.
- Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - made with real strawberries, these cupcakes taste like strawberry cheesecake!
Tres Leches Cupcakes
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
Whipped Mascarpone Frosting
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake liners, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter and whisk in sugar until butter is no longer warm to the touch.
- Whisk in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add remaining cupcake ingredients, and quickly whisk together.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, and whisk until combined.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling ¾ of the way up (you may need to do 2 batches or use another tin).
- Bake for 14-16 minutes at 350°F, until tops spring back lightly to the touch or a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes to a wire rack after 15 minutes. Allow cupcakes to finish cooling.
- Use a small skewer or fork to poke holes all over the top of the cupcakes. Set aside.
For the Milk Mixture
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the three milks.
- Drizzle milk mixture slowly over the cupcakes, giving it enough time to absorb into the cupcakes before adding more.
- Cover cupcakes lightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
For the Whipped Mascarpone Frosting
- Chill a large metal mixing bowl for 15-20 minutes.
- Add heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (like whipped cream).
- Mix in mascarpone cheese, and whisk to combine.
- Spread or pipe frosting onto chilled cupcakes.
- Use foil cupcake liners so that the milk mixture will stay in the cupcake. I used these ones from Amazon.
- Allow your cupcake ingredients to come to room temperature before mixing. This process allows the ingredients to mix together more fully and will result in better, fluffier cupcakes.
- Don't over-mix! Lumps are okay! Mixing too much will turn your nice fluffy cupcakes very dense and tough. Mix until just combined.
- No buttermilk on hand? Try this super easy buttermilk substitute.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer Directions: Make only the cupcakes. Allow to cool completely, cover tightly and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before finishing preparation. I do not recommend freezing them after soaked in milk (they will be soggy when you thaw them), and I don't recommend freezing the mascarpone frosting (it will become very grainy).
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Emily Liao says
These tres leches cupcakes are so delicious! It was soft and perfectly sweet.
Andrea Metlika says
I absolutely love that you made these cupcakes. It is a perfect portion for such a delicious dessert.
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says
I love how light, fluffy and flavourful these are! These are such a tasty treat.
I love these tres leches cupcakes they are the perfect afternoon treat! The cupcakes turned out so fluffy and sweet! My little one even had fun adding the frosting to the cupcakes.
Annie @ Annie's Noms says
These look perfect! How have I still not tried Tres Leches Cake?! I've wanted to for years, but it always gets pushed down the list. These cupcakes however, I need to make! I love anything that's individually portioned and these look so delicious. That frosting looks so light and fluffy!
I love these in cupcake form! So much easier for parties and holiday get togethers. Loved how light and delicious they are.
These cupcakes are SO good! I love the sweet flavor. Thanks for the tip about foil liners too.
Yummy! These look so scrumptious and tasty! I'm so excited to make these! My husband and daughter are going to love them!
These tres leches cupcakes are so good! Perfectly baked and it'll keep you wanting more.
I love these cupcakes! So fluffy and flavorful!
What gorgeous cupcakes! I love the taste of tres leches cake and can't wait to try these!
Carrie Robinson says
This is such a fun twist on a traditional Mexican dessert! They look perfect. 🙂
These cupcakes are light, fluffy and out of this world good. The mascarpone topping is amazing! Thank you for this recipe.
Such a fun variation of the Tres Leches Cake! They look absolutely incredible with that whipped mascarpone frosting on top. Yum!
I love experimenting with tres leches recipes... There is always something new to discover. Can't wait to try yours! 🙂
Gail Doherty says
I never had one; but love Mexican food n dessert’s, I’m going to the store now to get the ingredients: can’t wait to make it. Gail
We love tres leches cake so I knew we were going to love these cupcakes! So yummy and perfect for a party!
I made these adorable cupcakes for a baby shower and everybody wanted the recipe!
I made these last weekend and they were a hit! So much so that I’m making them again this weekend!
This was perfect for my sweet tooth! The cupcakes came out amazing and my family loved it!