Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Total Time:
4 hr 30 min
Prep:
45 min
Inactive:
2 hr
Cook:
1 hr 45 min

Yield:
14 to 16 cupcakes
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup lightly toasted flaked coconut (Mounds or Angel Flake brand)
  • Dulce de Leche Buttercream:
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Directions
Dulce de Leche Buttercream:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed; add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until all the yellow disappears. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.

Fill standard paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet to cool.

While cupcakes are still warm, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Using a meat injector needle, inject each cupcake in several different spots with about 1/2 to 3/4-ounce of the mixture. Or, poke several holes in the top of each of the cupcakes with a 1/4-inch wooden skewer. Pour the milk mixture over each cupcake while they are still warm, filling each hole. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before icing.

For the Buttercream:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. To make the dulce de leche, pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate and cover with foil. Place in a larger roasting pan where pie plate can sit flat. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to a depth of about halfway up the pie plate. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Stir until smooth.

Place egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in the water first, then the dulce de leche and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the dulce de leche mixture into the 2 egg yolks. Stir in the vanilla. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Beat the butter on high speed in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled dulce de leche mixture. Beat in the 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable.

Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of dulce de leche buttercream. Refrigerate any remaining buttercream for another use. Sprinkle each cupcake with toasted coconut.


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    The cupcakes I made based on this recipe turned out delicious, however I used my own frosting recipe which was equally sublime (1 can dulce de leches + 1 stick of plugra unsalted butter, beat it, then chill for an hour then whipped for softness The cupcake recipe though delicious had the same issue as most other reviewers, it collapsed, and usually that seems to happen to me in a (whip egg-white recipe when I don't have enough flour, too much baking powder or too little. For those that want to try it again I would recommend adding a 1/4 cup more flour, with the same amount of baking powder, or reducing the baking powder by just a smidgen and the eggs to just 2 eggs. if you use my suggestion, please do review and let me/everyone know how it turns out. I will definitely make these again, with minor adjustments. The frosting sounds too involved so I'm sticking to my method for it.
    Made these but made my own frosting. They were a huge hit!
    Cupcakes were a hit! Follow directions as is and results are perfect. I wanted to post a picture, but they were all gone before I had a chance to grab my camera!!
    These are amazing!! I don't think I made the frosting properly, but it still tasted great and the cupcakes were a hit! This recipe is very time consuming, so if you're going to make this, I suggest doubling or even tripling the cupcake recipe. The recipe for the buttercream frosting makes way too much frosting for just 14 cupcakes. 
     
    Some people also had issues with their cupcakes deflating. I did not have the problem... I whisked the heck out of my egg whites, though, and I kept the cupcakes in for 22 minutes until the tops were golden brown. 
     
    I will make these again, but will either make the frosting ahead of time, or will make a more simple frosting to put on top.
    These are amazing! I reduced the amount of sugar from the dulce de leche buttercream frosting because it was a little too sweet for my taste. Also topped it off with homemade whipped cream to make it aesthetically pleasing otherwise, they don't look like much which is deceiving. Definitely my favorite cupcake!
    Addictive :)
    I used Lorie's quick and easy version. I know many will scoff at the idea of a box cake, but these are so much easier, and there is no compromise on taste. I bake from scratch all the time, but these happen to be a fan favorite (fan = family.  
     
    It was good but the frosting was a mess, but the cupcakes were really really good. I made them for my friends and family the all loved it . Im only 12 and it was really easy to make . i would recomend to make this and my mom agrees too.
     
    The cupcakes are great on their own, but when you add the dulce de leche buttercream it takes it to a whole new level. People were telling me I should sell them.
    These had an amazing flavor. I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of substituting a cup of milk mixed with a tablespoon of red wine vinegar instead of buying buttermilk and also added a dash of cinnamon to the finished product.
     

     
    I would recommend a meat injector to streamline things. When I poured the milk on the cupcakes it overflowed and just made for messy handling. I didn't find them soggy at all, but perfectly moist.
     

     
    Although the frosting is FANTASTIC, it laid flat on the cupcake which I didn't find aesthetically pleasing. That could just be the buttercream appearance, I'm not sure.
     

     
    Overall, an excellent cupcake. I gave it only 4 stars out of 5 because of the time it took and the non-puffy appearance of the frosting.
     
    These cupcakes really were amazing! I made them twice, however i added a couple of my own tricks. I added about i 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to my milk mixture and also sprinkled some on the top at the end. I also used a simple buttercream icing recipe instead of the dulce de leche. I'm sure it would have been amazing but i simply didn't have the time for it. MAKE SURE when you add the egg white fluff you really do take the time to fold it in gently!!! It makes a HUGE difference in the texture of the cupcake! I got so many compliments on these, my mother said it was the best cupcake she ever tasted. (:
    Just to let Bianca know, I did make this into a cake, and it was still amazing tasting. However, unless you double the recipe it is a dense, thin cake, about an inch, maybe an inch and 1/4 thick. Does not get any fluffier that the cupcakes either, but it is still scrumptious!! The bake time for the cake was around 20 minutes, I had to watch it.
     
    My boyfriend, who never touches any cake could not keep his hands off this one, so consider this recipe a success!!
    I made these cupcakes for my best friend's birthday. After reading the reviews, I am relieved that my cupcakes were not the only ones that sunk! Great recipe, definitely time consuming, but my tip next time is to make it into a regular cake and not cupcakes. Very very delicious!!!
    I can not see the recipe can someone help this looks delicious
    I made these twice. The first time I followed the instructions exactly and removed them from the oven when a toothpick inserted in them came out clean. They were underdone, pale, and sunken in the middle. My oven is calibrated and checked with an oven thermometer so that was not the issue. They simply take longer to bake (30-35 minutes). My advice - bake until you have completely golden brown tops.
     

     
    I baked them longer the second time (completely brown tops) but once again, when removed from the oven the centers sank down. Is this intentional ? Maybe so, because they were delicious and light, and the sunken center provided a great place to soak in the the tres leches. But if so the recipe should mention it. The appearance was an off-putter.
     

     
    By the way, the yield was 1 dozen normal size cupcakes.
     

     
    You can forego making the dulce de leche if you can buy it (many Mexican groceries stock one form or another). Whip 4 oz (by wieight) of dulce and 4 oz of unsweetened butter until smooth, add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and beat again. Voila! Done. And this yields an appropriate amount for 12 cupckes. The amount the recipe makes would frost over Cleveland.
     

     
    Despite the sunken cupcake centers (which bother me psychologically - maybe more protein would yield a better shape(?), (maybe an extra egg white would do it?), but then again, it might compromise the taste). these were light as a cloud and tasted wonderful. Friends raved, so this is worth the trouble. But by all means forego making your own dulce unless you are a glutton for punishment or have been assigned this as penance for a grevious sin.
     
    This will cut an hour of prep time: if you are near any spanish specialty food stores buy a jar of dulce de leche imported from Argentina. It costs about $4.00, but tastes much better than the condensed milk concoction and saves time.
     
    Dulce de leche, is a sweet caramel spread popular throughout Latin America and used as a spread for bread, pastries, cakes, crepes and cookies. It is known as cajeta in Mexico, manjar blanco in Peru, Chile and Bolivia, and arequipe in Colombia.
    The inside was soggy and the taste was average. I made it at my apartment and my roommates usually devour what I cook, especially sweet things. They weren't fans of this; I'm not either.
    I'm hispanic and tres leches cakes are a favorite dessert for us. This is the first time I tried it with coconut and loved it because coconut is one of my favorite flavors. The original recipe calls for heavy cream instead of coconut milk. If you want to make things easier for you, some brands of condensed milk are selling the dulce de leche already made. If you can't find one in your area look for it in a latin supermarket. Also, you can try boiling the unopened can for 1 1/2 hours. Make sure the water is always covering the can, and lay it sideways so it cooks evenly. This is how I always make my dulce de leche and it works out great.
    I saw this recipe and had to try it. I'm at the cooling the dulce de leche part. I have a question though.....did anyone's cupcakes fall in the center. If not does anyone have any idea as to why mine did. I want to try again to get a better result. Any ideas....thanks in advance
    The cupcakes were good but I would never make them again due to the amount of effort and time involved. It definitely took me a good 5 hours! The actually cake part itself was not very tasty (which really worried me at first since I was almost half way in already!) but with the tres leche it tasted much better., And I agree that the icing was too sweet. The amount of time for cooking and cooling everything after each step was just too much. Maybe with a different cake batter recipe and pre-made dulce de leche it would be worth making!
    I made these cupcakes a few days ago and I must admit the amount of time it took to make it was not worth the effort in the end. For one, I didn't like the cake's texture, and the frosting was way too sweet with the condensed milk flavor somewhat overpowering the cupcake. There were just too many steps involved in making the frosting and I think I could have come up with my own version of a similar frosting that would've tasted better.
    I love this cupcake. It got rave reviews from everyone who tried it! I plan on making these for my wedding as favors. Does anyone know if these can be frozen or will it affect the consistency? Thanks in advance for any ideas!
    I made this recipe into a miniature three tiered cake, and it was incredible. I followed the recipe with the one exception that I followed other people's advice and used less confectioners sugar in the frosting. I brought the cake to a friend's house for a birthday and every single person there said it was amazing. Best reviews I have ever had. I will definitely make this again, though as others have noted, it does take a lot of time. Paula, my one guess for you might be if the water evaporated too early it might have caused the dulce to burn. Mine turned out fine, but I had a darker spot in the middle (didn't cause any problems with the recipe) and I think it was because all my water had evaporated. Good luck, and the dulce de leche buttercream is definitely worth giving it another try!
    I made these yesterday for a shower and they were a real showstopper. It was fun to serve such a "trendy" flavor in the form of a cupcake.
     

     
    I only encountered one problem and am fairly sure it was my problem since no one else has mentioned it. When baking off the eagle brand milk in the oven, I tried three times and it hardened beyond the point of being able to stir it all three times.
     

     
    Please comment if you have any idea what might have gone wrong. I solved the problem by forgoing the baked sweetened condensed milk and used it straight from the can in the buttercream. However, I'm curious if anyone else encountered this problem.
    These are a bit time consuming but worth every minute. I bought a meat injector just for this recipe (I'm vegetarian so I wont use it much). They were fun to make and came out excellent. You really can't taste the coconut milk but its a nice touch rather than using super heavy whipping cream.
     

     
    The only change I made was less confections sugar in the frosting. I used a little less than half. I highly suggest tasting the frosting as you go so you make it to your liking. And you MUST make the frosting if you are making these cakes - it's what completes the cupcake....I made the cupcakes and frosting one night and frosted the next day for my dinner party. I had left over frosting but it's better to have too much than too little.
     

     
    The frosting is not difficult to make and neither is the cake, it just take time and patience. If you enjoy baking and creating a dessert that will WOW your guests, these naughty treats are worth every second of your time. And yes you may use a few pans but for anyone that has worked in a restaurant - it's ok to make a mess. You have plenty of time to clean while you are waiting for the cake to cool and dulce de leche to bake.
     

     
    For the person who gave this recipe a bad review because the cupcakes were too "doughy" must have made them wrong. Tres Leches cake is known to have a kind of wet consistency, it's not soggy but it is a characteristic of this type of cake like red velvet cake should be red. I made them for a party of 5 adults and 2 children and they are still talking about these cupcakes days later!! I plan to make them again this weekend for a party.
     

     
    By far the most amazing cupcake I have ever had and I baked it!! :O) Enjoy!!
    It was very time consuming, and I had a ton of frosting left over, but they were amazing!! I made them for my husband's bday party, and everyone was incredibly impressed! I'll save the recipe to make again, but for a special occasion. They were very sweet, but awesome.
    Definitely not a recipe for beginners, but it's well worth the time spent- it tastes amazing!
    I was trying to recreate an amazing Tres Leches cake I had at the restaurant Sabor. I didn't try the buttercream frosting. I thought it sounded too sweet and I omitted all of the coconut. I used whipping cream instead of the coconut milk. For the frosting I just whipped more cream and added powdered suger and vanilla. Everyone raved.
    I just loved this recipe but it was very time consuming and I suggest you make it a day before and in a 13x9 pan instead,it will be much easier than the cupcakes....my family just loved them, will do again!!!!
    My husband love it !!!
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