Recipe courtesy of Don Hein


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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 25 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 30 cupcakes


Cake Batter:

Toasted Coconut:

Tres Leches Mix:



  1. For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with 30 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and eggs until light yellow in color, about 3 minutes. Mix in the oil until combined. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until incorporated. Mix in the yogurt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the coconut emulsion and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  3. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for 15 minutes, and then pull them from the pans and place on a cooling rack or baking sheet to cool completely. Leave the oven on for the toasted coconut.
  4. For the toasted coconut: Spread the coconut out evenly on a baking sheet, forming a single layer. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden brown but not scorched, about 12 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  5. For the tres leches mix: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream together. Poke three holes in the top of each baked cupcake. Brush the tres leches mix on top of each cupcake three times.
  6. For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and whip at medium speed until frothy. Add 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  7. In a saucepan, stir the remaining 1/2 cup sugar into 1/2 cup water. Put a candy thermometer in the pan and place the pan over medium-high heat. When the simple syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (235 to 245 degrees F), immediately pour it into the egg whites while the mixer is on low speed. Once all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to high and whip until the bottom of the bowl is cool, about 15 minutes. Add the butter and whip until smooth and silky. Add the vanilla and coffee-flavored oil and mix until incorporated.
  8. To assemble: Scoop 1/4 cup frosting onto each cupcake. Roll each cupcake, upside down, in the bowl of toasted coconut until the top is rounded and coated in coconut; set aside.
  9. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Cut the marshmallows in half diagonally. Dip two marshmallow pieces in the white chocolate and place on a cupcake toward the top (for the ears). Place a chocolate-covered espresso bean in the middle of the cupcake (for the nose). Repeat with the remaining marshmallows and espresso beans.