Tres Leche Cupcakes are light, airy, and fluffy and are lightly soaked in three milks. The cupcakes are topped with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon and sliced strawberries.

Close up image of Tres Leche Cupcakes topped with slice strawberries.
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You may be familiar with a Tres Leches Cake that is a light, sponge cake that is soaked in three milks. That is why I wanted to make a cupcake recipe for an individual serving of this popular cake.

Tres Leche is a Mexican-Inspired dessert that is light but decadent but is easy to make. There is no oil or butter ingredients, just eggs that make this cake mix so light and airy.

What are Tres Leche Cupcakes?

It is a dense moist cake that is soaked in three milks then topped with a whipped topping frosting. The Tres Leche name comes from the three milks that the cupcake is soaked in after they have been baked.

Ingredients

Ingredients needed - yellow cake mix, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, sliced strawberries

Cupcakes

  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • Whole Milk
  • Vanilla Extract

Milk Mixture

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Heavy Whipping Cream

Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Ground Cinnamon (Optional for Topping) 
  • Fresh Sliced Strawberries (Optional for Topping)

How to Make Tres Leche Cupcakes

  • Step 1. Prepare the oven and cupcake pan – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 muffin tins with foil cupcakes liners (do not use the paper liners as the milk mixture will soak through).  
Cake batter in bowl mixed together.

Step 2. Mix together Cake Mix Ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs with the egg yolks, milk and vanilla with a handheld mixer or stand mixer until well combined.

Cake batter going into liners.

Step 3. Then, pour the batter into the muffin pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Milk combined in a bowl.

Step 4. While the cupcakes cool, combine three kinds of milks. You will need a large mixing bowl.

Cupcakes baked and holes poked.

Step 5. Next, poke Holes in the cupcakes. Use a fork or skewer to poke the holes all over the top of the cupcakes. Be careful not to poke to the bottom of the cupcakes or poke holes in the cupcake liners.  

Milk spread over cupcakes.

Step 6. Spoon the milk mixture over the cupcakes. Then refrigerate the cupcakes for at least 4 hours but overnight is better. This will allow time to soak up the milk mixture.  

Bowl with whipped topping combined.

Step 7. Make the whipped topping. Beat together the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form in the mixture.

Cupcakes topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

Step 8. Right before serving, pipe the topping mixture on the cupcakes.

Cupcake ready to enjoy.

Step 9. Then add a dusting of the ground cinnamon and the sliced strawberries.

Storage

  • Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Close up image of Tres Leche Cupcakes topped with slice strawberries.

FAQs

Can I make Tres Leche into a Cake?

Yes, traditional that is how Tres Leche is made is into a cake. Tres Leche Cake is just as easy to make with the three milks. Each bite is creamy and delicious and topped with whipped topping.

What Milks go into Tres Leche Cupcakes?

Sweetened Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk and Heavy Whipping Cream. These ingredients can easily be found at the grocery store.

How to make ahead?

To make the cupcakes days in advance, you will simply prepare the cupcakes as indicated. Do not poke holes into the cupcakes until you are ready to spoon the three milks over the cupcakes.

Then top the cupcakes with the whipped topping and serve. This cake is almost better the next day after the milk has soaked more into the cake.

How to store?

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure to cover and store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

How to freeze?

Tres Leche Cupcakes are easy to freeze. Simply prepare the cupcakes as indicated. Make sure to let them cool completely.

Store them in a freezer safe bag. They will stay fresh up to 2 to 3 months if stored properly.

Once you are ready to serve, thaw cupcakes in the refrigerator. Then you can poke holes in the cake and then spoon the milk mixture over the cupcakes. Garnish with whipped topping, sprinkle cinnamon and slice strawberries.

Close up image of Tres Leche Cupcakes topped with slice strawberries.

More Cupcakes Recipes

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Tres Leche Cupcakes

4.75 from 31 votes
Tres Leche Cupcakes are light, airy, and fluffy and are lightly soaked in three milks. Then they are topped with a cinnamon whipped topping.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings 24
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 232

Ingredients

  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 pkg Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • For the Milk Mixture:
  • 14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 12 oz Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Ground Cinnamon Optional for Topping
  • Fresh Sliced Strawberries Optional for Topping
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 muffin tins with foil cupcakes liners (do not use the paper liners as the milk mixture will soak through).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and vanilla with a hand held mixer until well combined. Pour the cake batter into the muffin tins, filling them up approximately 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 12-16 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool slightly.
  • Then in a large mixing bowl. Combine the three milk mixture ingredients.
  • Use a fork or skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cupcakes, being careful not to poke to the bottom of the cupcakes or poke holes in the cupcake liners.
  • Whisk together the milk mixture ingredients in a large bowl.  Spoon approximately 2-3 Tablespoons of the milk mixture over each cupcake.
  • Refrigerate the cupcakes for at least 4 hours but overnight is preferred to soak up the milk mixture.
  • To make the topping, beat together the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl with a hand held mixer or a stand alone mixer. Beat until soft peaks form in the mixture.
  • Right before serving, pipe the topping mixture over the top of each of the cupcakes and top with a dusting of the ground cinnamon and the sliced strawberries (optional).
  • Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

This cake is almost better the next day after the milk has soaked more into the cake!  Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 232kcal, Carbohydrates 25g, Protein 5g, Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 53mg, Sodium 200mg, Potassium 201mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 19g, Vitamin A 411IU, Vitamin C 1mg, Calcium 136mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Desserts on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you create delicious desserts on a budget and do not require a ton of time. Together, we are going to make something sweet that the entire family will love!

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