Tres Leches Cupcakes

CATEGORIES: Cakes and Cupcakes, Kate, Latin

I am generally not a lucky person. I remember when I was a little kid, the children’s chorister at church had each kid’s name on a tongue depressor and she needed a helper, she would pull out a stick and that kid would help her. Each time she went to pull out a stick, I hoped it would have my name on it. It never did. Somehow my name didn’t make it into the jar.

In middle school, if you were caught doing something good, you’d get a little slip of paper and could stick it in a box and each Friday, they’d pull names out and give each person whose name was drawn a dollar. Being a goody-goody, I had LOTS of slips in there and I never won. Not once.

I was the kid at tennis and debate camp (quiet, allof you–I have very happy memories of debate camp!) who wound up without a roommate. My husband won an iPod for buying his books at the school bookstore and all I got was an IOU for a book that hadn’t arrived yet.

But there was one time…one magical time. We ordered take out from our favorite Mexican restaurant. When I got home, I discovered a little foil pan of sweet goodness–this cake had luckily, MAGICALLY wound up in my bag. At that point in my life, I’d never eaten tres leches before, but I can guarantee you that it wasn’t the last time!

One thing I loved about the Lucky Tres Leches of 2005 was that it was self-contained; I’ve seen so many recipes for it baked in a 9×13 pan, but it’s so ooey-gooey that it can kind of turn into a mushy mess. So I recently started making it as cupcakes in the foil liners and then serving them on a little plate with a spoon.

Not only does it feel cute and fancy, but it’s super practical and way less messy.

I add fruit slices to mine because I feel like it’s SO sweet that it needs a little somethin’ to cut the sweetness (plus it’s so white that I love the color as a garnish). However, some people love it just the way it is and there is no shame in that.


  1. I love tres leches! This seems like one of the most fortunate lucky events you could have had!

  2. I had my first Tres Leches last night at a Mexican restaurant. I have been wanting to make the cake myself, but I think that this would be an even better way to go! Thanks for the post.

    p.s. I put some blueberries with my left over cake and cream, and it was delicious!

  3. Yum! I too dislike when tres leches cake is a muchy pile of goo so I'm going to have to try making the cupcake version soon. Thanks!

  4. Wow… I am impressed. I made Pineer Woman's tres leche for Christmas this year… and it was deeelightful! Thinking it will be a Christmas tradition. These little cupcakes have me intrigued… I may have to try it…..

  5. So happy to see this recipe, a friend of mine ordered me one from a certian Mexican resturant and I have craved it since! These are on my must make list!

  6. I agree, I've tried way to many poopie tres leches! And…guess where my favorite tres leches is served?!? Oh, Costa Vida. Yum. I can't wait to try yours, I'm liking the small, un-mushy idea. Thanks 🙂

  7. I love you! Those sound awesome and a practical alternative to the LARGE and slightly over priced tres leches from that one mexican restaurant. Thank You!

  8. Oh my gosh! These sounds so-o good! I live on the Mexico/US border and have never even tried Tres Leches! I'm certainly going to try these! Thanks so much for sharing this one!

  9. These look AMAZING! I usually will only cook desserts that contain chocolate, but I think I'm going to make an exception here…

  10. Oh how I love that you posted this. I LOVE tres leches and I LOVE cupcakes and I am SO excited to try the combo!!!!

  11. I love Tres Leches, and these look SO good! I know I sound like a culinary idiot, but those foil cupcake liners have always confused me– are you supposed to leave the white liner in when you bake them, or is it just to keep them separated, or what?

  12. I was just wondering last night about making tres leches in cupcake form because I thought it would make it easier to give some away so that i don't eat it all myself. Thanks for trying it first. It looks delicious!

  13. Mmmmmm. . . I have always wondered how to make that. I had the best slice of tres leches cake at a wedding last summer and I've been dreaming about it ever since.

  14. Melody- not a stupid question at all. I think the white papers are just to keep the foils separated. I usually just keep them and use them for muffins or cupcakes later!

  15. I LOVE this! I bake tres leches cake, is one of our favorite recipes at home. I never thought about doing it in a cupcake. LOve it. The caramel must give it a delicious taste. Great job!

  16. I was working at a popular Mexican restaurant (Pappasitos in Dallas, TX) when I first encountered Tres Leches. Six years later, I've still not found recipe that tops theirs and many just end up a soggy mess. Your adaptation is something I will be giving a try soon.

  17. I have a ton of the milk mixture left over after pouring it over the 24 cupcakes. Am I really supposed to pour the whole batch? It seems like way too much. Excited to try the recipe.

  18. Sia–I've always used the entire milk mix, maybe minus 1/2 cup or so. They're supposed to be quite moist. Maybe go over them one more time and call it good?

  19. Thanks so much for the speedy reply! Did as you suggested and I'm probably close to about a cup left over. Thanks again! Sia

  20. Just wanted to let you know that everyone LOVED the cupcakes. They were a huge hit. I look forward to trying out more of your recipe's. Thanks again. Sia

  21. How far in advance can these be made ahead of time? Would 24 hours ahead make them a complete soggy mess?

    1. Ohhhhh, I don’t know, haha! 🙂 I’ve never made them more than a few hours in advance. But maybe if they chilled for 24 hours, it would set up a little. But I honestly don’t know, I wish I did! 🙂

  22. Hey! I totally made these for a wedding I catered for a friend from church. They were a hit! I. Love. Tres Leche! Great minds think alike. lol.

  23. Yum! I’m planning on making these for my friends birthday but I have cupcake liners that are foil with laminated paper inside. Would those work or would the milk mixture seep through?

  24. The link for the cupcakes is broken!

    Love Tres Leches! Thanks for this recipe. Now I have to find foil liners.

  25. I have heard rave reviews about this recipe! However the link for the white cupcakes isn’t working for me either…

  26. We are having a Mexican themed dinner tonight for New Years. I was so excited to find this perfect recipe that goes along with our theme! Did you know that Duncan Hines makes a Tres Leches cake mix? I still got the white mix just to be safe. 🙂 Thanks for all you terrific recipes!

  27. Is there a trick to make the cupcakes evenly flat? I didn’t use the recipe you mentioned because I didn’t need to many cupcakes since I’m only experimenting and not even the ones I filled half way are flat… Do I ended up cutting them to make them even but I don’t know if they will turn out as pretty add yours… Hopefully they will at least turn out decent

  28. Hi I am a journalism student and I was wondering if you would give me permission to use your Tres Leches Cupcake picture in my project. Thanks!

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