Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes With Dulce De Leche Buttercream

Total Time
Prep 3 hrs
Cook 2 hrs

This recipe by Lorie Roach was featured on the Ultimate Recipe Showdown and won the cupcake category.It makes a lot of buttercream icing, so next time I think I will double the amount of cupcakes. I used a meat marinade injector which allows you to use all of the milk mixture. These do take quite a bit of time to make, but they are addicting!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. For the Buttercream:.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
Most Helpful

I have had this marked since they were featured in the Crazy for Cupcakes article. First off I got 17 cupcakes. The cupcakes don't rise as much as I thought they would but do be careful when filling the cups as the batter will flow over if to full. Using the meat injector to infuse the cupcakes with the milks is a wonderful idea. While I had some of the 3 milks left over it was a minimal amount. I made several rounds with the injector. I did cheat on the frosting which saved several hours of prep. In my part of the world, I can buy canned deulce de leche and used almost the full can with 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of confectioners sugar to make the frosting. There was a small amount of frosting left over but not substantial. The easiest way I have found to toast coconut is for a few seconds at a time in the microwave spread out on a microwave safe plate. The cupcakes were made early morning, refrigerated for several hours, iced and sprinkled with the toasted coconut. With the pre-made dulce de leche these cupcakes really were not that labor intensive. They were served for a friends birthday party and everyone raved about how good they were.

PaulaG August 02, 2009

I was trying to think of something different to surprise my aunt with on her birthday,when i remembered this recipe I'd saved a while back,and this was the perfect occasion to try it.I didn't make the icing exactly like the recipe.It was all a little last minute so I didn't feel like making the dulce de leche from scratch,so i bought a jar of goat milk cajeta instead. the cajeta is already very very sweet and i knew i would have to use the powdered sugar to thicken the icing,especially since i didn't have cornstarch,so i left out the other sugar. i just boiled the cajeta with about half the water ,mixed it with the yolks,and mixed that with the powdered sugar,vanilla,and turned out a little too thin and was melting at room temparature the next day,so i guess i should have not added any water at all .I was afraid the icing was going to be too sweet (even though i liked it ),but no one seemed to mind,my aunt said she thought the coconut in it balanced out the sweetness perfectly.The amount of milk was perfect for the recipe;i didn't have any leftover at all like some of the reviewers,and the cupcakes turned out very moist just the way a tres leches is supposed to be .you can't pour all the milk on at once;you have to let the cake rest a minute and then force it to soak up more.You can't over leche tres leches!
this is a great recipe,definitley one i'll make again,and it was pretty straight forward just time consuming ,but totally worth it.

strangelittlebeast October 17, 2010

I had a little bit of trouble with this recipe, as the directions leave out what to do with both the toasted coconut, and the butter. For the butter, I blended it in with the Dulce de Leche once it had cooled. The coconut I just added to the top, as that's what was in the photo. These were pretty good, but be warned: a lot of work. I'd save it for a birthday or special occasion and either make them ahead of time, or if you're bringing a dessert somewhere and don't have to make anything else. The quantities seemed a little bit wrong too. I got 12 cupcakes, but way too much liquid for injecting into the cupcakes. You could easily halve the quantities there. And use a turkey baster, because I used a skewer and I don't think it worked as well. The buttercream, as stated in the blurb above made much more than necessary. You could halve that too. I do think I'll make these again though, as they have a unique flavour. I also appreciated the fact that I learned a new technique for making frosting, and discovering new ways of cooking is what I really love about 'zaar. Thanks Cookiedog, for sharing this.

Ppaperdoll March 28, 2008