Go Back
spring chick cupcake with an egg shell on its head

Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Delicious yellow cupcakes soaked in tres leches and topped with homemade dulce de leche buttercream and toasted coconut. These cupcakes are a winner!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Buttercream 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 16


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Coconut Tres Leches:

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

For the Buttercream:

  • 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 14 tbsp unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
  • toasted coconut


Make the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • 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. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  • 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 a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cook in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet to cool.

Make the Coconut Tres Leches:

  • While cupcakes are still warm, in a medium bowl, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk.
  • Poke several holes in the top of each of the cupcakes with 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 adding buttercream.

Make the Buttercream:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • To make the dulce de leche, pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate or pyrex dish and cover with foil. Place pie plate into 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/dish. 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. Whisking the mixture inside the wire mesh strainer helps promote it through the sieve.
  • 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 1/2 cup powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable. Add up to 1/2 cup more powdered sugar to achieve desired sweetness and consistency.
  • Proceed to recipe for Spring Chicks to decorate the cupcakes as chicks. Otherwise, frost with buttercream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.


Source: Adapted from Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown, recipe courtesy of Lorie Roach
You're Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword coconut, cupcake, dessert, mexican