Tres Leches Cupcakes: An Ode to Venezuela and Beautiful Bones

1 treslechesTres Leches means three milks. I made my tres leches cupcakes for two reasons. I tried to come up with tres reasons, but decided that dos would be fine!

  1. Tres leches is a speciality in Venezuela and other parts of South America. I just had some amazing Amano chocolate from Venezuelan beans so I thought a Venezuelan tres leches cupcake was in order. ama
  2. Food Blogga (I just love that name) was diagnosed with osteoporosis in the past year. She is hosting an event where participants make calcium-rich food to raise awareness of the disease. Go to her blog and read more about it. This is important stuff – far more important than reason 1 for making this cupcake. I figured that since tres leches cupcakes have not one milk, but three, they would be absolutely perfect for the event!

Note On Milk and Osteoporosis

While I made my tres leches cupcakes for the osteoporosis event, I want to take a moment to point out that despite what Big Milk would have you believe, it is not a given that lots of milk makes strong, healthy bones. When I started looking into the connection between calcium and osteoporosis to write this post, I found that the connection isn’t so clear. As you do your homework and read Food Blogga’s info on osteoporosis as I suggested above, be sure to also read this compilation of reference articles on It highlights research that argues for and against milk’s role in preventing osteoporosis.

You didn’t know I would give you homework, did you?

The Tres Leches Cupcake Recipe


I got the recipe for the tres leches cupcakes by converting a cake recipe on Cooking Along to cupcake format. I am reprinting it with my modifications below.

Makes about 28 cupcakes

  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 oz evaporated milk (1/2 can)
  • 11 oz condensed milk (3/4 can)
  • 3/4 C heavy cream or 1 can of coconut milk, unsweetened (I used heavy cream)
  1. In a big bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1 C of the sugar until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, corn starch, and salt.
  4. Mix until combined with the yolk mixture.
  5. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  6. Add 1/3 C sugar at the end. Do not over beat!
  7. Fold the whites into the yolk and flour mixture, being very careful not to deflate the batter.
  8. Fill cupcake liners about halfway.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. With a serrated knife, remove the top golden layer on each cupcake to expose the sponge. You can toss the tops in the trash or proceed to eat them all! You can see the pile of cut off tops on the left edge of the photo above.
  11. Mix the three milks and spoon them into the cupcakes.
  12. Put about three T of the milks into each cupcake.
  13. Wait for the milks to be absorbed and add more. You will see a pool of milks at first, like the photo above, but soon the milks will completely absorb into the sponge cake.
  14. Refrigerate the cupcakes covered for 5 hours or overnight.

The Meringue Frosting Recipe

The frosting recipe is also from Cooking Along. I reprinted it with my notes and modifications.

  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  1. Mix the water and sugar in a small pan.
  2. Bring it to a boil and cook until soft crack point, about 10 minutes. To know when the syrup has reached soft crack, take a little bit with a clean spoon and drop it in a bowl filled with water. It is ready when you can make a little soft ball with it inside the water (be very careful handling the syrup, it gets extremely HOT).
  3. When the syrup is about to come to the soft crack point, beat the egg whites (with a pinch of salt added just a minute after starting the beating) until soft peaks form.
  4. Still beating the whites, add the syrup in a steady way and beat until the mixture cools down. The final mixture will resemble soft marshmallows.
  5. Frost the cupcakes! I am bringing these cupcakes over to Alanna’s on Monday – some other St. Louis food bloggers will be there as well. Therefore, I won’t be able to hide the fact that I just shmeared the frosting onto most of the cupcakes. I only made a few with the pretty swirls. The main reason for this is that this recipe did not make enough frosting for lots of big swirls. If you want big frosting, double this recipe.
  6. Top with cinnamon. This will give a great flavor and a pretty presentation.

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