Dulce de Leche Frosting

Back in June, I received a request for Tres Leches cake to grace these pages. I was looking through a cook book when my phone chirped with a text message that contained the request. I went back to the cookbook, turned the page, and I kid you not, Tres Leches was the next cake recipe.

Granted, I did not give this coincidence sent down from the baking gods much significance given I waited until January to bake Tres Leches cupcakes. It’s too bad I waited, because Tres Leches turns out to be everything I love in a cake. It’s sweet, flavorful, moist, and dense without being dry.

Last Sunday, I joined the after-church lunch crowd and while waiting for a table, I walked over to a nearby bakery in search of something that would inspire me. Truth be told, my walk was more an effort to stay warm while waiting outside in frigid 45 degree temperatures. I knew full well what was displayed in the bakery’s storefront since I was just in there the day before feeding my doughnut addiction.

Dulce de Leche Frosting

The bakery’s window display included a lovely cake decorated along the sides and the top with large circular roses like those seen here. This technique looks so pretty and is incredibly easy to create.

Simply use a 1M decorating tip and frost in a circular motion from the center of the cupcake to the outer edge. I considered step-by-step pictures, but truly, this techniques is so easy just one or two practice swirls should make you a master.

These cupcakes do take some advance planning as the tres leches must soak into the cake for at least two hours, although overnight is preferable. The original recipe includes instructions for from-scratch dulce de leche frosting, but I simply added the dulce de leche I had on hand to my standard confectioners’ sugar buttercream. Delicioso!

Dulce de Leche Frosting

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Tres Leches Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream
Serves: 12
  • For Baking the Cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • For Soaking the Cupcakes
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • For the Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dulce de leche
  • 1 cup lightly toasted flaked coconut, optional
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl set to medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until all the yellow disappears, then add the vanilla.
  4. Alternately add the buttermilk and the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, then fold into cake batter.
  6. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about ¾ full with the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then use a skewer to poke several holes in the top of each cupcake.
  9. Stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk.
  10. While the cupcakes are warm, pour the milk mixture over each cupcake.
  11. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight before frosting.
  12. To make the frosting, cream the butter on medium speed.
  13. Add the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  14. Add the vanilla and dulce de leche.
  15. Continue to beat at high speed until the buttercream is smooth.
  16. Sprinkle lightly toasted coconut over the tops of the frosted cupcakes.


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