Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes

This little adventure started when a friend of mine said he was looking for something to bring as a gift to his friends that are expecting a little girl soon. This was the first time he was seeing them since they found out they're having a girl, and being that they are great friends of his, he wanted to bring them something special when he went down for a visit. After throwing around some ideas I suggested him bringing her some fun cupcakes and him a bottle of something he would save and open on his little girl's wedding day. I know, I know, I'm good. ;) haha. So I tasked him to find out her favorite dessert and I would attempt to turn it into a cupcake for her, for him. Her husband told him her favroite dessert was Tres Leches, a typically latin-type cake, soaked in, you guessed it, three milks. Hmm... and  had to figure out how to turn it into a cupcake. I found a recipe that sounded good (I found several but this was the only one I had actual faith in). And wow is all I can say about it. Amazing. I even posted on facebook that I had just made the most incredible cupcakes ever. I'm really not one to brag about food I make being amazing, but seriously, they were. I clearly could use a little help with the decoration factor, but I was in a hurry. And I'm a little upset that I didn't take pictures mid process. I will next time for sure. Because yes, I will definitely be making these bad boys again. So here's the recipe that I adapted slightly from that they adapted from

Tres Leches Cupcakes with a Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting

*Heat oven to 350 degrees. I recommend using the foil liners, not just the paper ones, as you're adding quite a bit of liquid to the cupcake after it cooks. It will just hold up better.

3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar 
3 eggs, seperated
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt, kosher
3/4 C buttermilk

1/2 C evaporated milk
1/2 C sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C coconut milk

Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting:
 5 large egg ehites
1 1/2 C sugar
4 sticks butter, diced and slightly softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS vanilla
1 C Dulce de Leche (I used a canned version from the hispanic/latin section of the grocery store; it's a super thick caramel-type sauce)

cocoa powder, ground chocolate, or chocolate shavings for garnish

To make the cupcakes:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined and all the bright yellow disappears. Add the vanilla, mix to combine. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Alternately add the dry mixture with the buttermilk to the creamed butter beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into  cake batter.

Fill foil-lined wells 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 and set aside.

While the cakes are baking, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Poke several holes in the top of cupcakes with a wooden skewer and then pour the milk mixture over each cupcake while they are still warm, filling each hole. I did this slowly, with several spoonfuls for each cupcake. The warmer the cupcake, the faster the cupcake will absorb the milks. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight before frosting.

To make the butter cream frosting:

Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees while whisking constantly.

Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixture cools and doubles in volume.

Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine (I use kosher salt, but you must mix the salt and the vanilla first so that you don't get little bits of salt in the frosting. Mixing he two first will help break the salt down a little). Add the dulce de leche and mix to combine.

Fill a piping bag and go to town with the cupcakes and frosting! Garnish with your choosing.

I think toasted coconut would look pretty as a garnish, but I didn't have any to toast, so I went with ground bittersweet chocolate. I didn't use the cocoa powder because the cakes weren't going to be delivered until at least 16 hours later. I wasn't sure what the powder would do on the butter cream. Run? Soak in? Just went on the safe side with the chocolate. Apparently they were a hit. And apparently he took all the credit. I think his friends are smarter than that though. ;) Here they are all packaged up. I found these darling little boxes at Michael's. And yes, he took more than 4 cupcakes. ;) He took a dozen to the momma-to-be.

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