I’ve mentioned that I have an affinity for tres leches cake. I love everything about it from the soft, sweet cake to the moist tres leche it’s soaked with. I prefer it served with softly whipped cream and just a hint of vanilla, nothing else – which to me, is pure bliss.

I have quite a cluster of ideas running through my head on ways to transform the traditional into something a bit untraditional, but still maintain the essence of what tres leche cake is.

Enter: Red Velvet Tres Leches Cupcakes with Coconut and Berries

I tried to come up with a simpler title, but nothing quite explained these cupcakes like the straight-forward and long-winded approach. So here we are.

The cake recipe is slightly adapted from Martha’s cupcake cookbook. The only substitutions I made were to ever so slightly lighten up the cake and add a hint of coconut flavor by reducing the quantity of oil and replace it with coconut milk. I also threw in a handful of shredded coconut for a little bit of texture throughout – oh wait, I forgot to add the coconut…. Let’s rephrase, I wanted to throw in a handful of coconut for a little bit of texture throughout. You should add in a handful of coconut and not be absent-minded like myself…

After the cupcakes have cooled, they are poked with a wooden skewer or toothpick then bathed in a concoction of sweet and condensed milk and coconut milk. They’re then topped off with homemade whipped cream, Cool Whip, Reddi-Wip or whatever creamy topping your stomach desires. (Normally, I’d go with whipped cream, but for this dieting girl, cool whip was the topping of choice.) Sprinkle with diced berries and a little dusting of extra coconut.

A tres leches dream…or I guess if we’re being technical, a dos leches dream…

Hint. You might want a fork to eat this one…


Red Velvet Tres Leches Cupcakes with Coconut & Berries
Serves: 24 cupcakes
  • Cakes:
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Assembly:
  • ¾ cup sweet and condensed milk
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • Strawberries, black berries, or blueberries for topping
  • Coconut for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bottom of a stand mixer, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time until each is incorporated. Add in vanilla and dye, mix until combined.
  3. In a large bowl whisk flours, cocoa powder and salt.
  4. Combine buttermilk and coconut milk in a liquid measuring cup.
  5. With the mixer on low add in flour mixture in thirds alternating with two batches of the milk mixture.
  6. Add in flaked coconut, mix until just combined.
  7. In a small bowl stir baking soda and vinegar together. With the mixer on a high speed add in baking soda mixture, mix until incorporated.
  8. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake 18 minutes, turning halfway through. The cupcakes are done when a wooden toothpick or skewer comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
  9. Mix coconut milk and condensed milk in a liquid measuring cup.
  10. When cupcakes have cooled slightly, poke all over with a wood skewer. Evenly distribute the milk mixture over the cupcakes.
  11. Let set in the fridge for two hours.
  12. Pipe cupcakes with whipped cream, top with berries and sprinkle with coconut.



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