Monday, February 3, 2014

Strawberry Tres Leche Cupcakes

Am I the only thing who thinks immediately of Latin lovers when I think of romance?

I have one heck of a romantic cupcake for your Valentine.  Growing up in Miami, having latin pastries was one of my favorite treats. So when I was thinking of other things to do with my Pillsbury Valentine Funfetti cupcakes, the first thing that came to mind was Tres Leche. Tres Leche, (pronounced trace-LAY-chay) is a central american dessert that consists of a spongy cake soaked in three different milks, that turns the cake into a spongy pudding. It is usually topped with whipped cream (or sometimes marshmallow fluff). Of course, to make this recipe extra Valentine-y, I added some sweet red strawberries.

What you'll need:

 One Boxed Cake Mix, with the eggs, oil, and water they require.
1 cup of strawberry puree, plus 24 strawberry slices
1/2 cup of Evaporated Milk
1 cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 8oz container of whipped topping (you are also welcome to use actual sweetened whipped cream)

You will also need:

Metal cupcake liners (with inner paper lining)
Cupcake tin with 24 cups
A regular sized ice cream scoop
A gallon sized plastic zipper bag
A large cup to hold your plastic zipper bag open
A toothpick or skewer

Start by preheating your oven and mixing your cake mix according to its directions.

You really need the metal cups (with the paper liners in them) so that you have something that can stand up to the cupcakes being soaked. They have them in most baking aisles for fairly cheap. Scoop your liners about 2/3rds full for the best sized cupcakes, and bake according to the directions on the box.

Next, in a bowl, whisk together your evaporated milk,

Sweetened Condensed Milk,

strawberry puree,

and heavy cream,

until it is well mixed.

Set that aside while you ready the cooled cupcakes.

First step, carefully take your cupcake out of the metal liner. 
Unwrap the cupcake, and put it back in its metal liner.
Do that to all of them.

Next, use your skewer (or a fork or toothpick) and cover your entire cupcake in holes. Take them out and poke the sides too. This allows the milks to absorb into the cake better.

This is also fantastic for getting out your aggressions. Just be very careful not to poke through your liner, so your milk doesn't strain out.

Next, take a cupcake out of its liner, and submerge it in your strawberry milk mixture. Hold it there for about 30-45 seconds.

Then, place your cupcake back in its metal liner and pour 2-3 teaspoons of the milk mixture over the top of the cupcake. You may want to pull out the sides of the liners a tiny bit to keep from dripping sweetened milk all over your counter.

Do this to all of your cupcakes, one at a time, and then cover them on a tray and refrigerate them for at least an hour.

To prepare the topping, I just used store made whipped topping, and added a little pink food coloring. Of course you can skip this step if you are anti-food coloring. I just like the festive flare. I made half a batch, so I portioned my whipped topping,

and dipped a toothpick into my pink gel food coloring. If using liquid it would be 1-2 drops. 

Then I rubbed the coloring on the topping to get it off the toothpick,

It occurred to me at this point that I should probably show what coloring I was using. I find these to be the best for coloring icings, followed by the tubes of gel coloring.

I folded the color into the topping, until it was uniformly pink,

then got it into my plastic zipper bag so I could pipe it on the cupcakes. I'm big on piping things because it is easier to control, usually, than just applying things by hand, I find. If you have a steadier hand than I do and you don't want to bother with piping, I won't send the Cupcake Police after you. 

Your cupcakes should have been allowed to soak up your milk for at least an hour now. Mine rested overnight and looked like this. I could have added a little more milk to them, even.

Then I piped my whipped topping onto the cupcake starting at the edge and spiraling inwards... 

to make a rose like pattern. And then, to gussy them up, I dropped them in a decorative Valentine wrapper.

Finally, finish those sweet cakes with a slice of strawberry on top. And then grab a spoon (because, if 
you try to unwrap them like regular cupcakes, you are going to have a handful of milk!) and enjoy!

They will make your taste buds do a rumba!

Aye, papi!

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