February 26, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which means I will give up something for 40 days (with the possible exception of Sundays thanks to an odd allowance within Catholic tradition). Past years, I've given up the vice of swearing, but that has cut down considerably since my main job is to be my 5-month-old son's favorite toy.

So, I contemplated what would be the greatest sacrifice, and my first answer was ice cream. After pondering a bit further, I determined ice cream was the easy way out for me. As much as I love ice cream, I probably don't go a day without eating chocolate. Therefore, my Lenten sacrifice is chocolate, with the exception of chocolate milk after my half-marathon training runs. (It might sound odd, but it's my reward for running that I justify with the post-run health benefits. I probably lose those benefits when I drink it hours after I run, but same difference to me.)

With that windy prelude, this week's cupcake for work is Tres Leches Cupcakes (or Three Milk Cupcakes). This isn't a traditional three-milk recipe, but I think the flavors combine well. Notice how there's no chocolate in this recipe. That shall be a trend for the next 40 days, so that I can continue to experience the flavors to accurately write my blog posts. (Good excuse, right?)

Tres Leches Cupcakes
2 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 egg whites
1 tsp. rum extract
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp. rum extract
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 24 cupcake tins.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In large mixing bowl, beat shortening 30 seconds. Add sugar, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 2 additional minutes on medium speed. Beat in egg whites, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in rum extract.

Beat in flour and milk, alternating with portions of each, starting and ending with flour. Stir in pecans.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, filling to about 2/3 full.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool in pans 5 minutes, and then cool 10 more minutes on wire racks.

Combine filling ingredients together. Place each cupcake in a dessert container, and poke with a long-tined fork to create holes throughout the top of the cupcake. Pour filling evenly over cupcakes. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight until all filling is absorbed into cupcakes.

To prepare frosting, beat whipping cream and rum extract together on medium until stiff peaks form.

Top each cupcake with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and garnish with pecans and coconut. Makes 24 cupcakes.

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