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Every January my husband’s grandfather and a group of firefighters and friends travel down to Mexico to deliver donated firefighting equipment to the San Cristobal Bomberos (that’s Spanish for firefighter – 8 years of Spanish baby!). They also spend the week training them on various fire and rescue techniques. This past August the Bomberos travelled north to visit us and receive additional training. There’s one guy in the group who speaks English and can translate for us, but otherwise it’s just me doing a lot of gesturing and attempting to get my point across using what little high school Spanish I can remember. Note to self, “Te gustaria ver a mi mono?” means, “Would you like to see my monkey?”…I think.

To celebrate their visit, I made Tres Leches cupcakes! It was my first attempt at a traditional Mexican dessert and I think they turned out well. No chocolate was involved, but on a warm day in August I think making something a little lighter was the way to go. Don’t worry. I made dark chocolate brandy cupcakes that weekend too. I haven’t completely lost my mind. Those will be posted soon enough.

The Bomberos! Hub’s grandpa (we call him Paw), is on the left with the suspenders.

Excuse me sir, you have a school bus on top of your car. You need some help with that?

Tres Leches Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Tres Leches Cake
Makes 12 Cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
5 strawberries, chopped finely
Caramel syrup (I used Hershey’s)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with foil muffin cups. You’ll be adding a LOT of milk to the cupcakes, so the foil liners help keep everything together. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar on high until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. With a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until incorporated. Transfer batter to muffin cups and bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milks. Poke each cupcake all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick, then pour milk mixture over tops and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. I filled up a plastic squeeze bottle and squirted milk all over the top of each cupcake. Since you don’t want the milk to over flow you have to squirt the milk over the cupcakes a few times and let it soak in each time. I did have about a ½ of a cup of the milk mixture left over. My advice? Soak the hell out of them because the cake is dense and needs the extra moisture and flavor from the milks.

Whip cream and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. Use a cookie scoop to top each cupcake, and then use a spoon to make an indent. Add chopped strawberries to the whipped cream “well” and then drizzle with caramel syrup.