Pistachio Cardamom Tres Leches Cake

Pistachio cardamom Tres leches cake, a fluffy sponge cake that is oozing with an aromatic cardamon and saffron milk syrup and is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and crunchy pistachios!

pistachio cardamom tres leches cake

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About This Recipe

This pistachio cardamom Tres leches cake is made up of three components, a fluffy sponge cake base, a delicious and aromatic cardamon and saffron milk syrup, and a light-as-air whipped cream frosting.

The sponge cake base is a very simple recipe that I use for all my Tres leches cakes, it’s quick and fool-proof. But instead of using only vanilla extract in the cake, I also added some ground cardamom, which can also be substituted for cardamom extract.

The milk syrup is made up of whole milk, condensed milk, heavy cream, ground cardamom and saffron. Typically a traditional Tres leches is made with evaporated milk instead of heavy cream, but I found that is quite difficult to find in a lot of places, so I always use heavy cream in all my Tres Leches. If you want you could always use evaporated milk instead. Did I mention how delicious this syrup is! I could honestly just drink it as is!

The whipped cream also has a very little amount of ground cardamom in it, but this is optional. And to top it all of, a generous sprinkle of chopped pistachios!

This pistachio cardamom Tres leches cake has to be my favorite Tres leches cake that I have EVER made, then the Turkish Trileçe (A Tres leches that has a layer of caramel on top!) of course!

This cake is kind of like a Rasmalai Tres leches cake! It has all the flavors of Rasmalai, cardamon, saffron, and pistachios! What is Rasmalai?

What You Need To Make This Recipe

Whole milk: it’s best to use whole milk for this recipe to achieve a creamy milk bath for the cake.

Condensed milk: you really can get a good Tres leches without condensed milk, but I did talk about how to make Tres leches without condensed milk, in this post.

Heavy cream: this is needed for the milk bath, and the topping. Make sure your heavy cream is cold and has a fat percentage of 35% or higher, or else it will not whip into stiff peaks.

Flour: all you need is regular all-purpose flour. In fact all my cake recipe are made using Ap flour.

Granulated sugar: this is for sweetening the sponge cake.

Vegetable oil: use a flavorless oil like canola or sunflower oil.

Baking powder: this is the rising agent that makes sponge cakes super fluffy. Ensure your baking powder is not expired.

Eggs: use room-temperature eggs for the perfect sponge cake.

Ground cardamon: use good quality cardamon powder for the most intense flavor. You could easily make some at home, see how here!

Saffron: this is an optional, but highly recommended ingredient.

How To Make Pistachio Cardamom Tres Leches Cake

Let’s go through the step-by-step processes of making this delacacy!

Make The Sponge Cake:

Step 1: Beat the egg whites with sugar and salt until stiff peaks form, which usually takes 5-6 minutes with an electric mixer. Doing this by hand is possible but will require much more time and effort, leaving your arm sore!

Step 2: In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Whisk in water, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Then sift in the all-purpose flour and baking powder and whisk to combine.

Step 3: Incorporate 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture by folding. Next, gently fold the entire egg yolk mixture into the remaining meringue until fully combined. Spread the batter into a lined 8 x 8 inch square baking pan, and bake at 180 °C / 350 °F for 25-30 minutes. Once bake let the cake cool down completely.

Make the Milk Bath:

Step 4: Combine warm milk, condensed milk, heavy cream, ground cardamom, and saffron in a bowl. Give it a good mix and set it aside.

Make the Whipped Cream Topping:

Step 5: Beat cold heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, about 7-8 minutes. Optionally, add ground cardamom for extra flavor.

Assembly:

Step 6: Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour all of the milk syrup over the cake and let that soak for 5-10 minutes.

Step 7: Spread on the whipped cream frosting and top with chopped pistachios. I spread a small amount of the whipped cream over the cake then used a piping bag and a round tip to pipe the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake. Also be generous with the pistachios. they really elevate this cake to a whole new level!

Step 8: Refrigerate the pistachio cardamom Tres leches cake for at least 2 hours before serving. See storing instructions below.

Storing/Freezing The Pistachio Cardamon Tres Leches Cake

You could make cinnamon roll tres leches cake 1-2 days in advance. I usually make it a night before so the cake has plenty of time for the milk to soak up.

Freezing: If you’re planning to freeze the cake it’s best to add the milk syrup, whipped cream cheese frosting after thawing the cake. Wrap the sponge cake in two layers of plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator and add the milk syrup and toppings.

Pro Tips

  • Measure the dry and wet ingredients properly. For the flour spoon it into a measuring cup and level it using the back of a spoon.
  • Cold eggs are easier into whites and yolks, so separate them and then let them come to room temperature before using.
  • Use a spatula to fold the egg whites and egg yolk mixture. Once fully incorporated stop mixing, be very careful not to overmix otherwise your cake will deflate. This is because the cake relies on the volume of the eggs to rise.
  • If you’re really short on time, chill the cake for at least 30 min. The longer the cake rests the more flavorful it will be.
  • Baking in a glass or ceramic baking dish is best to get a nice rise on the cake, plus you could serve it just as it is.
  • Use a clean bowl when whipping the egg whites.
  • If you have cardamom extract, definitely use that in the cake instead of ground cardamom.
  • Bake the cake immediately after you make the batter, don’t let it sit around for too long.
Pistachio Cardamom Tres Leches Cake

FAQ’s

How can I make homemade ground cardamom?

Making ground cardamom at home is very easy! Into a spice blender add in a couple of cardamom pods, about 10-15, along with 2-3 teaspoons of granulated. Pulse this into a fine powder and you’re all done!

Why did my sponge cake deflate?

When sponge cakes cool, it’s normal for them to deflate a little, but if it’s deflated too much then this can be caused by several reasons: overmixing the batter, baking in an oven that’s too hot or cold, or even opening the oven to quickly.

Can I use store-bought whipped cream for the topping?

Absolutely, if that works for you, then go right ahead!

Pistachio Cardamom Tres Leches Cake

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Pistachio Cardamom Tres Leches Cake

pistachio cardamom tres leches cake

Pistachio cardamom Tres leches, a fluffy sponge cake that is oozing with an aromatic cardamon and saffron milk syrup and is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and crunchy pistachios!

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 25min

Total Time: 2 hrs. 55 min (includes chill time)

Course: Dessert

Servings: 10-12

Calories: 392kcal

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Ingredients

For the sponge cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks, room temp.
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, separated into 1/2 and 1/4 cups (150g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp. water, room temp.
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour (140g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

For the milk bath:

  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120ml)
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk (120ml)
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp saffron

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold (240ml)
  • 2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom *optional

Other ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped

Equipment/Utensils

  • 1 large bowl
  • 2 medium bowls
  • 1 small bowl
  • Electric hand/stand mixer
  • Spatula
  • 8 x 8 inch square baking dish

Instructions

Sponge Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F, and grease and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and salt. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Beat to combine. Sift in all-purpose flour, ground cardamom, and baking powder, then beat/whisk until fully incorporated.
  4. Incorporate 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture by folding. Next, gently fold the entire egg yolk mixture into the remaining meringue until fully combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, let the cake cool down completely in the pan.

Milk Bath & Whipped Cream

  1. While the cake cools, prepare the milk bath. In a medium sized bowl combine warm milk, heavy cream, condensed milk, ground cardamom, and saffron. Give the ingredients a good mix and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine cold heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and ground cardamom. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 7-8 minutes.

Assembly

  1. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper from the bottom. Flip the cake over and place it back into the baking dish. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over the cake.
  2. Pour all of the milk bath prepared earlier onto the cake and let that soak for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Spread on a small amount of the whipped cream frosting all over the cake. Transfer the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
  4. Pipe the remaining frosting over the cake as shown in the pic. (You could also just spread all the frosting over the cake without any piping.)
  5. Finally sprinkle the entire cake generously with chopped pistachios. Refrigerate the pistachio cardamom Tres leches cake for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 391.96kcal

Total Fat: 21.52g

Carbs: 41.73g

Sugars: 29.86g

Protein: 9.31g

Sodium: 241.81mg

Fibers: 0.88g

** Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more. **

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