Saffron & pistachio tres leches cake

Tres leches cake is a mexican ‘3 milk’ cake. It consists of a soft sponge, topped with 3 types of milk: condensed, evaporated and normal milk/ cream. I have added my own spin to add some middle eastern flavours to this.


For the flavoured saffron & cardamom milk:

  • A few strands of saffron
  • 12 cardamom pods, cut in half
  • 200ml whole milk

For the cake:

  • 300g butter (at room temperature)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs (whisked together)
  • 100ml of the saffron & cardamom milk above
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence (or paste- I use a bit of both)
  • 300g self raising flour

For the milk topping:

  • 100ml of the flavoured saffron & cardamom milk (see above)
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 100ml evaporated milk

For the pistachio cream:

  • 200g fresh pistachios (out of shell)
  • 50ml oil (plain oil such as rapeseed or vegetable)
  • 200ml double cream
  • 100g icing sugar
  • Dash of vanilla extract

To decorate: (optional)

  • Pistachios, chopped
  • Pomegranate
  • Berries
  • Rose petals
  • Dried berries


  1. Start by making the flavoured milk. In a pan add the whole milk, saffron and cardamom pods. Bring to a boil. Then keep in the pan with the heat off for about 15 minutes to infuse. Leave to cool then strain.

2. For the cake, preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

3. Line a cake tin with some butter. I used a round circular cake tin.

4. Start by creaming together the butter and sugar until soft.

5. Then add in the eggs, little by little until all mixed together.

6. Then add in 100ml of the flavoured cooled saffron milk and vanilla extract and mix.

7. Finally add the flour to make a cake batter. You will need to add this in little by little again to ensure it is well incorporated.

8. Put the cake batter in the tin and bake for 25 minutes.

9. Check it is cooked by using a cocktail stick- it should come out of the cake clean and dry. If it is still wet then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until cooked.

10. Mix together the remaining saffron milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk.

11. Using a skewer or fork, pierce the cake several times.

12. Pour the 3 milks over the cake whilst still in the tin. Make sure you are pouring it evenly everywhere.

13. In a blender, add the pistachios and oil, until a vibrant green paste. You can keep this in a sterile jar for the future.

14. Whisk a few tbsp of this with the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla until in peaks. Start off with just a bit of the paste and cream and mix well, before adding the rest of the cream and sugar. It should be a lovely green colour.

15. Once, the cake is cool, take out of the tin.

16. Pipe/ spread on the cream and add the toppings.

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