Rose Cardamom Tres Leches | Abeer’s Day Off

Does anyone really need a reason for dessert? In this week’s episode of Abeer’s Day Off, I’m sharing one of my favorite go-to desserts, but with a bit of a twist-Rose Cardamom Tres Leches. Whatever the occasion or whether the number of guests is 2 or 20, you’ll be reaching for this recipe all the time! Check out the episode and all the details below!

Tres Leches was always a favorite of mine, but it was a recipe that intimidated me. I left it to the bakeries who’ve been making it for generations whenever I wanted to indulge on a slice. Eventually dessert catering and supper club motivated me to own up and make this on my own. I stuck to making it traditionally, only varying the types of fruit I layered with the cake. But for my most recent supper club, I took a chance mixing in some of my favorite Middle Eastern flavors and it was such a hit! So much that it had to be an episode on it’s own for Abeer’s Day Off.

Tres Leches is a sponge cake soaked with…you guessed it, 3 types of milk. It’s topped with whipped cream and occasionally garnished with fruit. The milks give the cake a custard-like texture, setting this dessert apart from any other cake. And although I do enjoy making desserts, technical recipes aren’t always my favorite-so I take a little shortcut with this one. I use a boxed yellow cake mix to reduce a few of the steps, but by the time it’s spiced up with all the extra additions, no one would know. But if you love baking or have an amazing cake recipe, by all means use your favorite method for making a good old-fashioned yellow cake.

The cake is transformed and takes on a warm and earthy flavor when ground cardamom is added to the mix. Cardamom also teams up with rose water to make the milk mixture sing floral and spice notes throughout the cake. Fresh whipped cream, raspberries, and pistachios complement the rose and cardamom without overbearing them. These subtle additions make this Tres Leches take on a whole new flavor profile, while still being true to it’s roots.


You can soak your entire cake like Tres Leches is typically made or make individual servings in cups like I’ve made it below. You can change up the fruit depending on season and make this recipe your own. Either way, keep this recipe handy as I see it becoming a regular for many of you! Enjoy!

Check out the recipe below!



Rose Cardamom Tres Leches

Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours (total)     Yields: 6-8 servings


  • Yellow cake (box or recipe)
  • Ingredients needed for cake (eggs, oil, water, etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Milk Mixture*:

  • 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1-2 tablespoons rose water


  • 2 cups (16 oz) heavy whipping cream
  • 2-4 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • fresh raspberries
  • chopped pistachios


Cake: Preheat your oven. Mix the cake ingredients according to your recipe. Incorporate the ground cardamom into the cake mix and bake your cake according to the instructions. If you’re breaking up the cake to display in cups, baking on a sheet pan makes the cake bake the fastest and makes it easy to break up into small pieces.

Milk Mixture: Combine all the ingredients for the milk mixture into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout. Set this aside.

*Note: If you are keeping the cake whole, this milk mixture will be enough for the cake. If you are displaying the cake into cups, this milk recipe will be enough for about 6-8 cups and you will have about half of the cake leftover. If you want to use up all the cake, you will need to double the recipe of milk and you will have about twice the servings.

Whipped Cream: When making whipped cream, it is ideal that everything is cold. The heavy cream, the bowl, and even the whisk attachment for your electronic mixer all help make the cream whip faster if they’re all chilled.

Pour your cold heavy whipping cream into a chilled stainless steel bowl. Using a whisk attachment on your electronic mixer, whip the heavy cream on a low setting until it slightly thickens. Raise the speed to medium/high until the the whipped cream reaches stiff peaks, adding the sugar in small increments. Put the whipped cream into a piping bag or ziploc bag and store in the fridge.

Building the Tres Leches: Break up the pieces of cake and stack them into whatever type of cups you like. 6-8 ounce glasses work best. Lightly pack the cake into the cups. Pour the milk mixture over each cup of cake just until it reaches the top of the cake. Allow your cakes to soak in the milk mixture for at least 1-2 hours. You can soak them overnight as well if you want to make this in advance.

Plating: When you are ready to serve, pipe the whipped cream onto each cup of Tres Leches and top with fruit and chopped pistachios. Best served chilled!




17 thoughts

  1. Hands down the best cake I’ve ever made! Family and friends absolutely loved it. Thank you your sharing this recipe.

  2. This looks delicious! My SO has a chronic condition that makes it difficult for him to digest many foods, so we’ve been looking to other cultures to find things with flavor that won’t hurt him! This looks delicious and we plan to try it tonight! Hopefully it becomes another recipe for our box! Thanks!!!

  3. Hello from another Tres Leches fanatic! 🙂
    Yours looks gorgeous – I usually go for the good ol’ vanilla Tres Leches I might try to incorporate some exciting flavours into mine too . Thank you for the inspiration !

    1. Yay! Isn’t it just one of the best?! I think it lends itself so well to other flavors and you can change it up season to season. Hope you come up with some delicious combos! 🙂

  4. Looks great! I love that you suggested a boxed cake mix, my mom always says they’ve spent millions perfecting those. I can’t wait to try this!

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