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Rose & Pistachio Milk Cake

A milk cake, or tres leches, is a light and soft sponge cake immersed in a mixture of three milks. It originates from Latin America and is traditionally made with cinnamon or fresh fruit. Ironically the cake is made without butter or oil, which surprises me every time because of how soft and rich it tases.

It is so decadent and melts in your mouth with every bite. I’ve had my fair shares of milk cakes from cafes and bakeries, and I thought it was finally time to perfect my own recipe. I decided to put my own twist with a rose and pistachio flavored cake.

I use rose syrup, vanilla extract and cardamom powder to bring in rich and aromatic flavors to the cake.

Once the cake is baked, I poke holes into the cake and immerse it with a trio of milks - heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. And after sitting in the fridge overnight, the cake becomes deliciously moist and just melts in your mouth.

I also add rose syrup to my homemade whipped cream topping. Homemade whip cream is one of the easiest things to make, even if you don’t have a handheld mixer. My trick is to use a mason jar, fill it ⅔’s with your mix and keep shaking until it becomes thick and fluffy. I also like to add in a few drops of pink food color to give it a rose-y color.

I love making this cake for dinner parties as it can be made up to 2 days in advance and it tastes better as each day goes by. I prefer cutting it into squares and then decorating. You can customize the toppings to your liking but I love adding crushed rose buds and chopped pistachios for a salty touch. It is best enjoyed served cold!

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon rose water

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for Milk Mix:

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 - 8 oz can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 - 8 oz can evaporated milk

  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Ingredients for Rose Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon rose water

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

  • Pink food color (optional)

  • Toppings (optional) : edible rose petals, crushed pistachios, sliced almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Whisk together the 6 egg whites until peaks form. Add in one yolk at a time until well combined.

  3. Add sugar, rose water, and vanilla and mix well.

  4. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom powder.

  5. Combine the dry mixture into the wet mixture, mix well. Then add the whole milk and mix everything together.

  6. Alternating between the dry ingredients and whole milk, combine together with the liquid.

  7. Pour batter into a well greased pan and bake for 28-30 minutes.

  8. While the cake is baking, mix together heavy cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and rose water.

  9. Using a straw or toothpick, peirce holes into the top of the cake and pour over half of the milk mixture. Let the cake sit for 30 minutes in the fridge and then pour the rest of the mixture.

  10. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

  11. While the cake is refrigerating, make your whip cream topping. Whisk together the heavy whipping cream, vanilla, rose water, and sugar. Optional: add in 2-3 drops of pink food color.

  12. Spread the whip cream on the cake and top with edible rose petals, crushed pistachios, or sliced almonds.

  13. Serve cold and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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