Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake

Rasmalai Tres Leches cake is the ultimate dessert mashup of Indian Rasmalai and Mexican Tres Leches cake!! Cardamom scented creamy ricotta whipped cream slathered on a sponge cake that is soaked in saffron infused milk.

a slice of indian tres leches cake served on a black plate

What is Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake?

It is a creative mashup of Rasmalai sweet and Tres leches cake – A cardamom scented sponge cake is soaked with the saffron and cardamom flavored three milks. It is then topped with a homemade ricotta whipped frosting.

This saffron milk cake has been consistently been one of our most popular recipes – It is truly the best Indian tres leches cake recipes that you will ever make!

If you love this cake, then you might fall in love with Tiramisu Tres Leches Cake <—- Another creative mashup of Italian Tiramisu and Mexican Tres Leches!

Few of our reader feed backs:

“This was the best cake i could ever make. I have recently started baking and your recipe is truly awesome. The way you explained every single step is so informative and easy to follow. As soon as the cake was ready to serve, it got vanished. All credit goes to you for creating this master piece 😘😘😘😘”

“Made this cake for eid for my in-laws and it went down so quick, thank you very much for this detailed explanation and directions. It tasted amazing, best cake I’ve made”

“I finally made the cake and it turned out delicious! Thank you for all your tips, detailed instructions and prompt replies to my queries!!”

How to make Rasmalai Cake?

This Rasmalai  tres leches cake is not an easy, one bowl kinda cake – It takes two days to make.

First day —> Bake cake. Soak cake with saffron milk. Make ricotta cream.

Second day —> Make ricotta cardamom whipped cream. Finish cake. 

Don’t you worry. I have included a lot of pictures to guide you along the way. You are all set to make your new favorite cake for birthdays, holidays, parties, get togethers or anytime you wanna celebrate. 

More details:

You will need a 9 by 13 inch pan. Or the same recipe in two 8 by 8 inch (round/square) pans to make two cakes. 

FIRST DAY:

  1. It is easier to seperate eggs when they are cold. So remove eggs and seperate ’em and leave aside to come to room temperature (1-2 hours before making cake). Remember it is easier to seperate eggs when they are cold whereas room temperature eggs whip to full volume. (refer picture above –  left)
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form (refer picture above – middle)
  4. With clean beaters, beat yolks and sugar until very think (refer picture above – right)

5. Add milk ( straight out of the refrigerator is ok ) (refer picture above – middle)

6. Beat for about 30 seconds, until well combined. (refer picture above – right)

7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whisked dry ingredients in two additions (refer picture below – left)

8. Gently fold in whipped egg whites in three additions, taking care not to loose all that air. Pour batter into a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. (refer picture below – right)

9. When is baking, heat 1 and 1/2 cups milk in stove top or microwave. Take off heat, when it comes to a boil. Stir in saffron and let milk cool to room temperature. Mix along with sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. 

10. When cake is cooled, poke holes all over cake with a tooth pick (refer picture above – right). Gently pour milk all over cake, cover pan with a foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

10. Make ricotta whipped cream – Boil milk, cream and salt. Stir in vinegar to curdle and strain in a cheesecloth (refer picture below – left). Refrigerate until second day. 

SECOND DAY 

11. Beat ricotta, heavy cream, sugar and cardamom powder until it gets thick. (refer picture below – right)

12. Remove soaked cake from refrigerator ( refer picture below – left) and spread ricotta cardamom whipped cream on top (refer picture below – right). 

13. Store cake in refrigerator. Leftovers can be stored in the same pan for up to 3 days. 

Tips and tricks in making the cardamom Tres Leches cake:

  • Room temperature eggs – room temperature eggs whip to full volume when compared to cold eggs. But, eggs are easier to be separated when cold. So seperate cold eggs and leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours before making cake. 
  • Use freshly ground cardamom powder. It makes a huge difference! Grind about 1/4 cup green cardamoms in a dry grinder, until finely ground. Excess cardamom powder can be stored in a zip lock bag and placed in the freezer for months. 
  • Fold egg whites without loosing much of the air – We need all those tine air bubbles intact to soak up the sweet saffron milk. 
  • Make a creamy ricotta – please follow instructions to the dot, to get a smooth, creamy ricotta. 

Frequently asked questions:

Can I substitute store bought ricotta instead ?

NO. This ricotta is made with lots of cream and uses a very gently separation method to produce a fresh ricotta. Store bought ones will never come close. 

How to make ras malai?

Soft, spongy dumplings made out of fresh cooked paneer (aka ricotta) is boiled in a thin sugar syrup until doubled in volume. These dumplings are then soaked in sweet saffron infused milk for several hours. The dumplings are severed with the milk and garnished with chopped pistachios. 

What is Tres Leches Cake? 

“Tres Leches” means three milks. A sponge cake is soaked with 3 types of milk ( authentic tres leches cake recipe includes sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk) and then topped with whipped cream. It is very popular in Mexico and Latin America.
This cake is unlike any other cake that you will eat. Dripping with sweet milk, it is so soft and moist. 

Can this be made into a layered cake?

Unfortunately, this rasmalai cake recipe is too soft to be made into layer cakes.

Is there a substitute for cream of tarter?

Though I haven’t used it personally, fresh lemon juice / white vinegar is a common replacement for cream of tarter. You will need 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice/vinegar for the 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter.

Storage instructions:

The cake can refrigerated (wrap the baking pan tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap) for up to 4 days.

Keeping track of all the cake recipes? Check out Carrot Walnut Cake

a metal sheet pan with decorated rasmalai cake and garnished with chopped pistachios

More Mexican recipes: 

Mexican spiced chicken

Chickpea Taco Meal Prep Bowls

Avocado Jalapeno Crema 

Spicy Chicken Ranch Quesadillas  

Chicken Burrito Meal Prep

Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning 

a metal baking pan with rasmalai cake and a slice served on a white bowls along with 2 forks for eating.
a slice of moist rasmalai tres leches cake on a black serving plate

If you love this saffron tres leches cake, then you might also love these recipes:

Mango Kulfi 

Kulfi 

Mango Mug Cake

Orange Walnut Cake

Zucchini Cardamom Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze

Kulfi Ice Cream Cake

Kulfi Overnight Oats 

More creative Indian recipes 

rasmalai tres leches cake
Print Recipe
4.11 from 29 votes

Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake

Cardamom scented creamy ricotta whipped cream slathered on a sponge cake that is soaked in saffron infused milks! Rasmalai Tres Leches cake is the ultimate dessert mashup of Indian rasmalai and Mexican Tres Leches cake. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Author: Maria Doss

Ingredients

Cardamom Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

Saffron milk

  • 2 healthy pinches saffron threads
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 of 14 ounce can)

Ricotta cream

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/4 tablespoons white vinegar

Ricotta cardamom whipped cream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cardamom powder

Additional ingredient (optional)

  • chopped raw pistachios

Instructions

FIRST DAY

    Make cardamom cake

    • Seperate eggs and place egg whites in a medium bowl and yolks in a large bowl and let come to room temperature, for about 1-2 hours.  (Eggs straight of out of the refrigerator are easier to to seperate when compared to room temperature eggs)
    • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 
    • Whisk together all purpose flour, baking powder, cardamom powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. 
    • Using a hand held electric beater, beat eggs whites and cream of tarter for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Set bowl aside, Rinse and dry beaters thoroughly. 
    • Using the hand held electric beater, beat egg yolks for about 2 minutes, until thick. Add sugar in 3 batches and continue to beat for about 4 more minutes, until thick and falls back as ribbons when beater is lifted. Add milk and beat for a few seconds, until mixed well. 
    • Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in flour mixture in 2 additions. 
      Then, fold in beaten egg whites in 3 additions. (be gentle while folding the whites we don’t want to loose all that air). 
    • Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread batter into an even layer. 
      Bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. 
    • Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. 

    Make saffron milk

    • When the cake is baking, make safron milk.
    • Let milk come to a boil (either on a stove top or microwave). Take off heat and stir in saffron. Let cool to room temperature. 
    • Mix cooled saffron milk, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk together until thoroughly combined. 

    Soak cake with saffron milk

    • When cake has cooled completely,  poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick (this will help in the milk seeping into the cake and make it ultra moist).
    • Gently pour saffron milk, all over the cake making sure it is even (else, the cake some part of the cake might be dry when another part is dripping with too much milk). 
      Cover pan with a foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or overnight. 

    Make ricotta cream

    • Combine milk, cream and salt in a non-stick sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off stove immediately. Stir in vinegar and let stand for exactly 5 minutes. 
    • Meanwhile, spread cheesecloth or thin kitchen towel on a strainer and place over a bowl. After 5 minutes, pour curdled milk into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let stand for 2 hours, until all whey is separated. Transfer ricotta into a covered container and store in the refrigerator overnight. 

    SECOND DAY

      Make ricotta cardamom whipped cream

      • Place ricotta in a large bowl and beat with a hand held electric beater for about 2 minutes on high to make it creamy (the beater might struggle a little since the ricotta is thick, but just keep it moving around). 
      • Add heavy cream, sugar and cardamom powder and continue to beat until thick frosting consistency. 

      Finish rasmalai tres leches cake

      • Spread ricotta cardamom whipped cream on top of the cake and spread evenly. You can leave as is or swirl around with a clean spoon (to make it like the pictures) or use your favorite method of decorating. 
      • Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top, if required. 
      • Cover pan with a plastic wrap or foil and store in refrgearator. 
      • Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake needs to be always stored in the refrigeartor. 

      Notes

      • Room temperature eggs – room temperature eggs whip to full volume when compared to cold eggs. But, eggs are easier to be separated when cold. So seperate cold eggs and leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours before making cake. 
      • Use freshly ground cardamom powder. It makes a huge difference! Grind about 1/4 cup green cardamoms in a dry grinder, until finely ground. Excess cardamom powder can be stored in a zip lock bag and placed in the freezer for months. 
      • Try to fold egg whites without loosing much of the air. We need all those tine air bubbles intact to soak up the sweet saffron milk. 
      • Make a creamy ricotta – please follow instructions to the dot, to get a smooth, creamy ricotta. 
      • Can you substitute store bought ricotta instead ? NO. This ricotta is made with lots of cream and uses a very gently separation method to produce a fresh ricotta. Store bought ones will never come close. 

      All contents and images are my original work, unless and otherwise mentioned. Please do not use my recipes or images without linking back to www.kitchenathoskins.com. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite in your own words and don’t forget to include a link back to the original recipe.

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      38 Comments

      1. 5 stars
        This cake was a huge hit at our family Raksha Bandhan party! The instructions are perfect. I did cut back on the sugar by about 25% over all, but it was still delicious. Everyone said it tasted exactly like actual ras malai. I will probably be making this again!

      2. 5 stars
        Love this recipe! I would suggest not buttering the cake pan and letting the cake cool upside down. Buttering the cake pan makes it shrink as it’s a sponge cake, and hanging it upside down to cool will make sure it doesn’t deflate.

        1. Thank you Lola, I think not buttering the cake pan is a wonderful idea, since that is a proven method for all sponge cakes. However, cooling the cake upside might run the risk of cake collapsing down since we are working with a large pan.
          Sincerely appreciate your feedback, I have updated the recipe 🙂

      3. 5 stars
        Dear Maria this was the best cake i could ever make. I have recently started baking and your recipe is truly awesome. The way you explained every single step is so informative and easy to follow. As soon as the cake was ready to serve, it got vanished. All credit goes to you for creating this master piece 😘😘😘😘

      4. 5 stars
        Made this cake for eid for my in-laws and it went down so quick, thank you very much for this detailed explanation and directions. It tasted amazing, best cake I’ve made.

      5. Dear Maria,
        I baked this cake for my hubby’s birthday yesterday and we felt it is the best cake we have had. Awesome recipe and your detailed steps made it so easy – prepared it in two days as you suggested. Thanks a lot!!

      6. Can I make the ricotta Cream and then turn it into frosting on the same day? Or does it have to sit in the fridge overnight?

        1. Hi Yus, The ricotta is refrigerated for two reasons :
          1. It thickens further
          2. It gets it very cold which in turns results in a much better ricotta whipped cream
          Hope it helps:)

      7. I followed the exact directions for the ricotta cream, but after I strained it, it remained all liquidy. It didn’t turn into ricotta at all. I don’t know where I went wrong?!

        1. In step-1 of making ricotta cream, the whey and ricotta should have separated.
          There might be two possible reasons for not separating –
          1. The cream wasn’t hot enough
          2. There was not enough acidity
          However, it is very easy to fix the problem. You turn on the stove again and keep it on low heat, the cream will begin to curdle. If it still doesn’t in a few minutes, then add 1 or 2 more teaspoon vinegar.
          Hope it helps:)

          1. Yes. I put it back on the stove and brought it to a boil again and added more vinegar. I needed more than what was stated here for some reason. But in the end it worked out just fine. Since I needed the cake done tonight, I quickly freezed the ricotta cream for an hour and then whipped it into frosting. Really loved how the frosting turned out! Thank you!

      8. Hello! I really want to make this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday this week, Rasmalai is his favorite! What kind of vinegar do you recommend?

      9. Hi Maria, This recipe is exactly what I was looking for! Could you please tell me what brand of heavy cream to buy for this recipe? Have recently moved to India and am struggling to find heavy cream especially to frost cakes etc

        TIA

          1. Thank you Maria for getting back. I am only able to find the low fat (25%) Amul fresh cream, not the whipping cream. Would that work for this recipe?
            Is there a source you recommend for Amul whipping cream (am in Bengaluru)? Planning to make this cake this weekend for a special birthday so thank you for all your tips!

            1. Hi Anuja, Since I live in the US and use products from here, I am not able assist you with experience.
              However, I found this video which might be of help to you – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjMLzgYxWe4
              Also while making the cake, I think you can use the 25% fresh cream in place of heavy whipping cream without running into any issues. The Final ricotta whipped cream on top might not be as firm, but will still work.
              Hope it helps and enjoy your party:)

              1. Hi, I am going to try making this starting today for Saturday but I don’t have cream of tater, is there a substitute I can use?

              2. Hi Sherm, Though I haven’t used it personally, fresh lemon juice / white vinegar is a common replacement for cream of tarter. You will need 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice/vinegar for the 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter.
                Hope it helps:)

          2. 5 stars
            Hi Maria, I finally made the cake and it turned out delicious! Thank you for all your tips, detailed instructions and prompt replies to my queries!!

      10. Thanks for the detailed recipe Maria. Can I leave the cake after frosting in the fridge uncovered? If yes, then for how long? My cake reached all the way to the top of my pan, so will be hard to cover it with frosting on, without damaging the frosting.

        1. That should not be a problem for up to a day. Just make sure that there is else open (or partially sealed) in the fridge that the cake might pick up smell from (like onion, yogurt, idli batter,…). Hope it helps:)

          1. Thanks for your reply. I could keep the decorated cake in the fridge uncovered for about 4 hours and it didn’t effect the texture of taste of the cake (I was careful about no smelly open things, and put a bowl of baking soda in the fridge for a good measure). This recipe came out so wonderfully!! Not overwhelmingly sweet at all. All the guests raved about it. I didn’t have cream to combine with saffron milk, so skipped it. I used 6oz condensed milk instead of 7 oz. Also cut down sugar to 1/2 cup in whipped cream. I used heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream as that’s what I had. The cake needed about 26 minutes in my oven for the center to be cooked. I have made tres leches cake before, but now this is going to be my go to version. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

      11. 5 stars
        Thanks for your reply. I could keep the decorated cake in the fridge uncovered for about 4 hours and it didn’t effect the texture of taste of the cake (I was careful about no smelly open things, and put a bowl of baking soda in the fridge for a good measure). This recipe came out so wonderfully!! Not overwhelmingly sweet at all. All the guests raved about it. I didn’t have cream to combine with saffron milk, so skipped it. I used 6oz condensed milk instead of 7 oz. Also cut down sugar to 1/2 cup in whipped cream. I used heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream as that’s what I had. The cake needed about 26 minutes in my oven for the center to be cooked. I have made tres leches cake before, but now this is going to be my go to version. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

      12. 5 stars
        Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.

      13. 5 stars
        Thanks a lot Maria, it’s exactly what I was looking for. Since Rasmalai is a total disaster for me all the time I tried, this substitutes it so well. Thanks a lot. This recipe is going miles 😀

      14. Hi Maria –

        I made this cake earlier this year, and it was AMAZING! I want to make this for my in-laws, however she only has a 9 inch spring form. do you think I could alter this recipe to work? Maybe 1/2 the recipe?

        1. Hi Monica, Half the recipe will work in a 9-inch springform pan, however when you have to soak the cake with three milks, you run the risk of milk seeping out through the edges. So, I will HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT USING A SPRINGFORM PAN !! Any 8 or 9 inch glass or metal pan without removable bottom is suggested. Hope it helps, happy holidays:)

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