A fun spin on a popular Indian flavor Combo – Saffron Pistachio Milk Cake Indian / Kesar Pista Tres Leches Cake
This is an Indian milk cake recipe taking inspiration from Kesar Pista which is a popular Indian ice cream flavor. It is a favorite combo in my home and I have an alternate recipe for Kesar Pista cupcakes up as well. The idea for a saffron milk cake Indian influenced came from Kesar Doodh or Saffron Milk which I also have posted as a recipe.
I combined the inspiration of Kesar Pista flavor with tres leches cake. The saffron milk cake entails making an eggless pistachio cake using ground roasted pistachios. Then, making and pouring saffron infused milk using three types of milk. I topped the cake with whipped cream. The result is a delicious cake with a beautiful taste and aroma of saffron.
If you want to top the cake with something different: Check out this pistachio and rose frosting recipe!
Making the Saffron Indian Milk Cake – Size of Pan Needed
I have used an 8X8 square pan. This cake is a bit heavy to eat with the three types of milk it is soaked in. So, I have found this size works well.
You could also double the recipe to make a two layer cake and use two 8X8 cake pans.
How to make this Saffron flavored Indian Milk Cake
At a high level making this cake entails:
- Pistachio cake: Roasting and grinding pistachios to make an eggless pistachio cake
- Saffron Milk: Mixing 3 types of milk (tres leches inspired) with cardamom and blooming saffron in it
- Saffron milk cake: After the cake is cooled, poke holes in it with a toothpick so the milk can flow throughout. Pour the saffron milk on the cake and let it absorb.
- Top and garnish: Either make your own fresh whipped cream or use store bought to frost the cake. Garnish with roasted pistachios, rose petals and a few saffron flakes.
- Let set: MOST IMPORTANT give the cake time to set up. I love the texture best when the cake has been covered overnight and sets in the fridge until the next day. Without enough time to set, the cake will set up as well.
Ideas to make vegan saffron milk cake
This cake uses whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk. In order to make it vegan, here are some ideas:
- Coconut condensed milk
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
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Kesar Pista Milk Cake – Indian Milk Cake – Saffron Milk Cake
- 8×8 cake pan or cupcake pan
- Mixing bowl
- 1 cup all purpose flour 125 g
- 3/4 cup sugar 160 g – sifted
- 1/2 cup butter 4 oz/113 g – softened (or vegan substitute Earth Balance)
- 1 cup roasted pistachios ground finely 110 g – I left some chunks in the mix, optional per taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2.5 ml
- 1 tsp almond extract 5 ml
- 1/4 tsp salt 2 g
- 2 tsp baking power 8 g
- 1 cup whole milk 8 oz or soy milk (sugar free)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 15 ml – white vinegar can be substituted
- 6 oz heavy cream
- 5 oz condensed milk
- 5 oz evaporated milk
- ¼ cup sugar 53g
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cardamom
- generous pinch of saffron crushed it prior to adding to milk
- ¼ cup sugar 53g
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Making the pistachio cake
- Roast pistachios and grind into powder. Use 2 tbsp of the flour while grinding to prevent pistachio mixture from becoming pasty.
- Sift together all dry ingredients except sugar.
- Mix milk with vinegar.
- Beat butter on medium until creamy. Slowly beat in sugar until all is incorporated. Beat in extracts.
- Alternating between dry ingredients and milk, slowly beat into butter/sugar mixture until all is combined.
- Heat oven to 350F and pour into 8×8 cake pan. Line with parchment if you would like to move the cake easily prior to serving. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Check with toothpick to ensure fully baked. Let cool completely before icing so they set up properly.
- Then poke many holes with tooth pick so saffron milk can soak into the cake.
- Make saffron milk by heating milk and adding saffron and cardamom. Let bloom for 15-20 minutes. Mix in with large milk batch.
Putting it together – saffron milk cake
- Once cake has cooled, pour saffron milk all over cake. Cover and let sit to soak a few minutes.
- Whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract on high with a whisk for a few minutes to make fresh whipped cream.If using store bought whipped cream, let it come to room temperature so it is easier to spread.
- Top cake with whipped cream. Garnish with pistachios, rose petals and a few saffron strands.
- Cover cake and allow time for cake to set up and absorb milk. Ideally leave it in fridge overnight prior to serving the next day.