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Falooda Tres Leches Cake

I am looking forward to all the festivals this year, more so because they'll be Alia’s (A) 1st...well for most of them anyway. Mothers Day and Ramadan are both approaching soon. For Mother’s Day i've told Zaheer (Z) what exactly I want...hehe (one of them is to make me this recipe). Also, this year's Ramadan, will hold an extra special meaning for us both. While writing this, I can imagine A sitting next to us during prayers...hopefully she sits quietly though (ants in her pants, I’m telling ya!). I am so excited and looking forward to carrying on and teaching her all the traditions passed on to us by our parents. During this festive month, all muslims fast during the day and break the fast after sunset prayers. It's a bummer not being with the extended family during the holy month, but I do have fond memories of going for prayers to the mosque with my family...i’d always sit beside dadima (grandma). The prayers were recited in Arabic, but I was never good with reading Arabic so dadima would help me recite them. Hopefully A will be better at it.

Everyone in my family would observe the fasts and my mom would make yummylicious food for the nightly breaking of the fasts. Obviously, falooda was one of them and that too, mostly everyday. For mom, being born and brought up in Karachi it was considered a must to end a meal with dessert. I strive to carry this tradition on and make all the delicious recipes passed on to me by my mom and dadima, including the falooda.

Okay, so let’s start with some background of falooda. It’s a cold drink served with vermicelli, basil seeds, rose syrup and topped with ice cream for extra richness - its origins can be traced back to Iran. What about tres leches? Well, I didn’t know what it was either until I spoke to my sister-in-law Tasneem (T) about various Mexican desserts. That’s when I found out about tres leches - it’s a cake sponge soaked in lightly flavoured milk. I used a traditional Mexican recipe book the first time I made this (I remember this was last year during my pregnancy). Here, I am sharing my version of a fusion of falooda and a traditional tres leches.

The falooda tres leches cake is a perfect addition for a Ramadan night. It's also an awesome dessert to take to a family or friend's place for dinner or lunch ... And ….Ooooh-boy its taste is divine, so be sure not to eat it all up by yourself :)

Falooda Tres Leches Cake

delicious, easy to make and the best thing ever!

Serves: 9 portions | Calories*: 402 kcal

I will explain this recipe in three parts:

  • Recipe for the cardamom sponge cake

  • Recipe for the falooda soaking liquid

  • Assembling with the whipped cream topping

Recipe for the cardamom sponge cake


  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 240 g all-purpose flour

  • 275 g sugar

  • 1 tsp cardamom powder

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs

  • 140 ml plain unflavoured yogurt

  • 130 ml orange juice

  • 75 ml unsalted butter, melted


  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8”x8” square baking tray with parchment paper after coating it with butter so that the cake is easy to come off once cooled.

  • In a medium mixing bowl sieve all the dry ingredients (i.e., cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour, cardamom and sugar) by mixing on low speed.

  • Now, stir in all the wet ingredients (i.e., melted butter, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and orange juice), mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes.

  • Spread the batter evenly into the square baking tray and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is done. You can check this by either poking with a wooden skewer (it should come out clean) or by touching the sponge (it should bounce back when you release the touch).

  • Once cool, remove it from the baking tray and cover the cake sponge with cellophane wrap tightly so that the cake remains moist. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hrs before use.

Recipe for the falooda soaking liquid


  • 3 tbsp condensed milk

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 4 tbsp rose syrup (I used Roohafza brand)

  • 1 tbsp rose water


  • In a medium saucepan, stir in the condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, rose syrup (Roohafza) and rose water. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally to avoid scorching until it begins to boil and thicken from the edges. This would take 5-8 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and and let it cool for 5 minutes. Now place the cake in a deep glass dish and poke lots of holes in the cake using a thin wooden skewer. Now, pour the liquid onto the cake.

  • Cover the cake dish with plastic wrap and let the cake soak up all the liquid (ideally overnight or for at least 3 hrs) and rest in the fridge.

Assembling with the whipped cream topping


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

  • 1 tsp rose water


  • In a mixing bowl add the heavy cream, icing sugar and rose water. Mix on medium speed until it forms stiff peaks (to check this you can turn the bowl upside down or lift your whisk attachment and the mixture should hold on stiff). Be careful not to over-beat.

  • Using a spatula, spread the whipped cream evenly on top of the soaked cake, sprinkle some slivered almonds and drizzle some Roohafza over the top of the cake...presto you're ready to serve.

Tips on Variations:

  • To give more of a falooda look you can sprinkle some basil seeds (tukmaria) on top of the cake.

  • Instead of adding rose syrup (Roohafza) in the soaking liquid, you could add instant coffee and make a cafe tres leches cake. Replace all the rose water and rose syrup (Roohafza) with instant coffee.

  • Rasmalai tres leches… how does it sound? Substitute the soaking liquid with the milk that’s used in soaking rasmalai, and sprinkle with generous amounts of slivered pistachios, saffron and almonds.

*Please note that the nutritional information on this site is only an approximate.

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