Pink Tea Tres Leches Cake

Pink tea + tres leches cake….THE BEST COMBINATION I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.

So ever since I made a rasmalai tres leches cake a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to make another fusion tres leches cake.

This pink tea one is something I’ve seen quite a few dessert shops do recently. I loved the idea of it so I knew I had to try making it myself!

Close view of a slice of the pink tea tres leches cake

Video Tutorial

What is pink tea? 

Kashmiri Chai or pink tea is a type of tea that originated in Kashmir. Traditionally it was a salty drink, but overtime people started adding sugar to it, giving it a richer taste.

It’s gained a lot of popularity in countries like Pakistan, as a creamy, sweet drink.

What makes it pink?

Pink tea doesn’t have any food colouring in it. The reason it has a pink colour is because of the baking soda that is added to it.

It’s made with green tea leaves, then during the cooking process, baking soda is added. This causes some kind of reaction, which gives the tea a deep red-ish colour. Then once milk is added, the tea turns pink.

I don’t know the exact science behind why baking soda makes it change colour. The only science term I know is photosynthesis and I feel like that doesn’t help here. But it is naturally pink!

Slice of the pink tea tres leches cake with the milk mixture being poured onto it

How do you make pink tea?

So this recipe uses around a cup of unsweetened pink tea. Pink tea is not the easiest kind of tea to make. The process is simple, it just takes some time.

The pink tea recipe I used is from teafortumeric. Her blog post goes into a lot of detail about pink tea and how to make it. It was extremely helpful.

Teafortumeric pink tea recipe!

If you didn’t want to make it from scratch, you can also get instant pink tea from amazon or a lot of Pakistani stores also sell it. It will make the process a lot easier. Or also if you have a chai shop near you, just buy like 2 cups of it, this will make the process even easier. 

However, if you are using instant pink tea or if you just buy the tea already made. These will probably have sugar in them. That’s fine.

Just when you are making the milk mixture, don’t add all of the condensed milk at once. Add about a quarter of, taste it, if it seems sweet enough don’t add anymore!

Top view of the cake before it has been baked
Top view of pink tea tres leches cake after it has been baked

A few tips:

Make the milk mixture first

Pink tea is typically flavoured with spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Of course you can use whatever spices you want.

For this cake, I added these spices into the milk mixture.

Make sure to make this first, so that the spices have time to give a good flavour to the milk mixture.

Don’t grease your baking dish/tin

The cake relies on the whipped eggs to make it rise.

With cakes like this, they need to be able to grip to the sides of your tin, during baking, in order for the cake to rise. If you grease your tin, the cake won’t be able to do this.

Don’t open the oven for the first 40 minutes

If you open your oven door too early, this cake can sink. So try not to open it for at least 40 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the cake after baking

A cake like this tends to slightly deflate after baking. So to help it deflate evenly, after it has baked, run a knife around the edge of it. Just to release the cake from the sides of the dish/tin.

This way, the whole cake will deflate evenly, instead of only the centre going down. 

Now let’s get into the recipe!

Pink Tea Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients

  • For the milk mixture:
  • 240ml unsweetened pink tea

  • 360ml evaporated milk

  • 400g condensed milk

  • 10 cardamom pods

  • 3 star anise

  • 5 cloves

  • 1/2 cinnamon stick

  • Some pink food colouring (optional)

  • For the cake:
  • 6 egg whites

  • 75g granulated sugar

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 75g granulated sugar

  • 50ml any flavourless oil (I use vegetable)

  • 50ml milk

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 120g plain flour

  • For the whipped cream:
  • 420ml double cream

  • 60g icing sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Plus some chopped pistachios to sprinkle on top

Directions

  • Making the milk mixutre:
  • In a pot, add the pink tea, evaporated and condensed milk. Mix these together. At this point if you want to add some food colouring to get a brighter pink, you can.
  • Open the cardamom pods slightly, so that the seeds are exposed. Add these into the pot along with the start anise, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Place this pot over medium heat. Keep heating the mixture until it is warm, you don't need it to come to a boil, you just want it to be warm.
  • Take this off the heat, cover and leave aside.
  • Making the cake:
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f.
  • In a bowl, add in the egg whites and the first 75g of sugar. Whip these on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Now in a separate bowl, add the egg yolks and the second 75g of sugar. Whip these until the mixture lightens in colour and almost doubles in volume.
  • Add the oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla into this bowl, whisk them in, then add in the flour and whisk until smooth.
  • Add half of your whipped egg whites into this, gently fold them in, then add the rest of the egg whites and fold these in too. Once you can't see any lumps or streaks of egg whites, stop mixing.
  • Pour this batter into a 9x12 inch cake tin/baking dish. Make sure NOT to grease tin/dish.
  • Bake at 180c/350 for around 1 hour. After 45 minutes, I like to add some tin foil on top of the cake, so that the top doesn't get too dark.
  • Once baked, run a knife around the edge of the dish, just to separate the cake from the sides. Then leave this to cool completely
  • Making the whipped cream:
  • Add the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
  • Leave this in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Putting the everything together:
  • Once the cake has cooled, you can put everything together.
  • Pour the milk mixture through a sieve to get the spices that you added out of it.
  • Poke holes into the cake and then start pouring the milk mixture over it. Don't pour it all onto the cake at once, add a bit, let it soak into the cake, then add more.
  • Keep repeating this until most of the mixture has been used. I like to keep half a cup just to pour on top when serving.
  • Add the whipped cream on top, smooth it out, then sprinkle the crushed pistachios over it.
  • Cover and leave this in the fridge. It will taste much better the next day, so I recommend leaving it in there overnight, but 1 hour works too!
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