Ultimate Guide to Making Chai Tres Leches Cake: Ingredients & Tips

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine sipping on a warm, spiced chai on a brisk autumn morning. Now, imagine that same comforting flavor infused into a decadent, creamy dessert. That’s exactly what you get with chai tres leches, a delightful twist on the classic tres leches cake that blends the aromatic spices of traditional Indian chai with the sweet, milky goodness of a Latin American favorite.

This fusion dessert is perfect for when you can’t decide between a beverage or a sweet treat. The spices in chai, such as cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, add a warm and comforting note that complements the rich, moist texture of the tres leches cake beautifully. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply treating yourself, chai tres leches promises to be a showstopper that’ll leave everyone asking for seconds.


Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to create the unique and delicious chai tres leches cake. Gather these to blend the aromatic warmth of chai spices with the creamy delight of tres leches.

Chai Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Tres Leches Mixture

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chai spice mix

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Other Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for a subtle touch
  • Optional: crushed cardamom pods for an extra spicy kick

Tools and Equipment Needed

To prepare your chai tres leches cake successfully, you’ll need a variety of kitchen tools. Gather these items before you begin to ensure a smooth and efficient baking experience. Here’s what you’ll need:

Baking Utensils

  • 9×13 inch Baking Pan: This size is perfect for ensuring your cake has enough room to soak up the delicious tres leches mixture evenly.
  • Electric Mixer or Whisk: Vital for mixing your batter and whipping cream to achieve the perfect texture.
  • Mixing Bowels: Have at least three on hand—one for batter, one for the egg whites, and one for the tres leches mixture.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurement is key in baking to ensure your cake turns out flaw, particularly when dealing with spices and leavening agents.
  • Spatula: To smoothly combine ingredients and scrape the batter into the baking pan.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: Useful for sifting the flour and evenly sprinkling the chai spices.

Other Equipments

  • Oven: Preheat to the correct temperature before baking your cake.
  • Refrigerator: Essential for chilling the cake after soaking it with the tres leches mixture.
  • Toothpick or Cake Tester: Check the doneness of the cake before removing it from the oven.

Gathering these tools and equipment before you start baking will help ensure that your chai tres leches cake is as delightful in texture as it is in taste. Make sure each tool is clean and ready to go to facilitate a seamless baking process.

Preparation Steps

Now that you have all your tools and ingredients set, let’s dive into the heart of making a chai tres leches cake. Follow these steps closely to ensure each layer of this decadent dessert infuses perfectly with the warming, aromatic spices of chai.

Preparing the Chai Spice Mix

1. Begin by measuring out the following spices:

      • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
      • 2 tsp ground cardamom
      • 1 tsp ground ginger
      • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
      • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

      2. Combine all the spices in a small bowl and whisk them together until well blended.

      3. Set the chai spice mix aside. You will use this both in the sponge cake and the milk mixture to ensure a consistent chai flavor throughout the dessert.

        Making the Sponge Cake

        1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease your 9×13 inch baking pan.
        2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
        3. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat 5 large eggs and 1 cup of granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
        4. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with 1/4 cup of milk, until the batter is smooth and well combined.
        5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
        6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
        7. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

        Making the Tres Leches Mixture and Soaking the Cake

        1. In a large bowl, whisk together the following ingredients to make the tres leches mixture:

          • 1 cup of evaporated milk
          • 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
          • 1 cup of heavy cream

          2. Stir in 2 tbsp of the prepared chai spice mix.

          3. Once the sponge cake has cooled, use a fork or skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake.

          4. Slowly pour the tres leches mixture over the cake, making sure to fill the holes and evenly soak the cake.

          5. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or overnight, allowing the flavors to meld and the cake to absorb the milks thoroughly.

            Each step is crafted to maximize the infusion of chai flavors into the classic tres leches cake, creating a dessert that is as delightful to taste as it is beautiful to serve.

            Cooking Instructions

            Delve into the creation of your chai tres leches cake with these easy-to-follow steps. Ensure each stage is performed with care to infuse the rich, aromatic flavors thoroughly.

            Baking the Cake

            1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). While the oven warms, grease your 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with butter or non-stick spray.
            2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Set this mixture aside.
            3. In a separate bowl, beat 5 large eggs with 1 cup of sugar using your electric mixer at high speed until the mixture is pale and thick. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
            4. Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Use a spatula to fold in the ingredients gently, ensuring not to deflate the eggs.
            5. Pour in ⅓ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, followed by 2 teaspoons of your chai spice mix. Fold until just combined.
            6. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
            7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
            8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

            Making the Chai Tres Leches Mixture

            1. Whisk together 1 cup of evaporated milk, 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of your chai spice mix for an enhanced flavor.
            2. Once the cake has cooled, place it back in the baking pan. Use a fork to poke holes all over the cake, ensuring the holes are evenly distributed.
            3. Slowly pour the chai tres leches mixture over the cooled cake, making sure to pour evenly and allowing the mixture to soak into the holes.
            4. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, which allows the flavors to meld beautifully and the cake to absorb the mixture thoroughly.

            These steps will guide you to create a moist, flavorful chai tres leches cake that combines traditional textures with delightful spices.

            Assembling the Chai Tres Leches Cake

            After baking your chai-infused sponge cake and preparing the spicy tres leches mixture, it’s time to bring all the components together and finish your decadent dessert.

            Adding Toppings

            Once your cake has fully absorbed the tres leches mixture, start by gently spreading a layer of whipped cream over the top of the cake, ensuring it’s evenly covered. For a touch of elegance and added flavor, sprinkle a modest amount of the chai spice mix evenly across the whipped cream.

            Next, consider adding a texture contrast by sprinkling chopped nuts, such as pistachios or almonds, over the cream. This not only adds crunch but also complements the chai spices beautifully. If you prefer, a light dusting of cocoa powder or a drizzle of caramel sauce can make for a visually stunning finish that’s sure to impress.

            Serving Suggestions

            Once your chai tres leches cake has fully absorbed the flavorful mixture and has been beautifully garnished, it is time to think about the best ways to serve this delightful dessert. Here are some creative suggestions to make your serving as delightful as the cake itself.

            For Individual Servings:

            Cut the chai tres leches cake into square portions. Place each piece in the center of a small plate. A great tip is to use a hot knife to ensure clean cuts that leave the layers distinct and the presentation pristine. Simply run your knife under hot water, wipe it quickly, and slice through the cake. This method gives your servings a professional touch.

            Pair With a Beverage:

            Enhance the spicy notes of your chai tres leches cake by pairing it with a complementary beverage. A warm cup of chai tea or coffee complefments the flavors of the spices in the cake, making it a perfect match. Alternatively, for a refreshing twist, serve with a cold glass of milk or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side to add a creamy texture that contrasts beautifully with the moist cake.

            Decorative Touches:

            Add a festive flair to your chai tres leches cake serving by garnishing it right before presenting. A sprinkle of powdered sugar or cinnamon can be visually appealing and boost the flavor. Additionally, mint leaves or edible flowers provide a pop of color that makes the dish stand out.

            Seasonal Suggestions:

            During the holiday season, consider adding a sprinkling of nutmeg or clove to evoke a festive atmosphere. For summer gatherings, a topping of fresh berries can lighten the rich flavors with a touch of acidity and sweetness.

            Employ these serving suggestions to elevate the way you present and enjoy your chai tres leches cake, turning a simple dessert into an extraordinary experience.


            Ready to impress your guests with a dessert that’s as delightful to present as it is to eat? Your chai tres leches cake is sure to be a hit at any gathering. With the rich flavors of chai spices melded into the creamy sweetness of tres leches, every bite offers a taste of culinary fusion that’s both exotic and familiar. Remember to enjoy the process of making it as much as you relish serving it. So go ahead, whip up this fabulous dessert and watch it become the centerpiece of your next celebration!

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