A fragrant twist on an ordinary sponge cake, tinted with a golden hue from the saffron infused milk
It was whilst making some cardamom and orange puddings that the idea of making something saffron inspired came to me.
My mind was racing in so many different directions initially, but in the end I decided to settle on a cake incorporating saffron. I have seen some tres leches cakes (my masala chai tres leches recipe can be found here) which have added a saffron twist to it, but a friend suggested that I try a saffron milk cake, which she often makes.
Saffron is such a staple in an indian household and lends itself to both sweet and savoury cooking. Other than for its gorgeous colour, it also adds a beautiful fragrance to cooking.
There is nothing fancy about the cake itself, it is a simple sponge cake. The real magic comes from the saffron infused milk, which gives the cake a gorgeous golden hue and perfumes the sponge as you bite into the cake. The saffron flavour is somewhat subtle, but still present.
To bring through the saffron more vibrantly, there is a saffron milk glaze over the cake to add a burst of colour to the top. I absolutely love the simplicity of this cake, and its fine, moist crumb.
The only piece of caution which I would share is to make sure that your bundt tin is well prepared, to avoid the unfortunate case of the cake sticking to the pan. Also, I suggest making the saffron milk a day in advance to get the best depth of flavour from the spice.
Thank you to Neha, for sharing this recipe with me. I have based this cake off the original recipe from GoodFood, which may be found here. I have tweaked the recipe slightly to achieve the desired cake crumb which I enjoy.
FOR THE SAFFRON MILK
- 3/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 320ml full cream milk
- 1/8 teaspoon tumeric
- Toast the saffron threads on low heat, until they begin to smell fragrant. Then crush them a bit, with the back of a spoon to release the flavours.
- Add in the milk and turmeric and heat, until the milk just begins to boil. Do not let it boil.
- Remove from heat and keep in the refrigerator to infuse overnight.
FOR THE SAFFRON MILK SPONGE
- 130g salted butter, at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons for the bundt pan
- 60ml sunflower oil
- 250g caster sugar
- zest of an orange
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 250ml saffron milk (see above)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 200g cake flour, plus 2 tablespoons for the bundt pan
- 50g cornflour
- 80g ground almonds
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Begin by preparing your bundt pan. Melt the two tablespoons of butter and generously brush the entire interior of the bundt pan. Use two tablespoons of flour to coat the inside of the bundt pan. The flour should stick to the butter. Make sure to tap out all the excess flour from the pan, so that only a thin film is left. Place the bundt pan into the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Strain out the saffron threads from the saffron milk, and measure out 250ml, to be used in the cake. Reserve the remaining milk for the glaze.
- Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda,tumeric and almonds into a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter, oil, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy, this should take about 5 minutes.
- Then, add in the vanilla followed by the eggs. Make sure to add one egg at a time, let it properly incorporate before adding the next one.
- The add in half the sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined. Then add in half the saffron milk and mix. Repeat with the remaining half of the wet and dry ingredients.
- Place the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack, to cool completely.
FOR THE SAFFRON GLAZE
- 60ml saffron milk
- 160g icing sugar
- Sift the icing sugar.
- Add in the saffron milk, a teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
- For a thicker glaze, you will use closer to 60ml and for a thin glaze closer to 50ml.
- Drizzle over the cooled cake.
Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com