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Friday, 19 September 2008

Cornish Saffron Cake

Cornish Saffron Cake

Slices of Cornish Saffron Cake

In the South West of England such as Cornwall, spices have been used in baking and cooking since early days of trading. Ships would have arrived from the orient to take advantage for a safe place to harbour whilst trading spices such as saffron in Cornwall. Saffron, the most precious and most expensive spice in the world became popular to use in yeasted breads and cakes in this part of the country, giving a rich golden-yellow hue and flavour to baked goods.

Saffron soaking

Although this bake is called a Cornish Saffron Cake, it is not sweet and resembles more of a fruit bread loaf. This possibly could have been served at tea time in slices spread with butter and perhaps an additional choice of honey or preserves for sweetness.

Kneading the dough with its golden-yellow hue

The production of this bake is achieved in the same way you would make bread by fermenting the yeast and mixing into dough to knead, prove, knock back and to prove again before baking. The yeast used in this recipe is dried yeast NOT fast action yeast.

Cornish Saffron Cake

Cornish Saffron Cake

Makes a 900g (2 lb) loaf

7g (¼ oz) dried active yeast
32g (1¼ oz) caster sugar
175ml (6 fl oz) tepid water
7g (¼ oz) powdered milk
250g (9 oz) strong plain white flour, sifted
7g (¼ oz) saffron, ground and soaked for several hours in 2 tsp of warm water
A large pinch of salt
65g (2½ oz) softened butter
150g (5oz) mixed dried fruit with mixed candied peel

You will need a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin lightly greased with a little butter


In a jug add the tepid water, sugar, yeast and mix through then add the powdered milk and 25g (1 oz) of the flour. Whisk leaving the jug in a warm place to froth and double in size for approximately 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

In a large bowl add the remaining flour and butter and rub through with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Now add the salt & dried fruit with mixed candied peel and stir until all mixed through. Strain the saffron and add to the dry mixture and then add the yeast mixture and mix through until combined. Turn out the mixture onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough is fairly elastic. Place back into a clean mixing bowl and leave covered with a clean tea towel until doubled in size approximately 1 hour. Tip out of the bowl and knock the dough back and lightly knead into shape to fit the loaf tin. Place into the loaf tin and leave covered over with a clean tea towel again in a warm place to rise until the dough rises almost to the top of the tin, approximately 30 minutes.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 50 – 1 hour or until fully baked. (The top should be golden-brown and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped). Remove from the oven and leave to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Serve slices spread with butter, honey or a choice of preserves.


barbara said...

mmm... I'll take a slice please!Wonderful Rosie!!

Aparna said...

This golden bread does look like a fruit loaf. Never knew there was a connection between Cornwall and saffron. Intersting that.

And congratulations, Rosie on all your awards.

Ivy said...

Rosie, I always had a query why a cake such as banana bread is called a bread and not a cake and this one which is rather like a loaf is called a cake :) Anyway the cake looks wonderful and although Greece produces a high quality saffron we rarely see it in Greek recipes.

Peter M said...

It's great to see saffrom being used in sweet applications...luv it.

Swati said...

I love the usage of saffron .. Beautifully baked!!

Happy cook said...

Oh yes another recipie to try .
I am sure going to make this.
I love the colour of the bread.
I have brought back few boxes of Saffron back from India.
When i make them I will serve it for breakfast.
Can i toast them.

Maria said...

Wow this looks so delicious and LOVE the colour of that bread!


Dani said...

this looks so tasty :)

Rosie said...

Hi Barbara, a warm welcome to my blog & so lovely to *meet* you :D Many thanks for your lovely comment!

Hi Aparna, thank you! The colour is beautiful and my pics don’t do this bread justice. I love saffron and always wanted to bake a Cornish saffron cake and can truly say it was worth every effort to make this :D

Hi Ivy, awe thanks sweetie you are so kind!! I am quite the same as you here puzzled as to why banana loaf is called bread and this saffron cake which is bread and called a cake??? Perhaps someone may be able to let us know?

Hi Peter, I fully agree it really is lovely to add spices to sweet bakes for a change. Saffron being one of my favourite I just had to try this cake out.

Hi Swati, awe thank you sweetie coming for such a master as yourself it means such a lot :D

Hi H.C. Oh I do hope you will try this recipe out it’s a lovely relaxing one to make with a little kneading, proving. Great news about you bringing back some saffron from India you will have many a recipe I bet to use this one. I think toasted slices would be lovely for breakfast with butter and preserves mmmmmm.... :D

Hi Maria, it was a lovely loaf to bake and using some of my saffron I was brought back from my brothers travels aboard as you know. I know your hubby loves fruit loaf but not sure about him liking the saffron but I am sure it could be left out. Thanks sweetie for your lovely comment :D

Thank you all for popping by and as always lovely to *see* you here! :)

Best wishes Rosie x

Rosie said...

Hi Dani, thank you SO much :)

Rosie xoxo

Uma said...

Wow, the bread looks so delicious and lovely. Love the use of saffron that gave the bread such a nice color.

farida said...

Saffon makes such a great addition to baked goodies. I love using it! Your bread looks amazing - so well risen. Love the color too. thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Oh Rosie this looks wonderful, I love Cornish Saffron Cake.

Antonia said...

What a gorgeous golden colour this loaf is - just wonderful. I bet it tastes as good as it looks too!

Emily Rose said...

oh, this is looks really good- I have seen saffron recipes on four blogs today- it is a spice that I have not used often, but I've been so inundated with pictures of the beautiful golden foods it produces that I think I might try to use some myself! Rosie, This was a very interesting post about saffron that you might enjoy:

SriLekha said...

wow! the cake looks delicious!
Visit my blog while u find time and join in the chicken event going in my blog!

Divya Vikram said...

Saffron gives a nice color to the loaf..looks yummy!

Shandy said...

Oh, I love the fruit and saffron in this bread! What a great recipe and one that I would really love to try. Thank you so much for posting this in your blog =D

Rachel said...

Use of saffron in a loaf was unheard of atleast to me..looks baked to perfection!!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Your Cornish cake looks absolutely delicious! If not that I'm trying not to eat sweets, I would try it out just now! I made banoffee pie for kids couple of days ago and I was struggling not to eat second slice...

Enjoy your weekend, Margot

Cakelaw said...

This looks delicious Rosie - I am rather partial to the lovely golden hue.

Gloria (Canela) said...

Dear Rosie this is a really yummy recipe!! and look so nice! xxGloria

Bridgett said...

What a great way to use saffron. I love the color it imparts to different dishes. The use of it for something sweet is inspiring! Great post, Rosie.

Beth said...

Saffron Cake was a staple of my childhood. My grandmother made a fantastic and my Aunt now makes Saffron buns. Its great being Cornish!!

Jeena said...

This is beautiful, I love saffron in raisin teacakes too. There is something so enticing about the colour and subtle flavour isn't there? Great recipe. :-)

Emiline said...

Heyyy.. I think you're on to something here.
I would love to make this. I don't have any saffron though.

Passionate About Baking said...

That's one beautiful loaf Rosie; I love anything that uses saffron so beautifully! Gorgeous; I'll have a thin slice too please!! YUM!! xoxoxox Deeba

Anitha said...

Hi Rosie,
Love the beautiful color & texture of the cake. It sounds yummy & a perfect tea-time cake.


Dee said...

Wow! I've never had saffron in a cake. It must taste amazing! What a clever idea, Rosie :)

Deborah said...

I've never used saffron before, but now I have yet another reason I need to get some!

Margaret said...

It's lovely to see that Saffron Bread is still being made by home bakers.

Rosie said...

Thank you all so very much for taking the time to visit and post a comment I really do appreciate it! Wishing you a warm welcome too if it is your first visit here and I look forward to *seeing* you once again :D

The loaf was such a pleasure to make as I find kneading dough so soothing somehow. It was really nice served in slices and buttered with a hot steaming cup of tea.

Great read Emily Rosie on saffron thanks so much for passing the link on :)

With best wishes Rosie xoxox

Rosie said...

Hi SriLekha, I have company staying at the moment and hopefully I will be calling by soon to take a peek at your chicken event :)

Rosie x

Prudy said...

How gorgeous! I'd love a slice of that.

Lubna Karim said...

Wow cake looks awesome. Beautiful color.

Pearlsofeast said...

What an awesome recipe with Saffron.I love to try it soon.

Cakespy said...

Ooh, what a wonderful breakfast cake!! I'd love to try this one!

Dhanggit said...

Truly wonderful Rosie! First time i heard of safron in a cake...i can wait to taste a slice of that...wait for me I'm coming over hehehe

Sweetiepie said...

This cake looks yummy.Never try saffron in any cake.Maybe I should try this out one day :)

Linda F said...

Rosie that looks so lovely and happily yellow. Saffron is such a great addition to both sweet and savoury dishes isn't it?!

Rosie said...

Thank you for all your lovely comments :)

Best wishes Rosie x