Mahesa from Vancouver BC, Canada asks: Dear Kurma,could you please give the recipe for a saffron cake?

My reply: Here it is:

Saffron, Lemon & Coconut Cupcakes

Saffron is one of my favourite kitchen ingredients. Its warm, heady fragrance and brilliant colour marries wonderfully with the citrus hit of lemon zest. Coupled with coconut, the trio does a great job in flavouring and colouring these little cakes. This recipe makes 12 little cakes.

½ teaspoon saffron thread, ground and infused in 2 teaspoons of the milk

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ cup butter

½ cup caster sugar

1 tablespoon fine lemon zest

4 tablespoons sour light cream or kefir

½ cup dessicated coconut

1¼ cups milk


2 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons soft butter

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon reserved saffron infusion

saffron cake:

Reserve ¼ teaspoon of the saffron infusion for the topping.

Preheat the oven to 160° C / 325° F. Sift together the flour and baking powder.

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the sour cream and the saffron infusion, and beat to fully amalgamate.

Stir in the coconut, half the milk, and sift in half the flour. Mix well. Fold in the remaining flour and the milk and mix until evenly blended.

Spoon the mixture into pre-buttered small cup-cake or muffin tins.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, well risen and spongy. Turn off the heat, but allow the cakes to stand in the closed oven for an extra 5 minutes before removing and cooling on wire racks.

Prepare the topping: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the butter and the reserved saffron infusion. Heat the lemon juice in a small saucepan until almost boiling. Pour sufficient lemon juice into the icing sugar mixture to form a firm paste. Ice the cakes while the topping is still warm.

Serve warm or cool.

Note for European and American readers: To make your own self-raising flour, combine 1 cup/4oz/100g soft, all purpose, plain flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

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