If you like saffron, you will swoon over this cake. The simplest of pound cakes, made from butter infused with a generous pinch of saffron, this cake is evocative, mysterious and profoundly more-ish. It is quite old fashioned in texture, with a firm, close textured crumb, and a lovely reminder of just how good these cakes are to eat. It keeps extremely well for three or more days in an airtight container. Start this cake a few hours before you’d like to eat it. 


Serves 8–10

  • 3 eggs
  • unsalted butter
  • self-raising flour
  • raw caster sugar
  • large pinch of Australian saffron
    (about 40 threads or a tenth of a gram)
  • 1 tablespoon milk, warmed
  • pinch of finely ground sea salt
  • mascarpone cream
  • 200g mascarpone
  • 100g sour cream
  • ¾ cup icing sugar mixture, sifted

Prepare saffron-infused butter

Weigh all eggs together in shells. Using combined egg measurement, weigh out same quantity of unsalted butter, self-raising flour and raw caster sugar. (For example, if the 3 eggs weigh 195g in their shells, then weigh out 195g of butter, 195g of flour and 195g of sugar.)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Remove from heat. Add most of saffron to pan with melted butter, cover with a lid and set aside in a warm place for at least 1 hour to steep. Place remaining saffron threads and warm milk in a small bowl or cup, cover with a saucer and set aside to steep until required.

Mix batter & bake

Sift flour and salt into a bowl, then set aside until required.

Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan, then line
with baking paper.

Place sugar and warm saffron-infused butter in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Separate eggs. Place eggwhites in a clean, dry bowl and set aside.

Add egg yolks to butter mixture and beat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and pale. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix (always stirring in the same direction) until well combined and stiff. Gently stir in saffron-infused milk.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites until stiff peaks form.
Using a thin, stiff spatula, gently fold one-third of eggwhite into cake mixture. Repeat, in 2 batches, with remaining eggwhite. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make mascarpone & serve

Meanwhile, to make mascarpone cream, place mascarpone, sour cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl, and mix with a spoon until smooth. Spread icing over cooled saffron cake. Cut into slices to serve.