A no-fuss saffron dessert for the holidays! Swedish Saffron Cake (Saffranskaka) is a moist and deliciously soft cake that tastes even better the day after (if there’s any left). Great for breakfast, snack or dessert!
Why? Because you need to get on the ‘saffron desserts‘ train! 🙂
Saffron is one of the most used spices in Sweden during Christmas. You see them in cookies, buns, and cakes, and more importantly, you see a sign at the supermarket counter saying, ‘you can buy saffron here.’
If you want to keep up with the spirit of the Swedish holidays, it’s the perfect time to start baking with saffron.
So, what is saffron cake?
Saffranskaka, as it’s locally known, is a sponge cake subtly flavored with saffron.
The bright yellow color of the cake is the first thing you will notice, followed by the aroma, then the perfect balance of the sweetness and saffron flavor in every bite.
IF YOU WANT MORE SWEDISH SWEETS WITH SAFFRON, YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Butter – I typically use unsalted butter when preparing Swedish saffron cake.
- Milk – whole cream milk if possible.
- Eggs – medium-sized (63 to 73 grams per piece) and at room temperature.
- Flour – all-purpose flour is all you need for this saffron cake recipe.
- Baking powder – just use your favorite brand.
- Sugar – granulated white sugar is excellent for making saffranskaka.
- Saffron – you can use saffron threads or powder, whichever is easier for you to purchase.
Start preparing your saffranskaka by preheating the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Grease your cake pan with butter and dust it lightly with flour.
Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, and place over light heat until the butter melts (photo 1).
Take the melted butter and milk out of the heat.
Add saffron and mix to combine (photo 2).
Using a medium bowl, sift and combine flour and baking powder (photo 3).
Combine eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Use a hand mixer until you get a pale color in the mixture (photo 4).
Add the sifted flour and baking powder.
Pour the cooled butter, milk, and saffron (photo 5).
Mix; just enough to combine everything.
Pour the saffron cake batter into the prepared cake pan (photo 6).
Tap the pan on the countertop to get rid of bubbles.
Place the cake pan in the lower part of the oven for about thirty-five to forty minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Set aside to cool, then dust with powdered sugar.
Your saffranskaka is now ready for serving!
- When using saffron threads, I suggest crushing them into powder before adding them to the milk.
You can use a mortar and pestle to do this or just a teaspoon to grind them.
- Do not boil the milk and butter. Instead, keep it low heat and remove it as soon as the butter melts.
- Just like my Swedish cardamom cake, this saffron cake recipe is not too sweet because it considers the dusting of powdered sugar when serving.
So, if you plan to skip the powdered sugar, you might need to add more granulated sugar to the batter.
- Cake pan size. A 9-inch round pan will also work for this recipe but note that the cake will be slightly thinner.
- Dust with breadcrumbs. When preparing the cake pan, you can dust it with breadcrumbs instead of flour.
I find that it makes it easier to remove the cake later.
- Dried fruits. I have seen variations where dried or candied fruits are added to the batter. You can start with raisins or sultanas if you want to try them.
How to serve it?
Sprinkling powdered sugar on top is always advised.
Adding bits of your favorite nuts is also an excellent way to add a different texture to each bite. I tend to use either almonds or pistachios – my two favorites.
So, what are you waiting for? Give this Swedish saffron cake recipe a try — you will not regret it!
Swedish Saffron Cake Recipe (Saffranskaka)
- 1 & 3/4 sticks butter (200 grams/7 ounces), unsalted; plus more for greasing the pan
- 1/2 cup + 4 tbsp milk (150 ml)
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 1 & 2/3 cups flour (240 grams), plus more for dusting the pan
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 cup sugar (235 grams)
- powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
- Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Grease your cake pan with butter and dust it lightly with flour.
- Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and let the butter melt over low heat.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, then add saffron and mix — set aside.
- Sift and combine flour and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
- In a separate (larger) bowl, combine eggs and sugar.
- Use a hand mixer and mix until you it gets pale in color.
- Add the flour and baking powder.
- Pour the cooled butter, milk, and saffron.
- Mix the batter — just enough to combine everything.
- Pour the saffron cake batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Tap the pan on the countertop to get rid of bubbles.
- Place the cake pan in the lower part of the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Set aside to cool, then dust with powdered sugar.
- Slice your Swedish saffron cake and serve. Dust with more powdered sugar, if desired.
- Cook’s Tip #1: If using saffron threads, crush them into powder before adding to the milk.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Do not boil the milk and butter. Keep it low heat and remove it as soon as the butter melts.
- Cook’s Tip #3: Similar to my Swedish cardamom cake, this saffron cake recipe is not too sweet because it takes into account the dusting of powdered sugar when serving.