I don’t really consider myself a baker but this cake is really worth the effort. The cake is originally a Spanish recipe, which I took the liberty of modifying or rather “Indianizing”. I hope you will enjoy my version as much as my family and friends.
Saffron blended together with orange is an incredible and delicious combination. In a dessert, it’s absolutely heavenly! The spices add an extra but subtle layer of depth and flavor. It’s decadent but not overly sweet. It’s just perfect for entertaining and can be made in advance. It makes a wonderful dessert or you can serve it with afternoon tea. Either way, your guests will be impressed!
ORANGE SAFFRON CAKE
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 large orange (grated or curls, not large strips)
huge pinch of saffron threads soaked in 2-3 tbsp of milk (saffron is expensive, so you can add more or less)
½ tsp of vanilla extract (or orange extract)
1 tbsp orange blossom water
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp fresh cardamom powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar (I used confectioner’s sugar)
1½ cups cake flour, sifted
½ cup of finely ground almonds (or almond meal or almond flour)
2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 tsp salt
a lightly buttered & floured 10” Springform baking pan
confectioner’s sugar, fresh mint leaves, orange slices, candied orange peel, whipped cream…. possible garnishes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan on low heat, combine the orange juice with the orange zest. Next, add in the saffron (along with the soaking milk), vanilla extract, orange blossom water and the spices (ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cardamom powder & freshly grated nutmeg). Bring to a gentle boil & let simmer until the orange juice has thickened (about 5 minutes or so). Then remove the saucepan from the heat, set aside and allow to cool until needed.
Using a kitchen stand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter & sugar until you have a light & fluffy mixture (this will take about 2-3 minutes). Now, add in the eggs (one at a time) until they have been incorporated. Also, add in the cooled orange juice mixture. Mix well & then add in the dry ingredients (cake flour, ground almonds, baking powder & salt) – a little at a time until well combined.
Now carefully pour the batter into Springform baking pan, smooth out the top & lightly tap the pan on the counter. Bake on the middle oven rack for about 40-45 minutes or until you obtain a clean toothpick from the center of the cake. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1 hour. Garnish with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar & a few fresh mint leaves or orange slices, candied orange peel and/or whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!