Saffron Cake

saffroncakeSaffron cake and buns are one of the Cornerstones of Cornish cuisine. Usually eaten at times of celebration they are spiced sweet bread make yellow by the addition of the delicate flavour of Saffron. This practice was common in medieval Europe but now only survives in Sweden and Cornwall. Saffron cakes are often served with a thin spread of butter to add to its rich flavour. Saffron cake and buns are sweetened breads coloured with saffron and containing dry fuit.

Saffron Cake Recipe.


1lb plain flour
6oz butter
6oz sugar
6oz currants, sultanas
1 1/2 oz of mixed, diced, candied peel (lemon or orange)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1oz yeast or 1 sachet of dried yeast
1 pinch of saffron
warm milk and water to mix


Overnight put saffron to infuse into the mixture and cutting the strands and cover with half a cup of boiling water and a small pinch of salt. Cover . Put yeast into cup with a teaspoon of sugar and add half a cup of warm milk and water. Rub butter into the flour then add sugar and mix together

When the yeast has risen in the cup, make a whole in the centre of the flour and sugar mix and pour in the yeast, covering with a sprinkle of flour . When this cracks and the yeast sponges through, warm the previously steeped saffron mixture a little and add together with fruit and peel and start combining all the ingredients together adding a little extra liquid as you go until the whole thing makes a soft dough . Cover this with a tea-towel and leave in a warm place to rise. This takes between 35-45 minutes. Put into greased “loaf tins”, cover and leave to rise again until the mixture is level with the top of the tin. Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees for 3/4 – 1 hour. Leave to cool on a wire tray. Tea treat buns are large saffron buns cooked especially for “Tea Treats” days out and events ran by Sunday Schools for children.

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