Clementine and Saffron Cake

by eat in my kitchen

Clementine and Saffron Cake

In the past few days, my oven hardly stopped working – I baked, and baked, and baked. I wanted to give some recipes from my book a final test run, which meant we ended up with three cakes, a bowl of cookies, and a huge pot of soup on the table. We couldn’t cope, so a bunch of friends came over yesterday – my happy helpers when there’s more food in my kitchen than two people can possibly eat. We started with mulled wine in the late afternoon, had an extensive cake and cookie tasting session, enjoyed the soup to balance our sugar shock, and finished the night with even more mulled wine. The dishes were all received with great enthusiasm (and with different favourites, which is fantastic), and this morning I woke up without a headache. It’s a good weekend!

Before I jumped into my test baking, I put a new creation in my oven, a fragrant clementine and saffron loaf cake inspired by Marilena’s Milk Pan di Campobasso – a traditional cake from the Molise region, in Italy. Marilena’s cake is infused with saffron threads and Strega liqueur (an Italian saffron spirit), and covered with a crunchy hazelnut chocolate icing. It was the first time that I used this sumptuous spice for sweets and I learned that it’s absolutely delicious when used moderately. It’s been almost two years since I mixed saffron into a cake batter so I thought it’s time to take it out of the spice box again. I added the sweet juices of clementines, a little zest, and some buttermilk, and turned it into a juicy teatime cake.

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

Clementine and Saffron Cake

Clementine and Saffron Cake

For a 24cm x 10,5cm / 9.5″ x 4″  loaf tin you need

buttermilk 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
saffron threads 1/3 teaspoon
plain flour 210g / 1  2/3 cups
cornstarch 70g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
baking powder 3 teaspoons
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, soft, 180g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
freshly grated clementine zest 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed clementine juice 3 tablespoons

For the clementine syrup

icing sugar 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed clementine juice 3 tablespoons

For the topping

freshly grated clementine zest

Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (preferably convection setting) and butter a 24 x 10 1/2-cm / 9 1/2 x 4-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, add the buttermilk and saffron and stir to combine.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, add the sugar and continue mixing until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. When the mixture is light and creamy mix in the zest and juice. Fold in the flour-cornstarch mixture with a wooden spoon in batches, alternating with the saffron-buttermilk (about 1/3 of each at a time). Pour the dough into the buttered pan and bake for about 52 minutes or until golden on top (slightly longer if using a conventional oven). Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before you transfer it to a wire rack.

For the syrup, whisk the icing sugar and clementine juice until combined. Prick the warm cake. Slowly pour the clementine syrup over the cake, sprinkle with a little clementine zest, and enjoy!

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

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