While saffron is commonly associated with Persian and South Asian cooking, did you know saffron buns and saffron cakes are actually a part of European Christmas traditions? Originating from the Scandinavian countries, saffron buns, loaves, and cakes have traditionally been eaten during Advent across Europe. With Christmas around the corner, we thought it would be perfect to share this saffron cake recipe made by Sahar Masarati from Sugar Alkymi. Sahar is a couture wedding cake designer based in LA who is a true culinary artist: every element of her gorgeous cakes are edible and no two cakes are ever made the same. Make sure to check out her beautiful masterpieces, and try out this recipe for this year's holiday season!

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs (room temp)
1 cup whole milk
1⁄4 teaspoon saffron threads grounded (mix with 1 tablespoon hot water)
1⁄4 teaspoons ground cardamom (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°, position an oven rack in center. Prepare 10”pan (3” height) with baking spray with flour.
  2. To make the cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until soft. Add sugar and mix until incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. With mixer on lowest level, add the flour mixture in three additions alternatively with milk in two. Stir in the saffron and cardamom. Turn the batter into prepared pan and gently tap to level.
  5. Bake for 1 hour (plus 5-10 minutes), or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 min before inverting it out on a rack to cool down.
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