Saffron Milk Cake is the Middle Eastern version of the famous tres leches cake (also known as three milk cake). But this dessert is not just any dessert. It’s delicious with the heady aroma and flavour of saffron. Bonus points, it’s extremely easy to make too!
So, about a year ago, Saffron Milk Cake started popping up at lots of restaurants in the Middle East region. Of course, being the foodie I am, I had to try it. And wow, it’s such a good take on the tres leches cake. At least that’s how I like to think of it.
Saffron is the main flavour here, with it being used in the cake batter and the soaking milk as well. So use good quality saffron, please.
Speaking of saffron, you must try this Shahi Tukda recipe too.
Saffron Cake is super easy to make, but the recipe does have three components. Worry not, they’re all super easy. I’ll walk you through the recipe, step by step.
How to Make Saffron Milk Cake
This recipe starts with a base of sponge cake. Once it has cooled we poke it well, and pour over the sweetened milk to soak it. Finally it’s topped with a lightly sweetened whipped cream topping. So let’s get started shall we?
The Saffron Sponge Ingredients
This is a simple sponge, that’s flavoured with saffron. Saffron goes a long way, so use just a little bit of saffron to flavour the batter.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this cake:
Sponge cakes have very few ingredients, but they can also be a little technical. Make sure you use softened butter, and beat it very well with sugar. Also, I advise you to use room temperature eggs so that they incorporate well into the batter.
Do not overmix the batter or else you’ll end up with a tough and close textured sponge.
Once the cake has baked set aside while you make the sweetened soaking milk.
The Sweetened Milk Ingredients
This is super easy. Just put all ingredients into a put, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Easy peasy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once both the cake and sweetened milk are at room temperature, it’s time to soak the cake with all the yummy goodness. Use a wooden skewer or a fork to poke the cake all over. Now pour over half of the sweetened milk. We’ll use the remainder for serving.
For the Whipped Cream Topping
Add heavy cream or whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a bowl if using a handheld mixer) and add the sugar. Mix on high speed for about 5 minutes until soft peaks have formed. Spread over the whipped cream over the cake, and cover tightly. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Some tips for whipping cream:
- Use chilled whipping cream. You can even chill the mixing bowl and beater.
- Use whipping cream that has more than 30% fat content. Any less than that and your whipping cream won’t thicken enough.
- Once the peaks have started forming, be careful not to over beat the whipping cream.
How to Serve
Saffron milk cake is usually served in squares topped with some of the sweetened soaking milk. Top with with some slivered pistachios, pretty dried rose buds and a pinch of saffron. And there you have it, a gorgeous and delicious dessert.
More Delicious Desserts
Saffron Milk Cake
For the Saffron Cake
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads plus 1 tablespoon hot water
- 100 grams butter softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Sweetened Milk to Soak the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- A pinch of saffron threads
- For the Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream heavy cream
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- Slivered pistachios
- Dried roses
- Pinch of saffron
For the Saffron Cake
- Preheat the oven to 170 C and grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with butter. Set aside, while you prepare the cake batter.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Add the saffron threads to one tablespoon of hot water, and set aside while it blooms and releases its aroma.
- In the standing of a mixer (you can also use a handheld mixer) add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium high speed for about 5-7 minutes until the butter and sugar are well incorporated. The batter at this point will look fluffy and pale in color.
- Add the eggs one by one, and mix on medium speed until well incorporated.
- Now add the saffron water and the vanilla. Mix until just combine. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, and set aside to cool while you prepare the sweetened milk.
For the Sweetened Milk
- Add the milk, whipping cream, condensed milk and saffron to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about five minutes or so.
- Set aside to cool.
- Using a skewer or a fork, poke the cake all over before you add the sweetened milk.
- Pour over half of the sweetened milk (the remaining will be used while serving). Set aside.
For the Whipped Cream Topping
- Add both the whipping cream and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (you may also use a handheld mixer). Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until soft peaks have formed. Do not overbeat, or else you’ll end up with butter.
- Spread this whipped cream evenly over the cake. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve Saffron Milk Cake
- Cut the saffron milk cake into even squares. To serve, place on square onto a serving plate, pour over 2-3 tablespoons of the sweetened milk.
- Garnish with slivered pistachios, dried roses and a pinch of saffron.