Lemon and Saffron Cake

Today we had two reasons to celebrate.   It’s my son’s birthday but it was also his graduation from the University.   Although the lemon cake was made for my husband ten days ago, I didn’t have the time to prepare the post for the new cake, which is a Vanilla and Chocolate Cake, so here is a picture as it will take some time until I post it, as I will be away next week.  My husband and I are taking a short trip to Roma.

For my husband’s cake, I wanted to make a lemon cake so after making the lemon curd and the lemon peels I made the sponge cake which I flavoured with lemon zest and lemon syrup from the peels.  All these were prepared from the previous day.

The next day I divided the sponge cake and wet it with a few tablespoons of the syrup I made the lemon peels.  I made a pastry cream which I mixed with half of the lemon curd and made the whipped cream for decoration.  I was thinking that the lemon peels would add some colour to the cake but when they dried I saw that they were quite white, so I was trying to find ways to give colour to the cake.  That is when I thought of saffron. It gives a wonderful yellow colour and a lovely flavour.  A sachet of Greek red saffron contains 0,25 grams, so I mixed half of the sachet in a few tablespoons of whipped cream to make the decoration.  Unfortunately I had made the candied lemon peels earlier, otherwise next time I will be making them, I will colour the sugar with saffron so as to give a yellow colour to the peels as well.

For the decoration of the cake I sketched the design on parchment paper and then cut the paper and made a stencil out of it.   I sprinkled some cocoa over the paper to make a draft of where I wanted to pipe the design.

Although this is a cake where you see “lemon” everywhere, don’t be afraid to use the lemon as the taste and flavour were just right.  The cake was awesome.  Not very sweet, it was very light, one of those cakes you could eat and eat and eat and want more.  The taste was very delicate with both the aroma of saffron and a  hint of lemon which made it irresistible.

Lemon and Saffron Cake, Recipe by Ivy

For the sponge cake

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: about 30 minutes

Makes: 1 sponge cake in a 26 - 28 cm. baking tin


6 eggs
1 cup sugar (from candied lemon peels)
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp lemon zest

4 tablespoons lemon syrup from lemon peels to wet the sponge

See step by step instructions how to make the sponge cake here.

For the Pastry cream


4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar (5 tablespoons)
3 egg yolks
½ of the lemon curd
4 tablespoons corn flour (starch)
2 tablespoons flour

Whipping cream

750 ml heavy cream (35%)
3 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

See step by step instructions for the Pastry Cream here.

Whipping Cream

500 ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
0,12 grams Greek red saffron powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for the design

Whip the heavy cream with the icing sugar until peaks form.   Remove about 1 cup of cream in another bowl and mix with the saffron.   Place both creams in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a  28 cm. spring form tin with parchment paper.
Sift the flour and mix in the salt.
Beat eggs and sugar for approximately 10 minutes till mousse like and thick.  Add the lemon zest and mix.

Fold in the flour mix gently so that the beaten air doesn’t escape.
Turn mixture gently into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes till done. Turn out onto rack to cool.
Divide sponge cake into two pieces. Put one of the pieces on the platter and put the ring of the spring form around the cake.  Leave the parchment paper on the other half so that it can be easily placed on the cake.  Wet both pieces of sponge with 2 tablespoons syrup each.
Mix the Pastry Cream with the Lemon Curd.  Pour cream on the sponge, cover with other half, remove parchment paper and set aside until the cream becomes cold before proceeding to next step.
Cover the cake and the sides with a very thin layer of whipping cream.
Draw the design with the cocoa powder (optional) and pipe the yellow whipping cream first and then decorate with the remaining white, as you desire.
Finally add the Candied Lemon Peels.


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