Saffron Cake

With thanks to Sue McMahon

Saffron Cake

With thanks to Sue McMahon

Ingredients

  • Large pinch saffron strands
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 500g (1lb) strong plain flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon salt
  • 125g (4oz) butter
  • 90g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 2 sachets yeast
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) milk
  • 125ml (4floz) water
  • 90g (3oz) currants
  • 90g (3oz) sultanas
  • 30g (1oz) cut mixed peel
  • 1kg (2lb) loaf tin, lightly greased

 

  1. Set the oven to cool gas mark 1 or 140°C/275°F.
    Place the strands of saffron in a small ovenproof dish and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes to dry the saffron. Remove from the oven and allow the saffron to cool slightly, then crumble to fine powder. Pour over the boiling water and allow the saffron to steep for about 1 hour, or overnight.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and then rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Mix together the egg, milk and water and stir into the flour and mix together to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes to give an eladstic dough, then knead in the currants, sultanas and peel. Return the dough to the bowl and cover lightly with a sheet of oiled cling film. Leave the bowl in a cool place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for a few minutes before shaping and placing in the loaf tin. Cover again with cling film and place in a warm place until the loaf is risen, and springs back with lightly pressed.
  5. Set the oven to fairly hot gas mark 6 or 200°C/400°F.
    Place the loaf in the centre of the oven and cook for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature of the oven to moderate gas mark 4 or 180°C/350°F and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when it is turned out of the tin and tapped on the base. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Serve thickly spread with Cornish clotted cream.
    The cake will keep for up to a week if kept in an airtight container, but if it appears too dry, try toasting it and serving with cream or spread with butter.

 

To freeze: Wrap the cold cake in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

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