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Baking | Cornish Saffron Bread/Cake – An Airy, Aromatic and Delectable Bake

2 June 2012 26 Comments

Cornish Saffron Bread

The vast open Saffron fields in Jammu is worth a visit for any traveler in India. I was amazed to see these tiny plants with no prominent shoots and leaves, but just large bright violet flowers with crimson colored stigma or saffron as the main plant body. Acres of farm land could yield just a few grams of Saffron. No doubt the hard work that goes in cultivating Saffron makes this spice rare & pricey.

In India Saffron or Kesar as is called in Hindi, is extensively used in making milk based desserts and for cooking aromatic basmati rice Biryani. Though I don’t use saffron in my bakes, these popular Indian saffron cookies – Nankhatai are my favorite.

saffron stigma

Saffron courtesy Wikipedia

When Maitreyee from Vav Life science sent me a sample of their new product (yet to be launched) pure saffron extract for testing I wanted to try out a loaf using the same. I remember watching a Cornish saffron cake in a TV show some time back and after browsing for Cornish saffron cake, I came across this recipe.

Cornish saffron cake as is called in Cornwall England is actually more of a fruit loaf as it is not sweet and has yeast as the raising agent. The distinctive yellow color of the loaf comes from the saffron in the recipe. The loaf is served at tea time with clotted cream.

The recipe calls for APF and I wanted to bake my healthy version with whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat Cornish saffron loaf came out pretty well and I baked a few APF loaves as well so as not to miss out on the authentic taste in the bread. The winner for me is my whole-wheat Cornish saffron loaf, I like the dense fruity textures in it which is filling and quite healthy as well.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

The saffron extract I received to test…


  • 2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1  cup warm milk
  • 2 tbsp. organic palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp saffron extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruits
  • 1 tsp. dried yeast + 2 tbsp. warm water
Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

Whole wheat Cornish saffron cake/loaf

Method; Grease a rectangular baking tin with oil and pre heat the over at 190 C for 10 minutes. Mix dried yeast in a small bowl of 2 tbsp. warm water and 1 tsp white sugar granules and leave it for 10 minutes to froth. Add milk in it.

Use saffron extract if you have or soak saffron strands in warm water overnight to get the best results.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

Its filling & healthy…

Combine both the flours, salt, sugar and all the dried fruits in a mixing bowl. Rub in the vegetable oil with your fingertips to form fine breadcrumbs. I added Goji berries, black currents, blue berries and raisins as the fruit mix. You could substitute any with your choice.

Make a well in the flour mix and pour the frothy yeast liquid, saffron extract and milk mixture in it and knead it lightly for 10 minutes to make soft dough.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

Loving this aromatic fruity loaf..

Place the kneaded dough in the greased baking tin and cover it with cling foil or a plate. Leave it for an hour or more to rise. Mine took 2 hours as I used whole-wheat flour in the recipe.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

Yes..my Goji berries are here too 🙂

Take out the cling film and bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes at 190 C till the top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.

Let it cool before slicing it, serve it with butter or honey at tea time.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

The mini APF Cornish saffron loaves..

For making the APF Cornish saffron cake I used the exact recipe from here and baked 3 small loaves.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

These are light and feathery…

The loaves baked with APF or maida are light with airy and honey combed texture. A wonderful indulgence once in a while.

Cornish Saffron Bread, eggless, wholewheat and healthy!

A slice of yum…with Nutella spread..

This is my first loaf using saffron as the main ingredient to flavor, the authentic recipe for Cornish saffron bread demands soaking the saffron strands in warm milk overnight. But as I used my saffron extract here, I avoided this step and used the saffron extract directly.

I have baked many a loves in the recent years, Oatmeal peasant boule, a pumpkin bread, savory loaf , wholewheat loaf, No knead bread,  mango-banana loaf  but nothing to beat this aromatic loaf of Saffron, a real treat for any saffron lover!

The aroma of saffron in this Cornish saffron cake is heavenly, just make sure to bake a few extra loaves..lest your neighbors start flocking you demanding the same.


  1. Use saffron strands if you don’t have extract, you need to soak the strands in warm water for several hours before use. Saffron extract reduces the soaking time and is easy to use.
  2. You may need a little extra milk to knead the dough if the flour you use is homemade and coarse.
  3. Add extra sugar if you like sweet loaves, this recipe has mild sugar.
  4. Too much of Saffron in the recipe will give a bitter tasting loaf.


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  • sowmya said:

    love the texture of the bread..it looks so moist and so very delicious..
    sowmya recently posted..Inji chaar/ Ginger juiceMy Profile

  • chinmayie @ love food eat said:

    What a lovely color 🙂 I make bread very often but still haven’t made a fruit bread! I am sure children will enjoy this delicious bread…
    chinmayie @ love food eat recently posted..What I am Eating Right Now – MayMy Profile

  • Priya Srinivasan said:

    Lovely sanjeeta!!!! they look so fluffy and saffron must be making it more flavorsome!!!!!
    Priya Srinivasan recently posted..Chettinadu Vellai PaniyaaramMy Profile

  • marla said:

    I am so in love with saffron + this bread/cake looks amazing!

  • Faith said:

    This bread looks wonderful! I love the pretty color that the saffron gives and the dried fruits are a great addition for little bursts of flavor!
    Faith recently posted..Sparkling Frozen Strawberry LemonadeMy Profile

  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef said:

    I’ve never heard of saffron extract but it sure sounds interesting. I love this bread!
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Food Writer Fridays – Meet Sofie DittmanMy Profile

  • Sayantani said:

    where to start??? marvelous recipe…love those little specs of yellow and can imagine the lovely saffron y aroma…am literally drooling over here.
    Sayantani recently posted..Patol er Korma (Pointed Gourd cooked in coconut milk)My Profile

  • Nandita said:

    That;s one awesome recipe. Loved the fact that whole wheat flour has been used. The photographs are simple gorgeous 🙂
    Nandita recently posted..Paneer Moong dal parathaMy Profile

  • dassana@veg recipes of india said:

    the texture is lovely sanjeeta. i have never made sweet breads till now. all i bake is the regular whole wheat bread.

    i have stopped making breads for the time being. with all the heat soaring higher and higher i dare not to bake or grill anything… in fact i don’t even feel like cooking 🙂
    dassana@veg recipes of india recently posted..mint juice – a healthy & detox drink for summersMy Profile

  • Joanne said:

    Saffron makes for some seriously tasty baked goods. Love the sound of this bread!
    Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough BrowniesMy Profile

  • mjskit said:

    You a definitely a committed baker to bake up several versions of this beautiful bread! Each loaf looks delicious but I do love the recipe you ended with using the whole wheat! This bread has such a gorgeous color and looks SO moist! What a lucky gal to have been given saffron extract!
    mjskit recently posted..Breakfast TostadaMy Profile

  • Sharmilee said:

    Healthy loaf idea…love it..looks so soft
    Sharmilee recently posted..2min Eggless Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake | Instant Microwave CakeMy Profile

  • EA-The Spicy RD said:

    Beautiful bread/cake Sanjeeta! And, I love the saffron plant photo too-I had no idea what it looked like….So pretty!
    EA-The Spicy RD recently posted..#icecreamlove: Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Ice CreamMy Profile

  • Srishti@ProlificCooking said:

    These day I am using saffron in sweet lassi. It really enhances the flavour so much!I really liked the use of saffron extract and the ingredients used in the bread..Surely this is gonna be my next try!
    Srishti@ProlificCooking recently posted..Whole Wheat Garlic BreadMy Profile

  • the wicked noodle said:

    Your dishes always look scrumptious! Great pics, as always 🙂
    the wicked noodle recently posted..dulce le leche ice cream sandwiches with toasted pecans & salted caramel sauceMy Profile

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook said:

    You just made my little hungry stomach to be SUPER hungry mode by all these delicious bread photos!!! Amazing… looks absolutely delicious with saffron in it!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Strawberry Cheesecake Ice CreamMy Profile

  • Jamie said:

    This is such a lovely bread and just looking at it makes me crave teatime. Husband gave me saffron for a Christmas gift and I’ve been looking for new and intriguing things to make with it and this bread sounds so delicious and just perfect!

  • Magic of Spice said:

    Just wonderful! I think I can smell the glorious aroma just from looking at this beauty!
    Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s for dinner? Crispy Polenta and Black Bean Cakes with Mango FriesMy Profile

  • rebecca said:

    this looks great I remember a patients hubby making this for me once, yours looks better though he he
    rebecca recently posted..Lake Garda, Italy SunsetMy Profile

  • rit said:

    sangeeta u are magician…ur dis bake is amazingly tempting

  • Lubna Karim said:

    That’s an really yummy bread….I can imagine how u r house might have filled with the aroma of bread baking with saffron in it…..

  • kankana said:

    never heard of saffron extract. I always use the thread.

    Anyways, this bread sounds lovely, and the photos are looking beautiful too.

    PS: I hope you enter the DMBLGiT (the photography challenge, I am hosting this month):)
    kankana recently posted..Chicken Biryani – Guest Post for Cristina @ Pinay in Texas Cooking CornerMy Profile

  • lakshmi said:

    I baked this cake today. It came out awesome. The recipe is so nicely explained and the ingredient list is also very simple. Thanks Sanjeeta for sharing this recipe with us. You Rock!!!!

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Lakshmi, Glad that your bake came out well and you enjoyed it…keep baking and rocking! Hugs.

  • Vimitha said:

    Looks so texture-ful and yummy. Nice flavorful bread dear..
    Vimitha recently posted..Coffee Milkshake… it’s creamyMy Profile

  • Terra said:

    I have never seen where saffron grows, how interesting, and a truly beautiful flower. I have never worked with saffron, but love the idea of baking with it. I found some at Trader Joe’s, I need to grab some now:-) Your bread looks gorgeous! Hugs, Terra
    Terra recently posted..Homemade Cherry Almond Ice CreamMy Profile

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