Saffron Cupcakes for a fabulously forty friend

Friday, August 21, 2009

saffron cupcakes in box

A good friend hit the big 4-Oh last week, and of course I baked. Time was tight so I decided on cupcakes, but I wanted them to be really celebratory hence the saffron. For some reason, when I think of saffron, the word association that springs to my mind is yoghurt. So I adapted a Greek Yoghurt Cake recipe by Jill Dupleix(New Food).

This led to more word association and in came pistachios. There’s a Pistachio Marzipan recipe in The Cake Bible(Rose Beranbaum) that I’d always wanted to try.

The actual cupcakes were pretty straightforward to make – even thought they were a bit “peaky”. The taste of saffron was obvious but not overpowering and the colour was a gorgeous shade of yellow.

Then marzipan happened…
cracked pistachio marzipanArrgghhh - marzipan!

I usually find the Cake Bible recipes very easy to follow and virtually foolproof. But this marzipan – lordy! It ended up really sticky and hard to roll and just very difficult to work with. In all fairness, it was probably something I did wrong. The pistachios took forever to grind in the food processor - I'm talking over 20 mins here (with stops so my processor wouldn't die). So maybe they weren’t paste-like enough before I started. Also, I had to substitute glucose syrup for the corn syrup required, maybe that was the culprit. (It tasted really good though, very pistachio-ey).

Anyway, I managed to roll it out enough to make circles for the top of the cake.

Alack! Alack! Cake + marzipan = too dry. D’oh! Quickly I whipped up a simple buttercream flavoured with honey, popped that onto the cake, then topped it off with the marzipan layer and a quick flower cut from modelling paste. Finally a silver cachon to finish and it didn’t look too bad at all.

pretty saffron cupcakae

I was pleased the overall flavour combination worked but best of all, the birthday girl was very happy with her cupcakes and that was all that mattered. Have a great year ahead Yosh!

Btw if you've noticed changes around my links etc, that's just because I've been stuffing around (Aussie technical term) trying to find a layout that I'm happy with. I can't help it, I'm a tweaker.

Saffron Yoghurt Cakes
(tweaked from Greek Yoghurt Cake by Jill Dupleix. Makes 18 medium cupcakes)

150 g butter
100g sugar
pinch of saffron
3 eggs separated
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g honey
150 g yoghurt

about 150g flour (although a commentor used 200g and it still worked) - sorry for leaving this out earlier.

Heat oven to 180˚C.

In a dry pan, lightly toast saffron until it smells good.

Mix yoghurt and honey together, then crumble the saffron into the mixture and set aside.

saffron in yoghurt

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well.

Sift dry ingredients twice, add half to the butter mixture and mix well. Add half the yoghurt mixture and mix to combine. Repeat process until all the flour and yoghurt has been mixed in.

Beat egg whites until stiff and peaky and fold gently into mixture.

Spoon into cupcake cases and bake until golden or lightly springs back when touched.

Cool on wire racks and ice with honey buttercream icing.

(I'm lowbrow when it comes to buttercream - I've tried the mousseline style ones but I really, really like just sugar and butter in my buttercream)

uniced saffron cupcakesThe cakes peaked a bit even though I'm quite sure I checked the oven temp

Honey buttercream icing
(makes enough to cover 18 medium cupcakes)

100g butter (softened)
125 icing sugar
1 tbsp honey. (don’t use a honey that is too overpowering or you won’t be able to taste the saffron)

Beat butter until fluffy. Add icing sugar and beat until sugar is well incorporated. Add honey and beat well.


Anh said...

I love the idea of saffron cupcakes! Yours look incredible.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ahh brilliant save in the end! Isn't it terrible when things like that happen when you're doing things for a special occasion!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I love the sound of these cupcakes. My sister would devour them - her sort of flavourings. I may have to remember these for her next birthday. Great idea!

shaz said...

Thanks Anh - I was really happy that the saffron taste came through

Cheers Lorraine - I was literally putting the last flower on 10 minutes before I had to leave!

Thanks Julia - I love pistachios, your strawberry and pistachio tarts sound so good, I'm going to try them..we can swap notes :)

Hungry Dog said...

These look beautiful! What a nice friend you are!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Saffron cupcakesm now that's original! They look so pretty!



betty said...

these look amazing (even though you sort of stuffed it up)

the other week i tried to make cupcakes (but used too much sugar, my math is really bad haha)
and they had crusty bit i had to cut off but then i just rolled them into chocolate icing then rolled that into coconut & made - lamington bites! haha :)

JeffreyAngelo said...

heya. I found your recipe on tastespotting and gave it a try! I have the Cake Bible bible and well and my marzipan also turned out impossibly sticky and I used the ingredients called for in the recipe. Also, as a final note, you didn't make mention of how much flour for the cupcake recipe so I guessed about 7oz (200g) and it turned out pretty well. Thanks for the great recipe idea!

shaz said...

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks so much for that comment, it really made my day:) And whoops, thanks for the pointing out the missing flour, will fix. Cheers!