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Cornwall: Saffron Cake

This is a traditional Cornish recipe. Saffron colours the cake bright yellow, and gives it its distinctive flavour. Saffron comes from the autumn-flowering crocus sativus and is expensive to buy - the saffron is the stigma of the crocus, and over 4000 blooms are required to give one ounce of saffron.

Ingredients:

  • a pinch of saffron (1 32th of an ounce, actually)
  • 2 lbs flour
  • 1 lb butter
  • 2 oz candied peel
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 lb currants
  • 1 oz yeast
  • warm milk

Method:

Cut up the saffron and soak overnight by adding a little boiling water, which it will flavour and stain a bright orange.

Rub the butter in the flour, add the salt, sugar, finely chopped peel and the currants.

Warm a little milk and pour it over the yeast and one teaspoonful of sugar in a basin.

When the yeast rises, pour it into a well in the centre of the flour. Cover it with a sprinkling of the flour, and when the yeast rises through this and breaks it, mix by hand into a dough, adding milk as needed, as well as the saffron water.

Leave in a warm place to rise for a while.

 

Bake in a cake tin for about 1 hour at 350F.