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+ servings

Yellow Saffron Butter Cake with Chocolate Cardamom Fudge Frosting

yield: 1 (8-inch) triple layer cake
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Special Equipment

  • A food processor


For the Yellow Saffron Butter Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons saffron threads
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided into 1/4 cup and 1 cup portions
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Chocolate Cardamom Instant Fudge Frosting

    (makes about 2 1/2 cups, enough for one triple layer cake)

    • 3 ounces 100% unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 2 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons whole milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    For the Yellow Saffron Butter Cake

    • In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons saffron threads. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts completely, and starts to brown and foam. At this point, both the butter and saffron are fragrant and emitting a faintly nutty aroma. Once the butter has browned, remove from heat, cover and transfer to a wire rack to sit for 1 hour.
    • Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Prepare three 8-inch cake rounds by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper round. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray as well.
    • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 4 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 3 cups cake flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix on low speed until well combined. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the saffron-infused butter (from the 1st step) and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk, before raising the mixer speed to medium and beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    • After 2 minutes, with the mixer speed still on medium, add the egg mixture (from the 3rd step) in 3 additions, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until the ingredients have been incorporated. DO NOT OVERMIX THE CAKE, or it will be dense and dry and I will be sad.
    • Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans and bake the cake layers for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow the layers to cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, before turning out onto the wire racks to cool completely and peeling off the parchment paper liners.

    For the Chocolate Cardamom Instant Fudge Frosting

    • In the bowl of a food processor, combine 3 ounces melted and cooled 100% unsweetened chocolate, 2 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons whole milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pulse the ingredients together to incorporate. At first it will seem like there's too many ingredients in the food processor and that they will never incorporate together, but continue processing until the frosting is smooth and a uniform brown color. It will happen! Use immediately.