Cornish Saffron Cake

My grandmother was Cornish and a professional cook to boot.  Saffron cake was always on her tea-table along with other home-baked delights. Here’s her recipe for authentic saffron cake.  This recipes clearly contains wheat flour and is therefore poison to coeliac’s. 

Ingredients: Makes one large cake:

  • 5 ozs. sugar
  • 1 ozs  plain flour
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 6 ozs.  margarine or butter
  • 6 ozs. currants and sultanas
  • 1 and 1/2 oz of candied peel
  • 1 oz. fresh yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • pinch of saffron
  • warm milk


  • Take a good pinch of saffron add to  a small cup of boiling water and cover and leave to infuse for a few hours
  • Put the oven on for 180 degrees cent.
  • Grease 2 loaf tins


  1. Place the yeast in a cup and add 1 teaspoon of sugar and fill the cup to half way with warm milk and water and leave to rise. It’s important that the milk and water is luke warm and not hot.
  2. Rub the margarine or butter and sugar into the flour.
  3. When the yeast has risen make a hole in the middle of the sugar and flour mixture and add the yeast.
  4. Lightly dust this with flour to help it maintain an even temperature.
  5. When cracks begin to appear warm the  infused saffron water and add to the flour mixture
  6. Add the fruit and candied peel and stir in gently
  7. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave some where warm but not hot to continue to rise for about 45 minutes.
  8. Pour the mixture into greased loaf tins and leave once more to rise until the mixture level has reached the top of the tin.
  9. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 1 hour
  10. When golden allow to cool slightly and turn out on to a wire rack

2 thoughts on “Cornish Saffron Cake

  1. This saffron looks just like my Cornish grandmother used to make. I have been a coeliac for15 years now and would love to taste that homemade cake again. Could you advise on the amount of flour please , not just 1 oz I’m sure!
    Many thanks

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