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Lemon and Saffron Cake

Today we had two reasons to celebrate.   It’s my son’s birthday but it was also his graduation from the University.   Although the lemon cake was made for my husband ten days ago, I didn’t have the time to prepare the post for the new cake, which is a Vanilla and Chocolate Cake, so here is a picture as it will take some time until I post it, as I will be away next week.  My husband and I are taking a short trip to Roma.

For my husband’s cake, I wanted to make a lemon cake so after making the lemon curd and the lemon peels I made the sponge cake which I flavoured with lemon zest and lemon syrup from the peels.  All these were prepared from the previous day.

The next day I divided the sponge cake and wet it with a few tablespoons of the syrup I made the lemon peels.  I made a pastry cream which I mixed with half of the lemon curd and made the whipped cream for decoration.  I was thinking that the lemon peels would add some colour to the cake but when they dried I saw that they were quite white, so I was trying to find ways to give colour to the cake.  That is when I thought of saffron. It gives a wonderful yellow colour and a lovely flavour.  A sachet of Greek red saffron contains 0,25 grams, so I mixed half of the sachet in a few tablespoons of whipped cream to make the decoration.  Unfortunately I had made the candied lemon peels earlier, otherwise next time I will be making them, I will colour the sugar with saffron so as to give a yellow colour to the peels as well.

For the decoration of the cake I sketched the design on parchment paper and then cut the paper and made a stencil out of it.   I sprinkled some cocoa over the paper to make a draft of where I wanted to pipe the design.

Although this is a cake where you see “lemon” everywhere, don’t be afraid to use the lemon as the taste and flavour were just right.  The cake was awesome.  Not very sweet, it was very light, one of those cakes you could eat and eat and eat and want more.  The taste was very delicate with both the aroma of saffron and a  hint of lemon which made it irresistible.

Lemon and Saffron Cake, Recipe by Ivy

For the sponge cake

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: about 30 minutes

Makes: 1 sponge cake in a 26 – 28 cm. baking tin


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (from candied lemon peels)
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons lemon syrup from lemon peels to wet the sponge

See step by step instructions how to make the sponge cake here.

For the Pastry cream


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (5 tablespoons)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ of the lemon curd
  • 4 tablespoons corn flour (starch)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Whipping cream
  • 750 ml heavy cream (35%)
  • 3 tsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

See step by step instructions for the Pastry Cream here.

Whipping Cream

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 0,12 grams Greek red saffron powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for the design

Whip the heavy cream with the icing sugar until peaks form.   Remove about 1 cup of cream in another bowl and mix with the saffron.   Place both creams in the refrigerator until ready to use.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a  28 cm. spring form tin with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and mix in the salt.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar for approximately 10 minutes till mousse like and thick.  Add the lemon zest and mix.
  4. Fold in the flour mix gently so that the beaten air doesn’t escape.
  5. Turn mixture gently into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes till done. Turn out onto rack to cool.
  6. Divide sponge cake into two pieces. Put one of the pieces on the platter and put the ring of the spring form around the cake.  Leave the parchment paper on the other half so that it can be easily placed on the cake.  Wet both pieces of sponge with 2 tablespoons syrup each.
  7. Mix the Pastry Cream with the Lemon Curd.  Pour cream on the sponge, cover with other half, remove parchment paper and set aside until the cream becomes cold before proceeding to next step.
  8. Cover the cake and the sides with a very thin layer of whipping cream.
  9. Draw the design with the cocoa powder (optional) and pipe the yellow whipping cream first and then decorate with the remaining white, as you desire.
  10. Finally add the Candied Lemon Peels.

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31 Responses

  1. A wonderful and refined combination! Your cake is so prettily decorated, wow!


    Rosa xoxo

  2. happy birthday for your son,ivy!and congrats for graduation!a lot of happiness for him and for parents!the cake is delicate and pure…i like it very much!

  3. Very lovely looking cake–I know it will be delicious!

  4. Ivy, both cakes are looking very wonderful. However, I do like the vanilla and chocolate cake slightly more. Congratulations to your son on his graduation from the University and his birthday! A big day, huh?!

  5. De merveilleux gâteaux d’anniversaire, une décoration du tonnerre !
    Bon voyage

  6. Xponia Polla and congrats to your son, kalo taxidi to Rome and don’t leave any cakes in the fridge before you go!

  7. Liz

    Kalo taxidi! Have a wonderful time!

    Both cakes look delicious!

  8. that looks delicious. some lovely flavors there

  9. Ana

    Double Congrats to you son, congrats to the parents and Bon voyage!!!!

  10. My hubby loves cream cakes like this, but i have never had a courage to make one as i think it is too complicated.
    Should try once, thisone looks so beautiful.

  11. Forgot to wish Happy b’day to your son and a wonderful achievement to finish the university.

  12. Best wishes for your son’s birthday Ivy. The cake looks fantastic! Enjoy Roma!

  13. Happy Bday to your son Ivy!

    The flavors sound so beautiful and the cake looks delicate and delicious!

  14. Belated birthday wishes to your son and congratulations for his graduation. Another delicious cake!! I wish I could make such beautiful cakes and shall be looking forward to seeing your other cake recipe as well. Have a great time in Rome!!

  15. Ivy

    Thanks very much for your wishes.

  16. Ivy, I was just telling someone the other day that I don’t think I’ve made a cake (other than cheesecake, which totally doesn’t count) in YEARS….over 3 for sure. Yeeps! Then you go and post these beauties which makes me feel even more shameful.

    I would actually very much like to try to make this cake (lemon anything = Tina’s favourite) but when I try to load the page I keep seeing error messages in the script. Maybe it’s just my computer?

  17. Ivy,

    Hronia polla and Congratulations to your son. Well, and you of course! You must be so proud!
    This cake looks wonderful, we love our lemon cakes here! I like this because it looks lighter than my son’s favorite and it doesn’t require half as much butter.

    Have a fantastic trip to Roma!!

  18. Gorgeous cake! Congratulations and happy birthday to your son! Have a great trip!

  19. Congrats and happy Bday to your son! University? I am sure you are so proud!
    What can I say Ivy? Your recipes more I see them more creative and beautiful they get … I am not a cake caking person but I am going to try this cake … It looks soooo good!
    Have a great time in Rome!

  20. Oh. Ivy. This looks SO heavenly! And congratulations two times over to your Son!

    Have a lovely trip to Roma. I’m jealous. 😉

  21. I just love lemon cake – the tart and the sweet flavors! this is real pretty with the flower on top. Congrats to your son! That is great news!

  22. Great idea! The saffron and lemon combo is a winner. That cake is so enticing! Yumm!

  23. This sounds divine! Lemon cakes are so delicious and the lemon curd and cream with saffron sounds great. Have a nice time in Roma!

  24. Delicious sounding cake, Ivy. I love lemon cakes! Congratulations to your son!

  25. Belated Happy Birthday to your son and congrats on his Graduation! Lemon cake with lemon and saffron flavours sounds so delicious!

  26. It looks devine Ivy – I love citrus cakes, and this one is so pretty.

  27. Both beautiful cakes Ivy, I would love a slice of the lemon cake it is gorgeous and so elegant to look at.

  28. These cakes look gorgeous. How do you like word press. I'm going to switch.

    • Good luck with the switching Angela. WordPress is definitely much better.

  29. Yuor cake looks delicious, Iy. So sunny and bright and absolutely lovely. Congratulations and best wishes to your son rather belated though. 🙂

    • Thanks Aparna.