Saffron Almond & Olive Oil Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake.
This saffron-infused cake is rich and moist with a topping of sliced almonds and our Saffron Sugar for a pleasing crunch — plus it’s gluten- and dairy-free. And, it’s lovely served with a cup of tea lightly sweetened with some Saffron Sugar. For a fancier dessert, the cake can be ‘dressed up’ with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
If you don’t have almond extract on hand, simply omit it. It heightens the almond flavor but the cake will still be delicious without it.
For the cake:
Pinch Afghan Saffron threads
¾ cup sugar, plus a pinch for grinding saffron
½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon (scant) cardamom seeds, ground to a powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup light coconut milk
½ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
4 teaspoons Saffron Sugar
Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the bottom of a heavy, 9-inch round cake pan. Brush the inside of the cake pan with olive oil, line the bottom with the parchment circle, then brush it with oil, too. Set aside.
Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar in a mortar and pestle or crush it with your fingers. Put the almond and vanilla extracts into a small bowl or cup. Add the ground saffron and set aside to infuse for about 15 minutes.
Put ¾ cup sugar, the almond and coconut flours, baking powder, cardamom, and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk gently to combine and break up any lumps of flour.
Put the coconut milk, oil, saffron-infused extracts, 2 whole eggs and 1 yolk into a smaller mixing bowl and whisk until completely combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir to create a thick, smooth batter.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and use a spatula to spread it and smooth the top. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top followed by the Saffron Sugar.
Put the pan into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is lightly golden on the top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (The internal temperature should be about 195° F.)
Cool the cake in the pan for at least 20 minutes before turning it out. Cool completely before slicing/serving.
Note: Juicy, ripe peaches are especially nice with this cake. To prepare them, slice and toss with a spoonful of Saffron Sugar, a few drops of rose water, and a squeeze of lemon juice (to prevent browning). Let the peaches rest for 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to bloom.