Impulse Baking, Saffron & Lemon Syrup Cake from Honey and Co, The Cookbook

A beautiful cake from Honey & Co Saffron Lemon Syrup Cake. It is a traditional Mediterranean semolina syrup with a modern twist with the added saffron. A very impressive cake to bring to a dinner party.

Some people have a habit of impulse buying; I have a habit of impulse baking. Thanks to the Westchester Library System, and a well stocked pantry, my impulse baking does not also include an impulse buy. On occasion, I will be browsing through a cookbook, whether one of my own or from the library, and start flipping through the pages, and then glance at a few recipes to get a feel for the cookbook. But now and then I will come across a photograph of food that is ever so stunning and with an enticing name, calling out me to take a closer look. Sometimes I wished I could to defy all laws of nature, and transport myself into the photograph and claim the food for myself.

Saffron and Turmeric for Saffron and Lemon Syrup cake.

This loss of willpower happened to me not too long ago when I was scanning over Honey & Co, The Cookbook by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer. Honey & Co is a restaurant in London, England owned and operated by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, the cookbook is a collection of their favorite recipes featured at their restaurant. I picked up Honey & Co, The Cookbook and randomly opened the book. What immediately appeared before me was a simple but stunning photograph of their Saffron and Lemon Syrup Cake. Hello sunshine. At that time, I did not realize I had dreamed of this cake. It was something bright, something different, something special, something I had to make.

Sliced lemons for saffron and lemon sryup.

The saying goes, “.. a picture is worth a thousand words”; this picture spoke to me, by repeatedly chanting, “Saffron Lemon Syrup Cake…” a thousand times over. The cake was pictured on a glass shelf placed next to a large tomato can vase, overflowing with bright orange anemones. (I also love flowers.) The bright orange flowers and the glowing lemon cake was simple but elegant. It was such a tease. I longed to be right there, standing in front of the restaurant in London. I had no choice and brought the book home. Within a couple of hours the cake was finished and cooling on my kitchen counter.

Baking saffron and lemon syrup cake from Honey and Co

But, I couldn’t resist….

But, the book opened right to the recipe… It must be a sign….

But, it is such a grey day and this cake is so bright and cheery….

But, I love to bake cakes.

I love it when an impulse bake works out, and what I imagined is not far from the truth. Saffron and Lemon Syrup Cake was everything its appearance suggested it would be: a sweet and bright lemon flavor, moist from the syrup, and the warmth of saffron subtly presenting itself with each bite.

Thank you Honey and Co, The CookbookThank you Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer.

Saffron & Lemon Syrup Cake from Honey and Co, The Cookbook

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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 Saffron & Lemon Syrup Cake from Honey and Co, The Cookbook

Do you want some Mediterranean sunshine and to travel to exotic places? Then make Saffron and Lemon Syrup Cake and you will be immediately transported. This cake is beautiful to look at and just as wonderful to eat. A very unexpected and delicious cake to serve at your next dinner party. Based on my little bit of research, Saffron Lemon Syrup Cake is an adaption of traditional semolina flour syrup cakes from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The semolina flour and the almond flour give the cake a nice texture, even when soaked in saffron syrup. This recipe is from Honey and Co, The Cookbook by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer and shared with their permission.

Ingredients

    For the syrup
  • 2-3 lemons -(see note)
  • Enough water to cover the lemon slices (x2) plus 1 3/4 cup/400ml water for syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups/250g sugar
  • A pinch of turmeric -(see note)
  • A pinch of saffron
    Ingredients for the Cake
  • Heaping 3/4 cup/140g semolina flour
  • 3 Tb pastry flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tea baking powder
  • 13 tbs/200g butter
  • 2 cups/270g sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups/200g ground almonds (almond meal/flour)
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • Zest and juice from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 350˚ F/ 175˚C/ Gas mark 4.
  2. Butter a 9 inch/24 cm cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
    Prepare lemons and syrup
  1. With a mandolin, or a very sharp knife, very thinly slice the lemons. A mandolin is the best tool for this job, but if you do not have one evenly slice the lemons about 1/8 inch thick. Place the lemon slices in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the pot of water and lemons to a boil and immediately turn off the heat and drain the water. Repeat one more time.
  2. After blanching the lemons twice, put 1 3/4 cups/400ml water, 1 1/4 cup/250g sugar, the lemon slices, and a pinch of turmeric and saffron in a saucepan. Set the pan on the burner and turn on heat to medium high. Bring to light boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 6-8 minutes, just until the the syrup has thickened and the peel has softened.Turn off the heat and bring the syrup over to your prepared cake pan.
  3. Arrange the lemon slices around the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Lift the lemon slices out of the syrup with a fork and arrange them partially up the sides of the pan and all around the bottom of the cake pan. The slices can partially overlap, but you want to fill the whole bottom with the lemon slices. You might not need all of the slices, so save the extras for a treat. They are delicious. Pour 2 Tb of the saffron syrup over the arranged lemon slices, then set aside. Pour the remaining syrup in a 2 cup/500ml liquid measuring cup and save the syrup for later. (Any small pitcher will do.)
    Make the cake.
  1. In a small bowl mix the semolina flour, pastry flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer or by hand. You want the butter and the sugar to be thoroughly mixed together but not fluffy. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, then the ground almonds and turmeric and mix together until well combined. Add the semolina flour mixture, the lemon juice and the lemon zest then mix well.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan then bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Rotate the cake around to encourage even browning and baking. Continue to bake for 10-15 minutes more. The cake is done when the cake is an even golden brown and is firm to touch. A cake tester inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean.
    Finishing touches
  1. Take the cake out of the oven rest the cake, still in its pan, on a wire bakers rack. Pour the reserved syrup evenly over the entire cake. Do this slowly and carefully. You want the cake to evenly absorb all the syrup so that there are not dry spots within the cake. Once all the syrup is poured over the cake, let is rest for at least 20-30 minutes before you unmold the cake from the pan.
  2. To unmold the cake, put a plate large enough to rest on top of the cake pan and hold the cake, (top of plate and top rim of pan will be touching). Holding the plate and the pan together, flip the plate and the pan over so that the cake pan is now on top of the plate. Gently lift the cake pan up so that the cake releases. Let the cake rest until you are ready to serve. The cake will keep on the counter for a couple of days, wrapped in plastic wrap.

Notes

1-Meyer Lemons are a good lemon choice for the cake. You want lemons that have a thin peel and not a lot of the bitter pith. I have had difficulty with the Eureka lemons from the super market. They tend to disintegrate more from being cooked in the syrup.

2- A pinch is a relative amount. The turmeric and saffron add both flavor and color to the cake. You can start with 1/4 tea of each. Saffron is a very expensive seasoning with a distinctive taste. A little goes a long way. You do not want to be skimpy, but you do not want to overdo it either.

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2 thoughts on “Impulse Baking, Saffron & Lemon Syrup Cake from Honey and Co, The Cookbook”

  1. Ginger – this looks delicious! I too am an impulse baker 🙂 I try more to collect recipes I want to try and then try them when we get a visit or invite a friend over to try it with me. Otherwise, I have entire cakes and other items that I can’t, or really shouldn’t, eat with just one or two other people.

    I love your posts, please keep writing!!

    1. Thank you Laura. I have the same problem now with only the two of us living at our house. It makes it challenging for an inspired baking spree.

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