Keyk Sharbat Zaferan

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min (includes cooling and soaking times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
Saffron syrup cake is a special cake with so much flavor. A light sponge is soaked in a syrup infused with saffron, rosewater and cardamom, resulting in a delightfully fragrant confection. The slices are beautiful served as is, but topping them with coconut, pistachio and rose petals makes for a stunning presentation. Make sure both the cake and syrup are cooled completely before combining them.


Saffron Syrup:




  1. For the saffron syrup: Sprinkle the saffron on the ice cubes and set aside to melt. This will be your bloomed saffron.
  2. Put the sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the cardamom and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the rosewater and bloomed saffron and simmer for another minute. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool completely.
  3. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment.
  4. Put the milk in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice; let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the vegetable oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light in color. Add the eggs and mix well until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and lemon juice mixture and mix for 1 minute. Add the flour, baking powder and cardamom. Mix on medium-low speed until the flour is combined, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours.
  7. For the toppings: Once the cake is completely cool, slice it first into long strips, and then on the diagonal into diamond-shaped pieces (leave it in the pan). Pour the saffron syrup over the cake and let it soak in, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the desiccated coconut, ground pistachios and rose petals on the cake and arrange the pieces on a serving platter.

Cook’s Note

This recipe calls for ground saffron, which is different from saffron strands (threads). If using saffron strands, make sure to grind them first with a mortar and pestle before measuring. When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) This cake keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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