Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake

Fresh ground saffron is not just for paella! It makes this buttery saffron and raisin pound cake aromatic, exotic and delectable!
Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake by

As I have mentioned time and time again on my blog, I do not consider myself a baker. I do not have the training or second sense when it comes to baking. Nor, do I have the patience to meticulously decorate my baked creations. I gravitate towards simpler desserts, where a primary ingredient gets all of the attention, whether it be a fruit or a spice.

Creating and developing a brand-spanking new dessert recipe is challenging, too. Unlike cooking a meal, where the ingredients can be eye-balled and adjusted to one’s personal taste, baking is truly an art. Measuring accurately is a must. Attention to detail is absolute. And, I never post one of my own baked recipes without re-creating it half a dozen times for continued success.

Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake by

Luckily for my family, they have enjoyed the small modifications I adjusted each time I baked this luscious Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake.

My husband’s favorite cookie is the Saffron & Raisin Cookie. It is buttery. Oh yeah, lots of butter. And features saffron with dots of raisins. I realized that this combination would be perfect in a buttery pound cake.

Yes, it’s rich.

Yes, it’s buttery.

Yes, it’s delicious.

Yes, you will eat the crumbs.

ALL of the crumbs.

Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake by

Now don’t be intimidated by using saffron. It is expensive – more expensive per ounce than oil or gold. But, with high quality products, especially saffron, very little goes very far.

Saffron Threads for Saffron & Raisin Pound Cake

High quality saffron threads are ALL RED. No yellow or light orange. If it is yellow, it is probably Safflower Threads, a cheaper alternative that does not yield the brilliant yellow color or powerful aroma of true saffron. I see a lot of food bloggers mistakenly using safflower thinking that it is saffron. It is NOT saffron. It is nothing like saffron.

I store my saffron in a sealed container in my pantry. When I pop it open, I’m blown away by the smell each and every time. THAT is what separates the cheap stuff from the good stuff.

I keep my saffron in thread form for storage and then ground them as needed, with the tried and true mortar and pestle. When you add a bit of hot water to the ground saffron, you will notice, again, that the high quality saffron will glow a dark orange, not yellow.

Saffron in Water for Saffron & Raisin Pound Cake

Back in November, I wrote all about saffron and I gave away some of Persian saffron to one lucky reader.

Saffron & Raisin Pound Cake

Inspired by the buttery saffron cookie, this pound cake is incredibly moist and irresistible. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 1/8 tsp saffron, grounded
  • 1 TBS water, hot
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, unsalted, softened
  • 2 eggs, large, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain Greek
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a small bowl combine & set aside:
    • 1/8 tsp saffron , grounded
    • 1 TBS water , hot
  3. Apply non-stick spray to a 9"x5" loaf pan, and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang.
    • 1/8 tsp saffron , grounded
    • 1 TBS water , hot
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together:
    • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. Using an electric mixer, whisk together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes:
    • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup butter, unsalted , softened
  6. Mix in:
    • 2 eggs, large , lightly beaten
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix in the reserved saffron liquid.
  8. On low speed, mix in half of the flour mixture.
  9. Mix in:
    • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain Greek
  10. Mix in the remainder of the flour mixture, until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not over mix.
  11. Stir in by hand:
    • 1 cup raisins
  12. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. The batter will be thick.
  13. Gently tap the pan to your work surface to remove air bubbles.
  14. Bake in the oven for 60-75 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  15. Let the cake cool in the pan over a cooling rack for 30 mins.
  16. Life the cake out of the pan and place on the cooling rack to completely cool.
  17. Slice cake to desired thickness once cake is at room temperature.
  18. Store cooled caked, wrapped tightly in plastic at room temperature, up to 3 days.


Cooking Tips: The amount of saffron you use is dependent on quality. This recipe's amount is for higher quality of saffron. Adjust your measurements accordingly.

Prep Time:

Yield: 10 servings

Cook Time:

Saffron & Raisin Pound Cake Detail

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38 Responses to Saffron and Raisin Pound Cake

  1. like you am also crazy about saffron and hey like before I toally love this giveaway. I like your FB page already

  2. Your hearth adventures warm my inbox

  3. Also My family is particularly fond of Saffron Pulao

  4. Jane Wielhouwer at #

    Hi! I am totally new to Persian cooking, but recently have made a Persian friend. She has treated me to many of her delightful treats and teas, all of which are new tastes to my Scandanavian heritage. However, in answer to the question re: saffron, and to enter the givaway, yes, I have used saffron before. We have traveled to Spain and, while there, purchased saffron, mostly to make paella. It was costly, but not as much as the Persian, apparently. Anyway, thanks for your e-mails. And, yes, I am happy to learn more about both the food and culture of Iran. Thank you.

    • Laura at #

      Wonderful! I’m so glad that you have tried (& enjoyed) Persian cuisine. Spanish saffron is of lesser quality than Persian, but is definitely more affordable. Just buy threads, not crushed, as some colorants are added to crushed saffron to give more color. The distinct aroma will be missing, though.

  5. Pat R at #

    I’m already a fan of you on FB

  6. Pat R at #

    I already follow you on email

  7. Pat R at #

    Saffron intimidates me!!!!

    • Laura at #

      Don’t be intimidated! It’s just a spice!

  8. love2dine at #

    Oh wow, I have never had anything like this before, but it looks perfect! Yum!!

  9. Wonderful looking little cakes! I am your Facebook fan and have liked your page!

  10. Haha eat the crumbs! I will totally do that if these are in front of me!!! I’m already your FB fan.

  11. And following Twitter too.

  12. I’ve been already subscribing.

  13. And pinned this already.

  14. I’ve never used saffron but I’d love to – your cakes are so cute!

  15. I’m a fan on Facebook.

  16. I’m subscribed via RSS.

  17. After your previous saffron giveaway I got so obsessed with it that I found it in a small local grocery store and bought it. So I can already make this cake :-). Love the recipe!

  18. And I retweeted about this giveaway

  19. And I liked and shared on FB

  20. Eha at #

    Yes, I do get your newsheet! And love it! And, yes, I have used saffron, I daresay both the Spanish and Persian etc to cook wonderful dishes, oft of the rice variety, from Morocco travelling east all the way to India and beyond. Is there another aroma like it when you open your ordinarily hidden precious horde of the spice . . . . ? Well, mine managed to get finished some time ago, so . . .

  21. mjskit at #

    This pound cake looks really, really good! It’s hard to believe that you’re not a baker! I’ve never cook with saffron, but I have eaten it in many dishes and loved it. Thanks for such a great giveaway!

  22. mjskit at #

    I have subscribed to your post via email.

  23. mjskit at #

    I’m already a fan of yours on FB

  24. mjskit at #

    I already follow you on Twitter and I just tweeted the giveaway.

  25. mjskit at #

    I pinned this post!

  26. Yvonne at #


    I pined the post to my Recipes board in Pinterest. I would love to win some saffron!

  27. Oh, saffron is such great stuff! This post reminds me that I have some hidden away that I have to use. Maybe in a paella? I haven’t made that for awhile. Although I’m tempted by your pound cake, too. Fun post – thanks.

  28. nalani at #

    i’ve always wanted to try using saffron in a nice easy paella.. mmm… but have never gotten around to it … however, your saffron & raisin pound cake looks so lovely, dee-lish, and different! i bet i could make a lot of friends by making it! i didn’t realize that there are different varieties, thank you for the info you provided on how to tell good saffron from the rest!

  29. Terri at #

    I subscribe via RSS.

  30. Terri at #

    I have never used saffron, but I would like to try your recipe for the cake.

  31. Deb Harris at #

    I have not tried Saffron yet. Am definitely intimidated by it, I’ve always wanted to try an authentic paella & now reading your blog & others & have been wanting to try several recipes. I don’t usually hesitate trying recipes but hearing about how many flowers it takes to harvest a pound of Saffron & how it’s the most expensive spice in the world makes me worry about messing it up. I also assume the Saffron in the grocery store is probably not the best. I think I need to pick a good recipe & just jump in!

  32. Deb Harris at #

    I follow you on twitter & tweeted

  33. Deb Harris at #

    I subscribe to newsletter

  34. Hi Laura,
    I’m an email subscriber.

  35. Hi Laura,
    I liked you on FB

  36. I twitted your giveaway

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