Recipe: Gin and Saffron Cake

Gin, lemon and saffron loaf cake on a platter with white spring flowers

Gin, lemon and saffron drizzle cake - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Gin. The drink du jour. Who’d have thought 20 years ago that ‘mother’s ruin’, would become such a highly coveted part of our cocktail collections? I have to confess, I’m more of a rum girl, but I can appreciate gin infused into baked goods. Used in this recipe, the spirit riffs off the lip-puckering sherbet sharpness of lemon in the drizzle, taking it to heady new heights. 

It would, though, also work with tequila, white rum, white port, or even vermouth. 

The soft, plump sponge has a bite of aromatic saffron, which also does the job of staining the cake a stunning shade of egg yolk yellow. 

Gin, lemon and saffron cake


175g unsalted butter, softened  

175g golden caster sugar  

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2 lemons  

1tsp lemon extract  

3 large eggs, beaten  

175g self-raising flour, sifted  

Large pinch saffron 

2tbsps hot milk  

For the drizzle  

100g caster sugar  

100ml gin 

Pinch saffron  

Juice 1 lemon (from the cake)  

You will need a greased, lined 2lb loaf tin  


Add the saffron for the cake to the hot milk and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  

Mix together the butter, sugar, zest of the two lemons and lemon extract until really creamy.  

Add half the flour and mix. Add half the beaten eggs and mix. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture and flour. Beat until smooth.  

Add the saffron milk and mix.  

Pour into your prepared tin. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  

While the cake is cooking place the sugar, saffron and lemon juice for the drizzle in a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce by half. Add the gin and simmer, reducing by half again.  

When the cake comes out of the oven pierce it all over with a thin skewer and pour the syrup all over, allowing it to seep in.  

Cool in the tin then serve.

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