Strawberry-Saffron Shortcake

Lemon syrup and saffron give the strawberry cake a beautiful floral aroma and beautiful deep color.

Active Time:

40 minutes

Total Time:

2 hours 20 minutes


12 servings

Lemon syrup and mascarpone-whipped cream — both scents with saffron, add a the perfect floral, sweet flavor to the season’s most popular dessert. To get the best out from the spice, Vasavada crushes and soaks the threads in hot liquid, a process referred to as blooming. It brings out the subtle flavor and distinctive yellow hue. The berries go well with warm spices, as they combine to give a powerful scent and color. Vasavada makes the whipped cream with a pale yellow hue by incorporating the saffron in the lemon syrup which soaks the vanilla cake as well as the whipped cream that is topped with it.


Vanilla cake

  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups (about 7 1/2 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Lemon-saffron syrup

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 10 saffron threads (see Note)

Macerated strawberries

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Saffron-mascarpone cream whipped

  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

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Bake the vanilla cake.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13- by 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and put aside.
  2. Mix together the milk and lemon juice in an glass measuring cup and place aside. Mix together baking powder, flour baking soda, flour along with salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. Mix butter and granulated sugar using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, on medium-high until fluffy and light up to 3 minutes. Stopping to scrape the sides of bowl midway through the beating. Add eggs one at each time beat at least 30 seconds in between each addition. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined approximately 15 minutes. Mix flour and sugar in three additions. Mix the milk in 3 batches starting and ending with the flour mixture, beating slowly at a slow speed between additions until the batter is completely combined. Pour batter into baking sheet. Utilizing a spatula spread batter evenly with a hammer 3 to 4 times on the counter to remove any air bubbles, and to make sure that cake batter is evenly distributed.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven until golden. A wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, between 26 and 30 minutes.

Make the syrup with lemon and saffron.

  1. Mix together granulated sugar, citrus juice, 2 tablespoons of water and saffron threads an unassuming saucepan on medium-low. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves in about 2 to 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium and then bring to a boil. Let it simmer, without stirring until it becomes slightly thicker around 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and put aside.
  2. Remove cake from oven and immediately spread lemon-saffron syrup on the cake’s surface using the pastry brush. Allow cake to cool completely in cake pans placed on racks of wire for about one an hour, 30 mins.

Macerate the strawberries

  1. Combine strawberries, granulated sugar as well as lemon juice, in an enormous bowl. Set aside at temperatures at room temperature, mixing frequently until the the juices of the strawberries are released, between 30 and 1 hour.

Make the whipped cream saffron-mascarpone.

  1. Combine one tablespoon of boiling water with saffron an oven-proof small bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Mix mascarpone and powdered sugar as well as the saffron in a stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment at medium speed until it is smooth approximately 1 minute. While the mixer is running at medium speed, slowly add cream. Then increase the speed to medium high, and continue beating until soft peaks appear approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Dollop the whipped cream saffron-mascarpone onto the cake once it has cooled and apply it in an even layer. Serve with the macerated strawberries. sprinkle cake evenly with any juices that remain in the bowl. Serve immediately.

To be prepared

Cake can be stored well-protected, in the refrigerator for up to two days.


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