When I mentioned it to my Mum, she suggested I try with saffron. This kind of appealed and I set about baking. The recipe is a very old one and for muffins actually, given to me by my good friend Doctor Cutie. She's always been a very good baker, so I have quite a few of her recipes.
75 g unstalted butter
1 dl milk or water
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 dl caster sugar
3 dl plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
dissicated coconut for lining the tin
star anise for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven at 190 degrees C (gas mark 5).Melt the butter on low heat and set aside. Add the milk and stir in.
- Put 0.5 dl of the sugar along with the saffron in a pestle and mortar and grind it as finely as possible. Then add to the milk and butter mixture and stir in. Add the vanilla extract as well.
- Whisk the eggs and 1.5 dl of the sugar white and fluffy.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder.
- Pour the milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture, still whisking it in thoroughly.
- Bit by bit, add the flour mixture.
- Butter a cake tin of 20 cm diameter and line with dissicated coconut.
- Pour the cake batter into the tin, carefully place the star anise on top, turn down the oven to 180 degrees C (gas mark 4) and put it in the middle of the oven.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, check with a skewer for readiness.
As you can see my cake went a bit volcano and the reason for this is that I baked it a bit too hot - 195 degrees C, which causes the cake surface to set before the middle has heated up sufficiently and once it does, it expands and the only way to go is up in the middle of the cake, thus a volcano.
Due to various reasons I was not able to submit my cake into the competition, but will just bring it in to work anyway. It smells very nice, I suspect the star anise might have released some flavour as well.