Rhubarb and Saffron Yogurt Cake

rhubarb saffron cake

I’ve always been a big fan of rhubarb. We had a giant rhubarb patch in our garden growing up and my great-grandmother used to grow a miniature variety which I used to eat raw. I loved it so very much. I’ve been fortunate that nearly every house I’ve lived in as an adult has come with a rhubarb patch but I admit I don’t cook with it as often as I ought to considering it is free food from the garden.

Love Yogurt_Yogurt WeekThis week is National Yogurt Week here in the UK. Never heard of it before? Well this is the first one! The Yogurt Council (did you know there was such a thing? I didn’t until this week!) reckon that 2.7 billion pots of yogurt were sold in the UK last year!

I’ve been making my own yogurt for years with my trusty electric yogurt maker. We live in far too rural an area to rely on the village shop to provide us with the 2-3 litres we go through a week and there is nowhere constantly warm enough in our house to make it the traditional way. My yogurt maker does the job though and you can find my recipe here. One of my favourite ways of eating yogurt with with a great big spoonful of rhubarb compote and some fruit and nut granola either for breakfast or as a late night snack.

I also love a traditional French yogurt cake. I’ve been making the same recipe for years and I quite often drop frozen raspberries over the top and sift some icing sugar over the finished cake for a quick, tasty snack (and a great way to use up sour yogurt which may be past its best for eating out of a bowl).

rhubarb saffron cake

BiB2014foodFinalist2Yesterday, to celebrate becoming a BritMums Brilliance in Blogging 2014 Food Finalist and since it was National Yogurt Week I fancied making a yogurt cake. I often buy raspberries on offer at the shop and freeze them, so I checked the deep freeze to see what I could find. I didn’t find any raspberries but I did find five bags of rhubarb from last year’s harvest. This rhubarb was meant to be used during the winter but I never got around to it, so I thought I’d use that.

I wanted to combine the rhubarb with a savoury herb or spice. Checking the freezer I had marjoram, coriander, bronze fennel, parsley, sage and thyme. None of those would do. I checked the spice shelf: what about saffron?

As I pondered I stewed the rhubarb (without water as there was enough ice crystals on it already and without sugar as I wanted to maintain the tart flavour of the rhubarb) and a gorgeous ruby red liquid emerged. This recipe was then born.

Polenta was used to replace some of the flour in my usual recipe for some added texture and flavour and saffron was used to colour the yogurt. The ruby red rhubarb liquid was used to make the pink icing (no food colouring added!) and I made some rhubarb saffron sugar to decorate the top.

An absolutely perfect Bibs2014 celebration cake, if I do say so myself! :) The golden cake has a gorgeous moist crumb and the soft unsweetened rhubarb pairs well with the sweet rhubarb icing and the crunch of the rhubarb saffron sugar pearls. All in all, I’m quite pleased with my creation!

Rhubarb & Saffron Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
A delicately flavoured yogurt cake ideal with a cup of afternoon tea.
Rhubarb & Saffron Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
A delicately flavoured yogurt cake ideal with a cup of afternoon tea.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
10people 20minutes 50minutes
Servings Prep Time
10people 20minutes
Cook Time
Servings: people
Servings: people
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C and grease a 9 inch round cake tin or a bundt pan.
  2. Grind saffron threads in a small mortar and pestle and combine with yogurt in a large bowl. Set aside for a few minutes for the lovely yellow colour to develop through the yogurt.
  3. Prepare rhubarb. If using frozen rhubarb (as I did) simply place the rhubarb in a small saucepan and heat. If using fresh rhubarb you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water. Stew over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is softened but still retains its shape.
  4. Whisk the caster sugar, eggs and sunflower oil into the saffron-infused yogurt.
  5. Sift in the plain flour, polenta and baking powder. Combine well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing over the top.
  7. Using a slotted spoon drop pieces of rhubarb over the top of the cake batter. Reserve the gorgeous ruby red rhubarb liquid.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes if using the 9 inch round tin or 45-55 minutes for the bundt pan. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean when it is ready.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Rhubarb Icing
  1. Sieve icing sugar into a small bowl and stir in the reserved rhubarb water. Combine well, adding more sugar if you want a thicker icing.
For the Rhubarb Saffron Sugar
  1. Combine all four ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and let boil for 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Pour onto a silicone mat or other non-stick surface and spread into a thin layer.
  3. Allow to cool completely before breaking into small pieces. A food processor makes short work of this.
To Assemble
  1. Place cake on your cake stand, drizzle with the rhubarb icing and sprinkle with plenty of rhubarb saffron sugar.
  2. Enjoy with a cup of tea for mid-afternoon snack!

I am linking this recipe up with a few blogging challenges:

First, because I’m really proud of this cake and that the photos turned out ok despite the fact it was raining and the light was dreadful, I’m sharing it with James’ I’m Proud of That linky over at Daddy Space.

Love Cake by Ness over at JibberJabberUK has a theme of flowers this month. Saffron is made from the dried stigma of the saffron crocus, so I think this qualifies! This challenge is a blog hop, so scroll down t the bottom of this post to see what other cakes foodies have been making with flowers.

Seasonal food is featured in this month’s Simple and in Season by Ren Behan and Four Season’s Food by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg.

Dolly over at DollyBakes hosts a fab Calendar Cakes challenge and this month it’s all about baking during the two bank holidays this month. I made this cake yesterday when the kids’ long bank holiday weekend started so I guess it counts!

I will be linking this up with Tasty Tuesdays over at Honest Mum when she returns from the Cannes Film Festival.

Lastly we have Javelin Warrior’s fab Made With Luv challenge,  Bake of the Week by Casa Costello and Celebration Cakes and Bakes by Jenny over at Mummy Makes Cakes!

rhubarb linky collage

Link up your recipe of the week

You may also be interested in my other rhubarb recipes:

Mini Rhubarb Cheesecake Pots (cheesecake in under half an hour?!)

Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream with Hazelnut Oat Clusters (a little bit of effort but oh so worth it!)


    • says

      Thanks Sally! I was thinking about you the other day – I realise when I moved from Blogger to WP I no longer had access to my blogger feed (where you were!). I shall pop over shortly and see if there is another way I can follow you :)

  1. says

    comgrats on being a finalist – and what a gorgeous cake – I am really into stewed rhubarb with a vanilla yoghurt – I don’t stew fruit as much as I should given how much we love it but I am getting more into it. Love the pink rhubarb icing too!
    Johanna GGG recently posted…In My Kitchen June 2014My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Johanna :) I’m a big fan of stewed rhubarb with yogurt. I made another dessert the other day (a rhubarb pear hazelnut crumble square for lunchboxes) which I needed to drain the excess liquid for and I served that delicious ruby liquid over my breakfast yogurt for the next two days. Lovely!

    • says

      Thank you :) I was really pleased how well it turned out! The rhubarb liquid makes the icing such a lovely pink colour without the use of unnatural food colourings.

  2. says

    Congratulations on being a BiB finalist – well deserved! This cake looks absolutely stunning and the photographs are beautiful. I am intrigued by the combination of rhubarb and saffron – definitely not one I’ve tried before. I am also impressed at the number of challenges you’ve managed to enter this to :)

    • says

      Thank you! :) It’s not something I’ve ever tried before either, but I did check online and other folk have combined the flavours in recipes. Not cake, but other sweet recipes. I did enter it into quite a few challenges didn’t I! 😀

    • says

      Me too, but I don’t make it that often! :) Thanks for the Congrats too – I believe congratulations are in order for you too! Best of luck at the Bibs and I hope to get a chance to meet you there!

    • says

      Thanks Ness :) Heehee, I assure you I am not in the slightest way posh! Hubby had been instructed to get me saffron some months ago for something. Just a little sachet, you know, and he came back with this great big (in saffron size) packet!

  3. says

    You can’t beat a good yogurt cake! I used to make them all the time with the kids when we lived in France, but none as sophisticated or mouth-watering as this one! It looks delicious. Congratulations on becoming a BiBs finalist too :-)
    Thanks for linking up to #TastyTuesdays, I’ve pinned your recipe to the Tasty Tuesdays Pinterest board.
    Sophie at Franglaise Cooking recently posted…Ben’s addictive hazelnut macaronsMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Sophie :) Yogurt cakes are a great way to get baking with the kids, aren’t they. Easy peasy! :) Thanks for your congrats too, much appreciated x

  4. says

    Wow, this looks delicious! I made a lemon yoghurt cake once but this has inspired me to try your rhubarb one. Yum! #recipeoftheweek

  5. says

    Firstly, I love the look of your website and the logo – so cool! And hooray for national yoghurt week (I love celebrations of food, it’s always a good excuse to cook something new) Rhubarb is one of my favourite flavours and I just love the colour it gives this cake. The cake itself looks really moist and delicious, thanks to the yoghurt and polenta :-) Delicious!
    Aimee / WallflowerGirl.co.uk recently posted…Book Release: Coconut Milk Ice Cream {+ Worldwide Giveaway!}My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Aimee, my super clever husband did both of them for me – I had no idea until recently he had these hidden talents! :) Thank you for your lovely feedback on the cake too, most appreciated xx

    • says

      Thanks Dom :) I was really pleased with how well it turned out. Will have to make it more often now – there’s still four bags of rhubarb in the freezer – four more cakes! 😀


    Looks delicious! I adore rhubarb – especially in cakes and yogurts so this does it for me twice! Good luck x

  7. says

    Saffron and rhubarb – I have never even considered this combo! But I’m so intrigued since saffron is a bit warming and rhubarb is so tart. The color contrast is certainly beautiful and the yogurt is a marvelous way to keep things moist… Delicious idea, Elizabeth…
    Javelin Warrior recently posted…Food Fetish Friday 5/23/2014My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Mark :) There’s not too much saffron in it so it’s not overpowering. It’s a very subtle taste for sure! It does turn everything a glorious yellow though.

    • says

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Most of my meals and recipes are made with what I happen to have in the house. I live far too rurally to nip into a well stocked supermarket for when I need something and our village shop just has the bare essentials. I like the look of the sugar crystals too – they turned out better than I expected them too. Thank you for visiting! :)

    • says

      Thank you Erica :) The rhubarb saffron was a strange idea and I did google it to see if it had been done before – it has, not in a cake that I could see but in creme brulee and some middle eastern recipes. It works :) The saffron is a very subtle flavour but I think it works well with the rhubarb.


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