Spices for healthy living

Lemon Cake with Saffron and Lemon Syrup


YIELD: 12 servings       PREP TIME: 45 min      BAKE TIME: 45-55 min         




  • 14 tablespoons butter, room temp
  • 1 1/3 cups + ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups almond flour
  • 1 pinch ground turmeric
  • ¾ cup semolina flour
  • 3 tablespoons pastry flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Spice Your Life Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Lemon & Saffron Syrup:

  • 2-3 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Water to cover lemon slices in saucepan (~1 ½ cups x 2)
  • 1 ½ cups + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • ¼ teaspoon amaretto liquor (or more to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Spice Your Life Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar, to taste




Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Set aside.

Prepare Lemon & Saffron Syrup (instructions below).

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl stir together the semolina flour, pastry flour, and salt. Set aside. Place 2 tablespoons Spice Your Life Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar into a very small bowl set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until they are thoroughly blended but not fluffy. Then, using a wooden spoon or spatula, manually stir in the eggs, one at a time. Next manually stir in the almond flour, turmeric, lemon zest, and semolina flour mixture prepared above until well combined.

To the small bowl containing the Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar, whisk in ½ teaspoon baking powder. The contents will begin to bubble gently, creating a frothy mix resembling partially whipped egg whites. Gently fold this vinegar/baking powder mix into the cake batter and pour the finished cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Quickly place the cake pan into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Then rotate the pan to insure even heating and bake an additional 10-25 more minutes, until the cake is a medium golden brown with a firm center, small cracks have begun to form on the surface, and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove cake from the oven and cool (still in the springform pan) on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, reserve and set aside ½ cup of the previously prepared Lemon & Saffron Syrup. Then using a pastry or silicone brush, slowly and carefully brush the remaining syrup over the cake. The goal is to have the syrup gradually soak into the entire cake so there are no dry spots inside.

After the syrup has been applied, allow the cake to rest 20-30 minutes before inverting the cake onto a cake serving plate. Remove parchment paper and then brush the reserved syrup over the now exposed sliced lemons to plump them up a bit and make them pretty.


Lemon & Saffron Syrup:

Slice 2-3 lemons into ~1/8 inch thick slices. Remove any lemon seeds imbedded in slices. Place lemon slices in a big stockpot and cover with tap water. Bring the water with lemons to a boil to blanch the lemon slices, then drain the water. Repeat this step a 2nd time. The lemons will become a lovely yellow color. (I removed the lemon slices from the stockpot when I was removing the boiled water because I found the lemon slices stayed intact better when I did this.) After the boiled water has been drained a 2nd time, add the following to the now empty stockpot and stir to mix: 1 ½ cups + 3 tablespoons water, 1 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 pinch ground turmeric, and 2 pinches of saffron. Add the lemon slices and heat to a light boil. Then reduce the heat to simmer for 6-8 minutes (or more if needed) until the syrup thickens and the lemon peels have softened. The syrup should be about the consistency of a good quality balsamic vinegar.

Turn off the heat and remove the lemon slices from the syrup. Arrange the lemon slices all over the bottom of the previously prepared springform cake pan. Choose the prettiest slices, keeping in mind that you do not need to use all of the slices. You can overlap the lemon slices if you wish.

To the syrup, prepared above, add ¼ teaspoon Amaretto liquor + 2-4 tablespoons Spice Your Life Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar to taste. Add more Amaretto to taste if desired. Set the finished syrup aside to be used later.



Lemon and Saffron Cake is a beautiful and delicious showstopper! Perfect for special occasions.

I recommend somewhat firm Meyer Lemons for this cake. The rind on this type of lemon is thin and has less bitter pith than the Eureka and Lisbon varieties, most commonly found in grocery stores. Choose Meyer Lemons that are somewhat firm, if possible, because they are more likely to remain intact during the blanching steps in this recipe. Make sure your mandolin or knife are very sharp before trying to slice the lemons. I used a freshly sharpened chefs knife and it worked very well.

The syrup should be cooked to the point where its consistency is that of a good quality balsamic vinegar: thin enough to permeate the final baked cake but not so thin that it causes the cooked cake to be watery.

For best results, make sure your oven temperature is accurate and your baking powder is not outdated.



Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar