Saffron is a must around Christmas for me. It’s one of the most traditional spices that we use in Sweden around Christmas, and I just can’t imagine the holidays without a saffron-infused treat. Luckily we pretty much only use it once a year. I think my wallet might suffer if I had to do it year round – saffron is one the world’s most expensive spices..
I know everyone around here have been doing 12 weeks of Christmas Treats and what not, and if you look at it that way, I’m behind – way behind. But hey, better late than never, right? And I promise, these saffron treats are well worth the wait. Plus, they’re super quick to make.
Lingonberry cream cheese frosting. I imagine that a white chocolate cream cheese frosting would be really good as well.. Maybe next time.
Typically, the most traditional Swedish Christmas treat would be a lussebulle, or lussekatt (see google images here). I still need one of those every Christmas, but when something has been around for so long, you’re kind of longing for new twists of that traditional treat. And pretty much anything that has saffron in it counts as a twist (for me at least). This may sound weird, because a cupcake is very different from a biscotti or a sugar roll, but the saffron flavor in itself is so distinct that it really doesn’t matter what shape or form it comes in (my next mission is a saffron cheesecake!).
So this season I wanted to treat you all to some saffron cupcakes. To top it off I used lingonberry cream cheese frosting – although if you can’t find lingonberry sauce (hint: IKEA), just use cranberry sauce, they’re very similar. The cupcakes themselves are super moist (you can use butter or canola oil, personally I think that canola oil gives an even more moist cupcake..), yet light and fluffy – the perfect combination!
I absolutely adore the yellow saffron color.
Saffron cupcakes with lingonberry cream cheese frosting
Total time: 30 minutes, plus time to let the frosting cool. Makes 12 cupcakes. Recipe inspired by Femme (in Swedish).
- 1g saffron (0.03 oz)
- 1 stick butter (113 g), or 100 ml of canola oil (I feel like canola oil makes the cupcakes more moist)
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2/3 cup milk
Melt the butter in a pot (if you use canola oil you don’t need to heat it up). Crush the saffron in a mortar, or just in a bowl with a spoon. Mix the saffron with the melted butter and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Mix the all-purpose flour with the baking powder. In another bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until you have a creamy batter. Pour the melted butter with the saffron into the egg/sugar mix. Stir, and add the flour and the milk (I usually just quickly beat in the flour with the electric beater, to quickly get rid of all the flour lumps). Place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan and fill the baking cups 2/3 with batter. Bake in the bottom of the oven at 350°F for 17-18 minutes. No batter should stick to the stick if you poke them.
Let cool on a rack with a towel on top to lock in the moisture.
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Lingonberry cream cheese frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese (226 g)
- 4 oz butter (113 g), room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup lingonberry sauce (or cranberry sauce, if you can’t find lingonberry)
Beat the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add the lingonberry sauce and beat a little further. Let cool in the fridge so that it will be easier to decorate the cupcakes.