Saffranspannkaka, or saffron challah, is a Swedish cake with a unique flavor and texture. The cake is traditionally served at Easter time, but you can make it at any time of year. Saffranspannkaka has been around since the Middle Ages and is often served with coffee in Sweden today. The flower of the saffron crocus. Which is native to Persia (modern-day Iran) and was used in ancient Greece as early as 400 BC.
It is actually a Swedish version of French toast. But instead of bread, it is made with a sweet yeast dough. Saffranspannkaka is very popular in Sweden during “midsommarafton” (Swedish midsummer). An annual festival that celebrates the beginning of summer and takes place on June 24 — or June 23rd if you are using the old Julian calendar.
It is similar in texture to challah bread, though it has a unique flavor thanks to its use of saffron. It is sometimes referred to as “Saffranskaka.” Since there is not really an exact translation from Swedish into English—you can see why!
Saffranspannkaka originates in Sweden where it is a traditional Christmas cake. It is one of the most popular Swedish desserts, along with “Rakottbullar” (Swedish meatballs). This recipe will make you feel like you are baking in your grandmothers’ kitchen and create memories that will last long.
How to Make Saffranspannkaka
Use a stand mixer to knead the dough. At this point, you can use your hands if you do not have a stand mixer (but I highly recommend getting one). Just mix it in some flour until it becomes more elastic and does not stick to your hands anymore – then form into a ball! Now put it in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or shower cap and let rise for about 1 hour at room temperature until doubled in size. Then heat up your oven without preheating it – because we want nice crispy edges when we bake this bread. If you are a true saffron lover like me give Galinhada a try, you will not regret it trust me! It is a Brazilian saffron rice with chicken and it is extremly delicious.
- ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled (1/2 stick)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon saffron threads soaked in 1 tablespoon boiling water for 15 minutes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
Mixing Saffranspannkaka dough
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until thickened and pale. Add the butter in small pieces and beat until creamy.
- Add this mixture to the dry ingredients along with saffron threads and cardamom powder; stir well to form a smooth batter that’s neither too thin nor too thick (it should be similar in consistency to cake batter). If it feels too stiff or too wet to spread into the pan later on, add some extra milk or water as needed until it seems just right—you do not want it runny or so stiff that you cannot spread it evenly! Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes at room temperature before using; this will give your pannkaka more structure as well as helping keep its shape after baking.
- Use a large baking pan to spread out the mixture evenly on your oven tray. It should look like an even layer of dough with no holes or bubbles in it!
- Use your oven mitts when handling hot baking pans (do not forget about them). Put them on before touching anything else so that you can use two hands. One for holding the tray and one for adjusting things as needed. This will prevent accidents from happening while cooking!
- When using kitchen towels to cover food that’s being heated up in an oven (like cakes), make sure they are thick enough not too burn easily (otherwise those charred areas might ruin everything else around it when exposed later on after taking off those covers).
Saffranspannkaka & Coffee
Saffranspannkaka has been popularized in Sweden for many years, but it is also gaining popularity abroad. It was created over 100 years ago in Stockholm, to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Swedish king Oscar II (1829-1907). Saffranspannkaka with coffee is a whole new experience you will not regret trying especially if the coffe is made with a bialetti brikka.
The first known recipe dates back to 1896 in Stockholm and was published by Johan Kock. Who owned one of the most renowned restaurants at that time. Although he did not give any details on how to make saffranspannkaka, his recipe has never been changed since then!
Saffranspannkaka is genuinely a vegan food. The texture of this cake is somewhere between a pancake and cake. It is moist on the inside but crispy on the outside. Which makes it the perfect quick breakfast or snack treat! My mother, whose family has been making this recipe for generations, has tested this recipe.
Tips on making the perfect saffranspannkaka
- Use a good quality saffron.
- Use a good quality butter. You will also need to use butter in the batter and as an undercoat for the pan. We recommend using salted butter, because it will make a nice contrast with the sweet, sticky syrup that starts to form on top of your cake after baking. You can actually use this syrup on many other things like Jilapi, Turumba or just a normal pancacke…
- Use a good quality flour—like all-purpose or bread flour if you can find it—and do not be shy with it; you want it to be able to support all those delicious ingredients!
- A good quantity of yeast will ensure that your pancakes are fluffy and rise perfectly in the oven (and at home!). For this reason, we recommend using fresh yeast rather than quick-rise or instant varieties.
- If you do not have access to fresh yeast, try adding warm milk until dissolved and let sit for 15 minutes before proceeding with recipe steps! This trick works best when using active dry yeast but may still work with other types in addition, depending on how much water they contain – so give it a shot if nothing else seems like working out for you.
Saffranspannkaka is a Swedish cake similar to Lussekatt (make sure you read about Lussekatt is you have not yet) with a unique flavor and texture. It has a history stretching back over 500 years, but it has also evolved over time to become one of the most beloved desserts in Sweden. The saffron challah recipe used today differs from earlier versions. Because we now use yeast instead of baking soda as a leavening agent, which makes this dish much lighter than traditional ones made with eggs or butterfat.
We hope this article by Edge of the Globe’s Lifestyle gave you a good introduction of this super delious pancake. And make sure you check our other posts. Thank you