Butter Saffron Cake

for the cake batter:
1/3 Cup sugar, plus 1 tsp
1 tsp Saffron
2 Tbsp vodka
1 Cup milk
1/4 oz active dry yeast (approx 1 Tbsp)
7 Tbsp unsalted butter (almost 1 whole stick), melted, plus more for greasing
1 egg yolk
3 Cups flour
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for greasing

for the cake filling:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
Flour, for dusting
3-1/2 oz almond paste, grated
1/3 Cup dried cranberries
1/3 Cup raisins
Zest of 1 orange
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp Swedish white pearl sugar
1/4 Cup sliced almonds

First, make the batter: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tsp sugar and the saffron threads. Add the vodka, stirring gently to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to 115°, then transfer the warmed milk to a large bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Allow the milk and yeast to sit until the yeast “proofs” and is foamy, about 10 min. Add butter, egg yolk, and vodka-saffron mixture to the milk bowl, and whisk until smooth; set aside.

Then, in a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, flour and salt; add milk mixture to the dry mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Transfer this dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 6–8 min. Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; allow dough to “rest” for about two hours, until dough has doubled in size.

Now, make the filling: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9″ round springform cake pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper; set aside. Take the plastic wrap from the dough bowl, and transfer this dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a roughly 8″ x 20″ rectangle.

Spread the softened butter over the rolled-out dough, then sprinkle dough surface with almond paste, cranberries, raisins, and orange zest. Beginning with the short side closest to you, roll dough into a thick pinwheel log. Cut the log into 12 equal slices and gently transfer each slice, cut side up, to the prepared springform pan. Nestle each roll gently next to the nearest roll, filling the pan completely. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and allow the rolls to rise for 45 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush surface with beaten egg and sprinkle with the pearl sugar and sliced almonds. Bake in the 350 oven until tops of the rolls are golden brown and a toothpick, inserted into middle of cake, comes out clean, 40–45 min. Remove springform pan from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow cake to cool on the rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

We adapted this recipe from Saveur.com