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+ servings

Saffron Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Mimi Newman
This saffron yellow cake with chocolate swiss meringue frosting is a fancy, overachiever version of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Make this saffron yellow cake when you want to celebrate something or impress someone!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 18 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 18 hrs 30 mins
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 8 2" slices


  • Saffron Yellow Cake
  • Adapted from Hummingbird High
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons saffron
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chocolate swiss meringue frosting
  • Adapted from Serious Eats
  • 6 eggs’ egg whites
  • 11 ounces about 1 2/3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter 4 sticks softened to room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 14 ounces a little less than 2 cups good-quality powdered cocoa


  • Prepare the saffron butter for the cake the night before you're baking/decorating. In a small saucepan, melt butter and 1 tsp of saffron. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and cover. Let it sit overnight. 
  • The next day, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with cake spray and a parchment liner. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine together 4 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix to combine. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the saffron-infused butter (from the night before) and then increase speed and mix until it’s all light and fluffly and well-incorporated. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups cake flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk to combine. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in thirds, and only mix until just combined so as to not over-activate the gluten. 
  • Pour the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. 
  • Let the cake layers cool completely before frosting the cake. 
  • Prepare your tools for the frosting -  a wide pot with water, a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, and the bowl of a stand mixer with a candy thermometer. 
  • Heat/stabilize the sugar and egg whites. Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar in said bowl of a stand mixer. Set this bowl on/in the water, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 185°F (85°C). Once ready, transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip at high speed for 10 minutes. (I set a timer and let it run).
  • Add butter to turn the egg whites + sugar into frosting. With mixer still running, add butter in, a little at a time until it’s all combined. Mix in vanilla extract on low speed until well combined.
  • Add chocolate. Add in the cocoa powder in 1/3rds. Scrape down sides to ensure it’s all incorporated. 
  • Finish your cake. Frost the frosting onto the 3 layer cake. 


Its okay to not steep the butter overnight w the saffron if you don't have the time. But you must let the cake layers cool completely!
Keyword saffron yellow cake, yellow cake, yellow cake with chocolate frosting
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