The saffron in the cake adds not only its distinctive beautiful color but also an elegant earthiness. Remember, rosewater and orange blossom water (which can be found in the baking sections of most grocery stores) are exotic and potent. A little goes a long way.
This recipe can also be used to make a gorgeous batch of cupcakes. Make each one a work of art by decorating the tops with non-sprayed rose petals and dried, candied orange rind.
Persian Chiffon Cake
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I prefer Canola)
8 egg yolks
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
14 ounces cake flour
14 ounces sugar
4 teaspoons. baking powder
8 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350Line 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment or 1-11X17 pan. Bring the water to a simmer. Add the saffron threads and cool completely. Whip oil and yolks until combined and mixture is lightened and airy. Stir in water and vanilla.
Sift flour and 1/3 sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir into yolks and whip at high speed for 1 minute to combine. In a clean mixing bowl fitted with a clean whip, whip the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar while continually whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the batter. Pour into the lined cake pans. Bake until the top springs when lightly pressed (about 25 minutes).
For the glaze
½ cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater
1-2 tablespoons Orange blossom water
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios (optional)
Whisk the powdered sugar, rosewater and water until the mixture forms a thick glaze. Add the orange zest. Pour over the cooled cake and garnish with chopped pistachios.