Saffron Cardamom Donuts with Lavender Honey Glaze and Crushed Pistachios

In the world of baking, incorporating an nontraditional spice into a traditional baked good can provide an exciting challenge to your taste buds and make you experience a pastry with new eyes (or tongues).
cardamom saffron donuts

Traditional go-to spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, are wonderful, warm, and familiar. But sometimes I like to challenge my taste-buds and expand my palette a bit, which is exactly what this recipes offers. The complexity of new flavors helped me savor the dessert and feel more satiated.


This recipe takes traditional cake donuts to another level by incorporating Spanish Saffron and Cardamom. To balance the earthly flavors of the spice-infused donuts, I made a Lavender Honey Glaze and sprinkled some crushed pistachios over the tops. It was really delicious and fresh-tasting.

Here's how it all breaks down...
In the spirit of full disclosure, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. It requires a good four hours of time and even more patience and attention. So save it for a day when your distractions are few and far between. And if you never have those kinds of days... well, just enjoy these photographs and we'll leave it at that.


Saffron Cardamom Donuts with Lavender Honey Glaze and Crushed Pistachio
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or about 20 strands) saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1/2 cup Lavender-infused honey
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup crushed pistachios

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a doughnut pan.

In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%) with saffron strands. Gradually bring to a boil, stirring frequently. As soon as milk starts boiling, remove from heat and let steep for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. This process releases the saffron flavor from the strands and infuses the milk with a deep yellow color.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, saffron-infused milk, vanilla (or almond) extract and shortening. Beat until mixed. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.

Fill each doughnut form approximately 3/4 full. Bake 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly (5-10 minutes) before removing from the pan and placing on cooling rack.

As doughnuts are cooling, prepare the glaze by combining 1/2 cup of Lavender-infused honey with 1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is blended.

Dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze upside down (face first) until they are a little more than halfway submerged. Turn right side up and place on cooling rack (side note: this is a sticky messy process, so I would recommend placing wax paper or aluminum foil under the cooling rack to catch any runaway glaze.)

As soon as the glaze is applied, sprinkle the crushed pistachio on the top of the doughnut, pressing larger pieces into place if necessary.

Allow to cool for an additional 10 minutes and then enjoy! These babies are best enjoyed the day of :)

1 comment:

  1. Erin, my first time here and I loved your blog. Really nice recipe. Absolutely mouth-watering!! Have you got anything left for me?