READY IN: 95 mins       SERVES:8

Scarlet Saffron Pumpkin


  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 150g (1 cup) dried dates, coarsely chopped
  • 95g (1/2 cup) mixed peel
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) orange-flavoured liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 140g (3/4 cup) semolina
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g (2 1/2 cups) fresh ricotta
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 55g (1/2 cup) walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of icing sugar mixture
  • 2 tbsp of finely grated lemon rind
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar, extra



  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine dates, mixed peel, liqueur and half the saffron in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until just heated through. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to soak.
  3. Use an electric beater to beat together the flour, sugar, semolina, baking powder, melted butter, eggs, half the ricotta and half the water in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the date mixture and walnuts and stir to combine.
  4. Combine the icing sugar, lemon rind and remaining ricotta in a small bowl.
  5. Spoon half the cake mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Spread cake mixture evenly with ricotta mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over the ricotta mixture and smooth the surface.
  6. Bake, covering with foil halfway through cooking, for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool before turning onto a wire rack over a baking tray.
  7. Meanwhile, place the lemon juice, extra caster sugar, remaining water and remaining saffron in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens slightly. Pour the hot syrup over the cake and set aside to soak and cool. Cut into wedges to serve.