Hazelnut and Saffron Cake with Honey Drizzled Figs

It was just about three years ago that we started Green Kitchen Stories. I remember the process we went through to register the domain name. GreenKitchen was already taken. So was OurGreenKitchen. We talked about how we wanted a short personal story to go with each recipe. “Hey, let’s try Green Kitchen Stories.” And there it was.

This was intended to be some sort of playground for us. We wanted to improve our cooking and photographing skills. To learn more about health and nutrition. And to have fun. I know it sounds like a cliché, but we didn’t for a second believe that anyone would find their way here. We uploaded a few photos on recipe sites like foodgawker and tastespotting, mostly for fun. And two days later we received an email that we had a comment awaiting approval. Our first comment!

So much has happened in three years. We had a daughter. Together we travelled the world. When we got back we made an app. And all of a sudden we were signed to do a book. The impact that this blog and all of you readers have had on our lives has been massive. Thank you for standing by our side. Thank you for your comments, likes and tweets. And thank you for cooking with us.

Three years have passed, three more will come. We are looking into the future with hope, excitement and – quite honestly – a certain amount of fear. Where will this road lead us? We have already gone so much further than we could ever imagine. Hopefully you will always be there to hold our hands.

Now let’s have cake!

If you look in the ingredient list you will notice how this cake is filled with middle eastern flavors like saffron, honey, figs, dates and roasted nuts. But where the middle eastern desserts often goes über sweet, this cake is more on the fresher side. Most of the sweetness is kept to the roasted hazelnut and date crust. The saffron is used in a frozen yogurt filling that is bursting with flavor but still tastes very light. And the whole shebang is topped with ripe figs that are drizzled with honey. We recommend eating the entire cake at once (but maybe not by yourself). If you try too refreeze it once it has thawed, it won’t look half as pretty the second time. We got some proof of that in our freezer.

Hazelnut cake with Frozen Saffron Yogurt and Honey Drizzled Figs
Serves 10-12

Crust
2 1/2 cups (350 g) raw hazelnuts (save some for the topping, see instructions)
1/2 tsp sea salt
15 fresh soft dates, pitted
2 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
1 tbsp drinking water

Filling
3 cups (720 ml) plain full- fat turkish or greek yogurt, unsweetened
1 cup (240 ml) full-fat coconut milk
4 tbsp runny honey + some extra for topping
1 gram (0.035 oz) powdered saffron (2 sachets)
8 small fresh figs, halved

Preparing the crust: Toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray on 180°C (350°F) in the oven, for 8 – 10 minutes or until skin cracks. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove skin by rubbing the nuts between a rough kitchen towel. Add hazelnuts (save some for the topping) and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse for about 10 seconds. The nuts should be coarsely chopped, but not powdered. Pour the nuts into a separate bowl and set aside. Add the pitted dates, coconut oil and water to the food processor and run it on high speed until the mixture comes together to a sticky paste. Add the chopped hazelnuts and run until everything is combined into a sticky pebbled mixture. Place in a 20 cm (8-inch) spring-form cake tin and flatten it out with your fingers. Put in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Making the filling: Place turkish yoghurt, coconut milk and honey in a medium size mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the powdered saffron very gently with a spoon. Remove the spring-form cake tin from the fridge and pour the saffron filling on top of the crust. Then place the spring-form in the freezer for minimum 2 hours (you can keep it in the freezer for days but then you have to let it thaw for about 15-20 minutes before serving it). Top the cake with fresh figs, drizzle with honey and finely chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.

Note: The texture of the frozen yogurt layer can turn out a little icy, because it’s not made in an ice cream maker. Make sure to use a full-fat yogurt to avoid the icy texture.

80 Comments

  • Oh my, that cake is absolutely gorgeous! And congratulations on 3 years!
  • Congratulations. The cake looks amazing and I imagine it tastes amazing too. Well done!
  • Eve
    Congratulations! I'm eager to try this recipe, but wondering if you could suggest anything for a saffron substitute. Thank you kindly.
  • dora
    when i see your posts i always think "how i wish to be their friends and live nearby of course, only to taste the marvellouse food you make! Shleppp!!nham nham! Congratulations for all you have achieved dora
  • so much can happen in a short time, and you are certainly a case in point! a much deserved congrats, and no surprise that your cake would be unique and totally stunning!
  • kaktusfink
    I made the cake yesterday, and as I can't freeze a whole cake in my tiny freezer-thing I left out the coconut milk and put the cake in the fridge for about 4 hours. It worked brilliantly! As I didn't have powdered saffron I used strands and soaked them in a little sherry. Thanks for the incredible recipe! 4 of us managed to eat 3/4 of the cake ...
  • Tel
    Thank you for the lovely photos and what sounds like a fresh and delicious cake. Do you have any suggestions for how to substitute for the pistachios? I am allergic to tree nuts, so the only "nut" I can eat is a peanut. Would that work? Or is there another ingredient that can be added to the dates to yield a similar crust? Thanks so much.
    • Hi Tel, you can substitute the nuts with shelled sunflower seeds that are lightly toasted. Good luck! /David
  • That looks stunning! I can imagine how refreshing and tasty it is. Congratulations - you've achieved so much in a short 3 years.
  • A knockout- beautiful with the yellow cake topped by the purple figs, very light for what's basically a cheesecake, and the crust is about the healthiest crust recipe ever. I've never seen powdered saffron for sale where I am, so I would just heat up the coconut milk a little and then put saffron fronds in it and let it soak for a while. There would be a few bits of saffron in the cake but I think that would be fine.
  • Three years! YAY! I first found you guys in the Fall/Winter 2010... and I fell in love immediately. Can't wait to see what y'all have in store for us!
  • Liz B
    Love and thank you for to you three for your inspiration and your wonderful recipes! Here's to a great slice of cake, and more years to come!! I'll be here to follow and share with you :) Liz B x
  • Maria
    Congrats! I've been a fan of your blog for about a year and I look forward to many many many more green kitchen stories.
  • Congratulations! I hope you continue for many years to come. This cake looks absolutely lovely, especially with the figs.
  • Philippine
    Happy Birthday! Nice story about the birth of the name! I find the personal stories so full of love and warmth. They are indeed a valuable aspect of your concept. You guys have a lot of talents: cooking, photography, design, inspiring, writing, etc, etc. Thanx for sharing them with us. With love from Holland!XXL
  • What a beauty of a cake. And congratulations! I'm looking forward to the next three years. Tomorrow morning I will certainly toast my green breakfast smoothie to Green Kitchen Stories. And that beautiful cookbook that I cannot wait to hold in my hands.
  • Mathilde
    Happy birthday to this blog ! Congratulations ! And thank you for sharing. Hummm... looks good this cake. Let's celebrate it and cook ! (Imagine the number of birthday cakes made for it ! )
  • Kai
    Incredible timing! My birthday is tomorrow, I think I'll be celebrating with this cake!
  • I absolutely adore your blog! It's the first 'Food' blog I read. Actually, the only one I read. Not only can you see your passion for cooking, but I love that you incorporate culture into your recipes! Traveling is my passion and I can see its your guys' as well :) Much love from California! I just got back from Sweden this summer, it's beautiful. :) And so is this blog!!
  • TFB
    Congrats on the 3 years! This cake is too good looking! I am on a diet and YOU are not helping! xx themusingsofateenagemind.blogspot.co.uk/
  • Congrats on 3 years and what a gorgeous cake to celebrate with! I would have never thought to use saffron in a sweet dish but it sounds amazing!
  • claudia
    I absolutely love your web site, the stories, and photography. It is always such a nice feeling to find other people with the same believe in health, food, and life in general. Congratulations on all your successes! Claudia
  • Fantastically gorgeous cake to celebrate a fantastically gorgeous - and hugely inspirational - food blog. I always enjoy the words & images as much as the recipes.
  • Wow, you just gave me goosebumps, your beautiful words combined with Agnes Obel playing on the stereo was just a magic combination! Thank you for all your post, photographs, stories and magic that you have brought me the last three years, I am so looking forward to much more...and a book. You make me smile on a rainy day <3 All the best from Josephine Malene
  • Congratulations on three years! I look forward to many, many more healthful recipes and stories.
  • I was so hoping you'd share this recipe when I saw it on Twitter! Congratulations on three years of blogging and the road you've travelled so far! I hope you'll keep this blog going much longer, it is so beautiful and your recipes are amazing!
  • Big, big congratulations on three incredible years. You give so much to us that is truly appreciated. I am so looking forward to the release of your cookbook! Big hugs'n'kisses from a faithful reader from Denmark.
  • Wow this looks so good! Yumyumyumyum.... I really need to make this baby VERY soon.. http://agoodiebag.blogspot.dk/
  • Fabulous - a delicious cake and a very sweet milestone. :) Congrats!
  • Joyeux Anniversaire! That's "happy birthday" in French. So proud of you guys. I have been a loyal reader from the beginning and so happy to see how GKS and you have evolved over the years. Now onto bigger and better things. Congrats on your success and thanks for feeding me well over here in Paris. Bisous!! (and can I have a piece of that cake please? :) xx
  • Happy birthday! It's encouraging to read how far one can come with a true passion. And your cake: just stunning to look at and to imagine the flavours. I'm going to empty my tiny freezer in order to make it the next weekend. Thanks very much for all your inspiration.

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