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This recipe is in collaboration with the lovely Ashley from the blog The Little Black Coffee Cup. I met her at Fika Cafe, where I work as a baker, and when my boss introduced us I couldn’t believe that I was finally speaking to another blogger in real life. See, we are a rare breed to find in public as we often hide behind the screen of our computer and the lens of a camera, where we are in our natural habitat.

Ashley proposed to collaborate and she came over to my place with a ton of coffee, to bake together this magical saffron cardamom star bread. Go take a look at her splendid blog to read the interview she did with me about how the heck I went from studying math to becoming a baker, my new found obsession with Swedish baking and what inspires my recipes for this blog.

Now, we need to discuss this recipe… Strands of buttery cardamom. Saffron steeped in vodka for the night. Soft milky dough. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar. A dessert so stunning you feel bad eating it, but so good you can’t stop. It is a brainchild between a star shaped cinnamon bread, a cardamom bun and a St. Lucia bun.

The latter is what every Swede bakes and indulges on December 13th to bring a bit of sunshine to the dark winter days, when the sun makes a shy appearance for only a few hours per day. In the far north part of the country, the sun might not even rise on solstice. Hopefully, this saffron cardamom star bread can bring a little happiness for the ones you love during this festive time of year.

Thank you Ashley for taking such beautiful pictures for this post!

There’s a lot more holiday recipes coming up in the next few weeks. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom or follow me on Instagram to get notified!

8-12 servings


0.5 g saffron threads, the good quality stuff
1 tbsp vodka
375 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
66 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp cardamom
zest of 1/2 an orange
7 g (2 tsp) instant yeast
75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
160 ml (2/3 cup) whole milk
1 large egg

100 g unsalted butter room temperature
1 tbsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
50 g brown sugar

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp whole milk



Ideally, steep the saffron in vodka overnight for the most saffrony and yellowest dough or try to at least do it for an hour. Then, in a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, cardamom and orange zest with a whisk. Add the instant yeast and mix again. In a small saucepan, melt the butter slowly.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk. Use the same whisk used for the dry ingredients to stir the liquids. Add the saffron and vodka, as well as the egg. Whisk again until evenly mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer bowl. With the dough hook attachment, knead on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides, 5 to 8 minutes. You could also mix the dough by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer, but it might take slightly longer.

Grease a bowl (you can use the same one you mixed the dry ingredients in) and place the dough in it. Cover with a cloth. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.


Clean the bowl of your stand mixer and place all the ingredients of the filling in it. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for a minute or two, until it can be easily spread.


Prepare a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. On a clean floured surface, place the dough and divide it in 4 equal pieces. With a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough in a 9” diameter circle. Spread 1/3 of the filling on a first piece of dough. Place it on the parchment paper. Spread another third of the filling on a second piece of dough and place it on top of the first one. Repeat with a third piece of dough and top with the fourth, leaving it bare.

You should now have four levels of dough with three layers of filling. Trim the edge of the stack to form a neat circle. Use a small jar and place it in the middle of the stack of dough, imprinting a small circle. With a knife or a bench scraper, from the edge of the small imprinted circle, cut the stack of dough in 16 equal strips.

With your hands, grab two neighbouring strips and twist them away from each other twice. Pinch the ends of the pair of twisted stripes together to seal them. Repeat with all the stripes. Cover again with the cloth and let it rise until it’s nice and puffy, check on it once in a while. It took me about another hour. While it’s rising, heat the oven to 350°F. When it’s ready to go in the oven, make an egg wash by mixing the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl and brush the whole bread with it. Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until it’s golden.

Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and pull at it, sharing it with lots of friends over a cup of coffee!

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  1. Simply beautiful and just perfect for Christmas!

    • Thanks Natalie! That’s really sweet and may your holidays be merry and mostly stress free! ( ;

  2. Hey Steph,

    I just found you on FoodGawker because this bread looks delicious and strikingly beautiful! When I clicked on your site I thought, “wow what a beautiful site.” and then, “she looks so familiar”. I read your story and realized you’re the baker of one of my favourite cafes in the Toronto! I love Fika and your baked goods. What a crazy small world and I just wanted to say hi! If you’re working next time I’m in I’ll say hi irl haha! Sometimes it gets weird and lonely in this blog world and I want to tell you I think your blog is awesome. Take care!

    • Heum, you’re like the nicest person! Also, please come say hi to me at Fika! I hide in the kitchen often so ask for me. I’d love to meet you and hear your story. Your blog is so stunning! I’m so happy you stumbled upon mine so I could discover yours. Talk to you soon.

      • Thank you so much Steph! It’s a date, I’ll come find you at work soon. 🙂


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Hi! I’m Steph. Originally from Montréal, I moved to Toronto in 2015. I spend my days working at the most quaint Swedish coffee shop making cinnamon buns and adding cardamom to everything I bake. In this blog, I want to share with you recipes that remind me of home, travel stories filled with new food discoveries and the restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries I love to visit most in my new city.