Dried Lime Pound Cake with Saffron Glaze

Recipe by Louisa Shafia

Often used to season soups and stews in Persian cuisine, dried limes bring an intense, concentrated citrus flavor that’s simultaneously sweet, zingy, bitter, and deep. In this recipe, dried limes are ground up and incorporated into cake batter to make the lime-iest lime pound cake of all. Two other essential Persian ingredients — rose water and saffron — add to the cake’s bright, fruity fragrance, and almond flour enhances the rich denseness of its golden interior. 

25 mins
40 mins to 1 hr
1 hr 15 mins
one Bundt cake
Dried Lime Pound Cake with Saffron Glaze  - select to zoom
Dried Lime Pound Cake with Saffron Glaze  - select to zoom
Dried Lime Pound Cake with Saffron Glaze  - select to zoom
Dried Lime Pound Cake with Saffron Glaze  - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a Bundt pan with a capacity of at least 6 cups. 

  2. To make the lime pound cake: In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, almond flour, dried lime powder, and baking powder. Whisk and set aside. 

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, rose water, and vanilla on medium-low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until creamy. 

  4. On medium-low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. After adding the last egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk with the mixer running on low speed; mix until combined. 

  5. With the mixer still on low speed, gradually sprinkle in the sifted flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and spread into an even layer. 

  6. Bake the lime pound cake for 40 to 60 minutes (cake made in a larger pan will bake more quickly). Look for visual cues to tell when your cake is done: A toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean and the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. It should be at least 200°F on a digital thermometer when it’s done. While the cake bakes, prepare the glaze. 

  7. To make the glaze: Once the cake is in the oven, put 1/4 cup (28g) of the confectioners’ sugar into a spice grinder. Add the saffron threads and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 cup (113g) of the confectioners’ sugar, salt, orange juice, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth. Place the bowl somewhere warm, like the stovetop, until you’re ready to glaze the cake. The glaze should turn a bright orangey-yellow as the saffron blooms. 

  8. Remove the cake from the oven; allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Gently turn it out onto a wire rack. Poke the top and sides of the cake all over with a toothpick or skewer. Brush the cake generously with the glaze so that it’s fully coated. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar to the glaze by the tablespoon until it thickens to a drip-able consistency, about 2 to 4 tablespoons (14g to 28g). Pour the thickened glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing. 

  9. Cut the glazed lime pound cake into slices and serve at room temperature, or toast slices on the stovetop on low heat with a bit of butter until warmed through and lightly crispy. Serve plain or with Greek yogurt or whipped cream. 

  10. Storage information: Store any leftover lime pound cake wrapped at room temperature for 3 days; wrap well and freeze for longer storage. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • It’s worth investing in dried lime powder, which brings an irreplicable intense, bright-yet-earthy citrus flavor to this cake. It can be found through many online retailers, like Feast (Louisa Shafia’s own shop) and Burlap & Barrel

  • Use fragrant, brightly colored saffron for the most flavorful glaze. Louisa Shafia offers organic, domestically-grown saffron through her shop, Feast.

  • In a pinch, you can substitute the dried lime powder with 1 teaspoon lime oil, added along with the rose water in step 3. Alternatively, rub the sugar with the zest of 2 limes before mixing it with the other ingredients in step 3; then replace half of the milk (1 1/2 tablespoons or 21g) in step 4 with fresh lime juice. Neither of these substitutions will make the cake as lime-forward as the original recipe.