Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes by Play with Food

Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes

I had a good time recreating a version of the saffron and carrot cupcake recipe that I saw in the beautifully written novel – “Picnic in Provence” by Elizabeth Bard. I tweaked the recipe to suit the ingredients that I had on hand at the time and to make a smaller batch of 6 carrot cupcakes.

The books Lunch in Paris and the sequel – Picnic in Provence – have been the jewels in my recent recreational reading history. In my “spare time” you’ll often find me procrasti-baking, rearranging my vegie drawer or just generally pottering in the kitchen. However, reading a good book is definitely up there with my fave things to do. I love these books for a few reasons – they delve into what it is like to live away from your home, how food is a cross-cultural medium and it’s set in France. A favourite part of the world, for me.

Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes by Play with Food

This post on food memories and blood orange & chocolate cupcakes that I wrote a while ago is popping into my mind as I write this. As I explained then and reflect upon now, food is a powerful medium. For good. For bad. Embracing a positive food experience with kids is so important and why the Happy Mealtimes eCourse starts by investigating YOUR food memories, expectations and ideas.  

Everyone comes to eating from a different journey. In Picnic in Provence, my fave chapter is 16 – Green Bean Hour…. I was in tears of JOY reading it. The food memories that Elizabeth makes with her son are priceless and the detour in her parenting journey as a result is monumental. I totally agree with Elizabeth with not wanting our kids to be all consuming of our identity and why that’s such a conundrum when they mould US in so many ways as people, as citizens, as adults, as workers and as friends – they impact us on every level.  You’ll love this book for a meander through the early throws of parenthood with a very food based lens.

The icing that I made to go with the carrot cupcakes pales (literally) in comparison to what I imagine Elizabeth made in her book using the freshest provincial saffron that she helped harvest. So I’ve only posted the base recipe that I made and recommend that you follow a delicious cream cheese icing recipe like this one from Kidgredients – In a food processor combine 125gms cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla paste. It will make more than you need for this recipe – so whipping up her Apple, Carrot and Coconut cake would be a wise way to use it up! 🙂 Or of course, use the recipe that Elizabeth has on p205 of her book.

My adaptation of the recipe:

Saffron and Carrot Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Perfect for morning tea or afternoon tea.
Serves: 6 cupcakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp bi-carb soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup sultanas
  • 1 cup of grated carrot
  1. Lightly whisk the egg and saffton together and then add the sugar and whisk together. Then combine in the oil.
  2. Mix the flour, bi-carb and salt together before adding it to the liquid mixture until just combined - take care not to overwork the mixture.
  3. With a spatula, fold through the carrot and sultanas.
  4. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (180oC or 350oF) for 22 minutes in a silicon cupcake tray or cupcake papers.


Find the book:

Get the hard copy book via my Amazon affiliate link* at no extra cost to you or this is the link to Lunch in Paris if you like to start at the beginning of her story (totally recommend that):

*Having an affiliate account helps me fund the cost of running the website. As full disclosure, these two books were bought as my Christmas present from my mother-in-law and this blog post is all my own opinions and ideas and not sponsored.

What books have you been reading lately?  Where do you find food memories take you?

Please let me know your thoughts!

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