Saffron cats
Efterrätt,  mjuka kakor & bullar

Saffron cats – Swedish lussekatter

According to history, it is said that the custom of the saffron cats originated from 16th century Germany. They were baked to prevent the devil from dressing up as the appearance of a cat and spank the children. While Jesus in the shape of a child gave the kind children sweet buns. The devil was also called Lucifer and that gave the buns the nickname, Lussekatter. Lussecats. The buns could be shaped into any kind of form, but the sun cross was the most common. To keep Lucifer (Lusse) away (who was said to be afraid of the light) the buns were coloured bright yellow by using saffron.

The darkest night of the year

Lucia is always celebrated on the 13th of December and it’s the darkest night of the year. Typically Lucia is celebrated in the morning by a light-bearing and singing Lucia, with her tärnor and stjärngossar. They also bring saffron cats and gingerbread for everyone to eat.

Saffron and singing

I used to love Lucia a lot, not only because I love eating saffron cats, but there’s something magical about the whole day.

While I was never voted to be Lucia, I was chosen to sing St: Lucia in Italian as a solo performance. I loved every minute of it. Both the performance and the eating.

Going to the movies

When I was a teenager I used to go for a movie marathon. Our local movie theatre used to show three different movies in one night as a Lusse wake. They started on the 12th at around 7 pm and both snacks and saffron buns were on the menu. I usually slept through at least the last movie. But, I remember it as being so much fun. That’s why I feel very pleased to team up with Hotel Noble House this evening for a Lusselelle Staycation. They have a small movie theatre inside their hotel, which I will tell more about later. And we are launching a new concept today.

All things saffron

To celebrate today, try my recipe for Lusse cats and brighten up your day! The recipe is easy and the buns are really airy and will melt in your mouth. Typically we use raisins to put in the middle of each s, but I don’t like raisins. With inspiration from Diadonna and my home country, Hungary I used poppy seeds and decorating sugar. There’s also a version with white chocolate and almond paste, yum!!

Please share, like or comment, it would make so happy!

Happy Lucia!

Saffron cats – Swedish lussekatter

Förberedelser30 minuter
Active Time9 minuter
Total tid1 timme 39 minuter
Måltid: buns, Dessert, sweet buns
Kök: Swedish
Keyword: st lucia
Yield: 24 buns
Författare: Caroline Vass


  • 50 gr fresh yeast
  • 5 dl milk of your choice
  • 175 gr butter softened
  • 0,5 gr saffron
  • 2 dl sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 13-14 dl wheat flour
  • 60 raisins or whatever you want to decorate with
  • 1 egg yolk to brush


  • Crumble the yeast and add the milk. Stir until resolved.
  • In a mortar pestle saffron, sugar and salt. Add it to the yeast and milk mixture.
  • Cut the soft butter into smaller cubes and add into the batter.
  • Finally, sift the flour and add it little at a time (1 dl) until the dough is soft and shiny.
  • Place a clean tea towel over the bowl and let it rest for 1 hour.
  • Set the oven to 180C/fan.
  • Put flour on the counter/table where you will be baking and place the dough on top of it.
  • Make into a roll and using a dough scraper cut into about 24 equally big pieces.
  • Roll each lump of dough into a straight line and then form into an S shape. Like you would write an S in handwriting.
  • Whisk an egg yolk and brush the saffron cats.
  • Either place one raisin in the middle of each side or use pearl sugar or poppy seeds to decorate with.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for about 9 minutes. Until golden.


For the dough to rise and be of good quality, all the ingredients have to be at room temperature. 
The dough should be a bit sticky. It’s better to add a little more flour once it has rested, if the dough is difficult to work with.
Originally Swedes use raisins to decorate the saffron cats. I, personally dont’t like raisins. Therefore I have used poppy seeds, sugar or even white chocolate. 
Saffron buns

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