Happy 2016 everyone! I should probably be kicking off the new year with healthy quinoa salads, new ways to enjoy kale, sharing organizational tips and so on… Instead, I’ve been spending the first days of the year relaxing, enjoying most of my time indoors (it has been raining non-stop in Northern California), getting creative in a totally old-fashioned way (post coming up soon) and baking a sweet and delicious savarin cake soaked in a flavorful Cognac syrup! My grandmother Irene’s recipe is the easiest ever! Although it is far from being the traditional way of preparing this delicious treat, it is the only recipe I’ve seen that does not contain yeast – and all the trouble that comes with rising a dough. Regardless, the taste is exactly the same as an original savarin! I’m sure you will appreciate this uncomplicated recipe with its unexpected secret ingredient!
There are so many ways to make and enjoy a savarin: it can be baked into a bundt cake pan or into individual savarin moulds; it may be served with a choice of vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream, berries; it can be filled with pastry cream; or it can be baked with the addition of raisins in the dough to turn it into a baba cake… all of the above being perfect choices.
There are also many ways to make the syrup, either with Rhum, Grand Marnier, or citrus fruit. Today, I used Cognac and I served each savarin slice with just a dollop of whipped cream.
Enjoy this delicious dessert and put aside aside any calorie guilt, just for a few more days!
For the dough:
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs (I use Progresso)
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 9 large eggs, separated
- 2½ tablespoons flour
To coat the pan:
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1-2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
For the syrup:
- 3 cups sugar (or 600 g)
- 1½ cups water
- 4 tablespoons Cognac
Make the dough:
- Preheat the oven at 355° F (180º C).
- Coat a 9½ inch (24 cm) non-stick fluted tube pan/bundt pan with butter. Sprinkle the pan with bread crumbs until well coated. Tap lightly the bottom and the sides of the pan to coat evenly. Place the pan in the freezer (this will prevent the cake from sticking onto the pan).
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar first on medium speed, then on high speed for about 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy, for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Add the bread crumbs and the flour into the egg yolk mixture and combine gently with a rubber spatula.
- Add the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold gently but rapidly, in a few moves, with a large rubber spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes (test by inserting a toothpick in the center – it should come out clean). While baking, the cake will at first rise and then fall, this is normal.
- Set the cake aside without taking it out of the pan.
Make the syrup:
- Combine all ingredients into a medium size pot, bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the syrup into the cake pan. The cake has to be warm, the syrup very hot.
- After about 5 minutes, cover the pan with plastic wrap. Let the cake soak with the syrup for at least 5 hours before serving.
- Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and/or berries.