January 1, 2018

Savoy Cake


Are you a fan of Netflix's The Crown as much as I am?  To say that I'm an enthusiast is a huge understatement.  More like a complete groupie, bar none.  I loved Season 1 and was so excited when Season 2 was released just last month.  Can you say binge-watching...and repeat?  

The further exploration of Queen Elizabeth II's relationship with Prince Philip and Princess Margaret's life were absolutely riveting and I thought the latest ten episodes were outstanding.   Maybe it's because we have no royalty to speak of in America that I'm so fascinated?  And please, Z-list "celebrities" like the Kardashians don't count as royalty!

 
I'm a self-confessed Anglophile and anything with a hit of British or English royalty will undoubtedly capture my fancy.   When Victorian Savoy cakes were featured as the showstopper challenge on the Season 8 quarterfinals of The Great British Bake Off (another favorite Brit show) I knew I had to make it.  What really intrigued me were the cakes' gorgeously intricate details and sugar crust. 

Those who are unfamiliar with Savoy cakes have probably already eaten them.  How? Well, if you've tasted a ladyfinger, then you've had a Savoy.  That's all they really are - a fatless sponge cake.  Because there is no leavener like baking powder or baking soda used in the cake's recipe it's vital that you get lots of volume in to the batter from the whipped egg whites and yolks.  I can't tell you how invaluable a stand mixer is for this job.  I cringe at the thought of having to make a Savoy by hand back in Queen Victoria's day.


For the Savoy's design I turned to my ever growing collection of Nordic Ware Bundt pans.  The pan I chose could not have been more perfect and fittingly named,  The Crown Bundt Pan.  A critical step to success is taking the additional time required to prepare the pan for baking.  A quick spray of Pam will not be sufficient here, people! You have to grease every single nook and cranny of the mold with butter and then generously coat the entire pan in sugar to ensure your baked cake un-molds with that beautiful crust.  Trust me, it's so worth the extra effort!

So as I anxiously await Season 3 of this beloved series (crossing my fingers it will be in Dec'18) I will have to make do with my own makeshift "Crown."  God Save the Queen!

Savoy Cake (slightly adapted from Stacey's recipe on Season 8 The Great British Bake Off)

To prepare the cake pan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
 
Cake
95g all-purpose flour
95g potato flour/potato starch
6 large eggs, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (you can omit if you don't have it)
190g superfine sugar
2 medium lemons
1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F (or 325F using convection)

Brush the inside of the bundt pan with the melted butter; make sure you get every nook and cranny!   Sprinkle the 3T of superfine sugar inside the pan and twirl and rotate to make sure the entire interior is coated.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift the all-purpose flour and potato flour.  Set aside. 
 
Separate the eggs, breaking the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer the yolks into a small bowl.   Add the salt and cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer until they form soft peaks. Whisk in 115g of the superfine sugar to make a stiff, glossy meringue. Scrape in to a large bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining 75g of sugar and egg yolks to the now empty stand mixer bowl and whisk (there’s no need to wash the whisk) until the mixture is very thick and mousse-like, and leaves a distinct ribbon-like trail.  Finely grate the zest of both lemons into the bowl and briefly whisk in. Halve and squeeze the juice from one lemon (only) and slowly add it to the bowl while whisking on a medium speed – the mixture will collapse a little and become less thick.

Using a large metal spoon or plastic spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture in 3 batches. Sift the flour mixture (for a second time) into the bowl and very carefully fold in. When you can longer see any specks of flour (check the base of the bowl), transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the surface. Sprinkle with caster sugar to give a crunchy, crisp crust.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the sponge is well risen, golden brown and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Leave to firm up for a minute then, if necessary, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the sponge (this shouldn’t be needed if the tin was prepared well) and gently turn out the sponge onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

6 comments:

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  3. Anonymous9/02/2018

    Given the recipe contains egg yolks, the cake is far from fatless. Nice article otherwise.

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