Vanessa Levis

A wonderful liqueur-soaked yeast cake, said to have been invented by the great French chef Jean Brillat-Savarin. A savarin is usually baked in a special savarin ring mould. The syrup is flavoured with Kirsch, and the centre can be filled with whipped cream, custard or a fruit filling. A savarin is usually glazed, and can be decorated with almonds, glacé fruits or fresh berries, if desired.


Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
15g compressed yeast
or 7g dry yeast
3 teaspoons caster sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
2 eggs
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup apricot glaze
1 cup fruit (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, etc), sprinkled with 2 tablespoons Kirsch and 1 tablespoon sugar


Quantity Ingredient
1 cup water
220g caster sugar
2.5cm piece vanilla bean
1/3 cup kirsch


  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large warmed bowl. Add the dry yeast, if using.
  2. If using compressed yeast, cream the yeast with the sugar in a small bowl, then add the warm milk.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the compressed yeast mixture, if using, or the sugar and warm milk, if using dry yeast. Sprinkle a little flour from the side over the top, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes for the yeast to sponge.
  4. Beat the eggs into the butter and add to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously using the hand until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a cloth and leave the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. This will take 30–40 minutes.
  5. Spoon the dough into a well-greased 23 cm savarin mould or ring tin. Allow to rise in a warm place until the dough reaches the top of the tin. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and beginning to shrink a little from the sides of the tin.
  6. To make the syrup, combine the water, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the Kirsch.
  7. Remove the savarin from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and place a dish under the rack to catch any syrup that runs off the cake. Prick the savarin with a fine skewer all over and while still hot, spoon the warm syrup over, a little at a time, until all the syrup has been absorbed. Allow the savarin to cool. Carefully slide onto a serving dish, brush lightly with apricot glaze and fill the centre with fruit sprinkled with sugar and Kirsch.


  • The centre of the savarin may be filled with 2 cups of whipped cream flavoured with Kirsch, 2 cups Crème Pâtissière flavoured with vanilla and Kirsch, or a mixture of fresh fruits such as cherries, pears, apricots and pineapple sprinkled with sugar and Kirsch. A bowl of whipped cream may accompany the savarin if you like.
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