Bake Off Challenge – Week 9: Savarin

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “that doesn’t look anything like a Savarin”. And you’re right. It’s not. Although I am still trying to figure out what a savarin is. Is it cake? Is it bread? Who knows? I still don’t.

This week doesn’t have a happy ending I’m afraid and debatably will be listed as the worst bake of the challenge. I hated this one more than the Marjolaine. Now that was a sentence I never thought I’d write!

This was down to a combination of the following factors: I didn’t have the correct equipment (namely the baking tin), my scheduling meant that this was baked over the course of a couple of days (with breaks during crucial moments which I now know why they are important) and over the course of said couple of days, I lost a lot of love for what I was actually making. That last point was the real shame. There have been ups and downs over the past ten weeks with some unspeakable horrors which I wish could be forgotten, but there has always been a level of enjoyment. But this week, I lost it entirely.

Urgh! This just got depressing. Let’s be more constructive.

WEEK 9: Savarin


Ok, so it could have looked worse. The presentation isn’t all that bad and looks appetising enough, so I’ll give myself some brownie points for working with what I had and not giving up and throwing it in the bin.

The savarin itself was just a basic batter mixture which you need to leave around two hours in total to let it prove. I don’t know if I was using a different kind of yeast that worked differently but across the two hours, the batter didn’t seem to rise much at all, if at all. It was very difficult to tell. It did rise a little while baking though because I had a lot less than the contestants did during that week, it seemed to bake far quicker to the point that the top was patchy brown.

But here was the crucial part where I should defiantly not have taken a break.

After it’s cool enough to remove from the tin, at that point you are supposed to cover it with the syrup. In theory, the idea is that the still warm cake absorbs the syrup so it seeps right through into the centre and adds a bit of moisture. If you try and add the syrup after the cake has cooled completely, it won’t absorb properly. This is what I discovered.

In actual fact, my syrup didn’t work at all, wasting 100ml of orange liquor. Nothing seemed to happen when I had it over the heat. It didn’t thicken. It didn’t change the colour and the recipe didn’t really tell me what to look out for. So instead, I glazed the sponge with some golden syrup (Paul Hollywood will have me thrown off a cliff). Won’t have the same taste, but it’ll add something.

Without it, the cake tastes very dry. I haven’t sampled the one pictured here just yet, but I had to do a second batch due to the amount of mixture leftover. This had no syrup applied and I wanted to know whether it tasted more of cake or bread. It swings towards bread, but the inside of the sponge is very dry and you can understand why it needs to absorb the syrup. I’m hoping that the final product tastes better with both the cream and the syrup; otherwise this may have been a total waste of time.

The little bits were fun to do; mainly because they were far simpler. Rather than wiping “Savarin” onto the chocolate disc (who has the time for that?), I just drizzled the white chocolate over to make it look pretty. The cream took a while to form (I recommend using an electric whisk for this part) and tasted fabulous and the caramel shards are fun to make because you hit it with a spoon and it pretty much explodes. They tasted pretty foul though. They looked good, but they tasted burnt. Use for decoration only.


So concludes another week and another episode of “Ambitious But Rubbish.” I dare say I will not be trying this one anytime soon, but hey, “always look on the bright side of the life.”

I’m just thankful for my final challenge this year will be a Victoria Sponge… and yes, I will be using a recipe.



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