Raspberry Savarin or a giant Rum Baba
by eat in my kitchen
Giorgio’s Cafe is a busy bistro in Malta on the Sliema promenade where I love to go for a morning espresso. It’s right opposite Valletta and you can see the capital’s majestic bastions right across Marsamxett Harbour. Just sitting there, enjoying my breakfast and watching people passing by is one of my favourite Saturday morning activities when I’m on the island. On that day of the week, lots of Maltese ladies meet at Giorgio’s amongst a few business men for a little break and a snack in between their weekend shopping. Everybody is dressed up, the mood is chatty and you can see the season’s latest sunglasses collections presented at every table. It’s a wonderful Mediterranean scene, la dolce vita!
It wouldn’t be one of my most beloved cafes on the island if there wasn’t a culinary treat involved. In this case, it’s Rum Baba, a little yeast cake soaked in syrupy liqueur topped with fresh fruits! It’s sticky and sweet. The cake is so saturated in syrup that it feels like a soaking wet sponge when you cut off a piece. I’ve been wanting to make a lighter version of this sweet dish for years, in a bigger pan and with less syrup, in essence, a Savarin which is like a giant Rum Baba. The only difference between the two cakes is the size and the amount of syrup, apart from that, both use the same rich yeast dough which is similar to a brioche. Another recipe that I will share with you in the next few weeks!
I prefer to use less syrup as it’s so sweet that it can easily become too dominant in this composition and you wouldn’t be able to taste the cake anymore. To accompany my fruits, slightly tart, delicate raspberries, I used a liqueur also made of the red berries, a German Waldhimbeer Geist which is a traditional spirit made of wild raspberries. I cooked the liqueur with Riesling wine, sugar, lemon juice and water for a few minutes to turn it into an aromatic syrup. It wasn’t just sweet, it was rich in flavours! Some Savarin and Rum Baba recipes add whipped cream, which is nice too but it takes away a bit of the fresh touch that the fruity cake has without it. For me, it depends on my mood and the weather, the colder it gets the more I like rich cakes. If it’s a warm day I like my tea time treat light and fruity!
Raspberry Savarin Cake
For a 1 litre / 2 pint Savarin or Bundt pan you need
For the topping
raspberries 125g / 4.5 ounces
For the cake
plain flour 210g / 7.5 ounces
dry yeast 2 teaspoons
sugar 30g / 1 ounce
a pinch of vanilla
a pinch of salt
milk, lukewarm, 80ml / 3 ounces
butter, melted, 80g / 3 ounces
organic eggs 2
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, vanilla, salt and sugar. Whisk the milk, melted butter and eggs, the temperature should be lukewarm! Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes until well combined, on high speed for the last minute. Th dough will be thick but runny. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 45 minutes.
Butter the cake pan, dust with flour and fill the dough (best with 2 tablespoons) into the pan. Even out the top, cover with a tea towel and let it rise for 20 minutes in a warm place.
Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top/ bottom heat).
Bake the cake for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes and take it out of the pan.
For the syrup
white wine (preferably Riesling) 100ml / 3.5 ounces
fruity spirit (preferably raspberry spirit) 60ml / 2 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice 30ml / 1 ounce
water 60ml / 2 ounces
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
In a sauce pan, mix the ingredients for the syrup, bring to the boil and cook down for 2 minutes.
Pour the warm syrup into a pot or dish just big enough for the cake to fit in. Put the warm cake into the pot with the syrup (the soft, top side of the cake first). Gently turn the pot around a little to help the cake soak the syrup. After the syrup is completely soaked (after around 15-20 minutes), put a big plate on top of the pot and turn it around, carefully but quickly! Top with the fruits and serve with or without whipped cream, as you prefer.