Gâteau de Savoie | Dairy Free

The Savoy cake is one of the oldest in the French repertoire. Whether it is French or Italian, is the subject of debate. Leaving that aside, this cake was first made in 1358. It’s long history intrigues. I’ve also found this sponge cake a bit of a marvel. Watching it rise dramatically in the oven and fall as it cools is a sight to behold.

It’s hard for me to leave the recipe alone without tweaking it a little. I reduced the sugar by one third (200 grams instead of 300 grams) Used a combination of pastry flour and all-purpose flour in a roughly 50/50 ratio.

Put six egg yolks in one large bowl and beat them at medium speed in a mixer with the sugar until pale and very thick. The six egg whites and salt went into another mixing bowl and whipped until stiff peaks formed. Then folded the egg whites, delicately, into the yolks-sugar mixture together with the flours (160 grams), deflating the whites as little as possible. I put the batter in two mini bundt pans. They went into a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes. The key is to resist opening the oven door while the sponge cake is baking. The batter has no leavening; the cake will collapse.

Without the benefit of dairy, oil or leavening, it rises light and fluffy and makes a lovely cake base for fruits, jam or other goodies. I haven’t made any cake quite like this and served it with homemade blood orange jam.

The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi. She told the story of Martine, a Frenchwoman with great style, who offered Dorie this recipe from her childhood. This cake is described to be light, satisfying and beautiful in its plainness. And it meets all the expectations.

I posted this on Tuesdays with Dorie with other online bakers there. Click to see other versions of this cake.


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  • Reply
    July 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    We made almost the same changes to the recipe. Your kugelhopf pan is the perfect shape for this illustrious cake.

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    July 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Beautiful cake mold. Glad all your changes worked out.

  • Reply
    steph (whisk/spoon)
    July 11, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    such a pretty mold– looks terrific!

  • Reply
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    July 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

    I’m curious as to how the changes affected the recipe? In any case, it looks lovely – love that pan!

    • Reply
      July 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I didn’t make the original recipe to compare with the cake I made. I have to believe lower sugar content and lower protein level in the flour contribute to a healthier and a more tender crumb structure. I’m sticking with this cake.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2017 at 11:10 am

    What a lovely cake! And healthier too. Can’t beat that. Yum!!

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