It's not all chocolate eclairs and croque-em-bouches, you know. Sometimes the best French cakes don't take hours of preparation by Michelin-star chefs or require an armada of ingredients. And the French don't really "do" fancy cakes, anyway, as I learned when I attempted to add an innocent layer of whipped cream to a plain chocolate cake. "Go to Germany if you want icing and cream and fruit and all that crap" said my Frenchman with eyes rolling into the back of his head.
This recipe "takes the cake" (so to speak) because it needs only three ingredients and perhaps 10 minutes of your precious time in the kitchen to prepare. So you've got more time to put your feet up and contemplate your navel. Or have a glass of champagne.
You can add lime zest, cinnamon, orange blossom, vanilla or even fruit pieces to the mix but to remain classique, resist that un-Frenchlike urge and accompany only with crème fraîche and - my favourite - crème de marron (chestnut purée). Or devour as my Frenchman does; a piece shovelled down with an espresso before bolting to work.
The best part? The quantities of the ingredients can be adjusted for a different size cake, because the ratio is simple : for every egg, you use 100g of sugar and 50g of flour. Beat that.
Gâteau de Savoie
500g white sugar
- 250g plain flour
- In a medium bowl, beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar for several minutes, until the mixture is pale, creamy and well aerated.
- Fold the flour into the yolk mixture, gently and lightly, with a large metal spoon. Do not over mix.
- Gently and lightly fold in the egg whites, until just combined.
- Pour into a greased and floured cake tin.
- Bake at 160 deg Celsius for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden.