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The Perfect Easter Dessert: Easter Delight French Savarin Cake

With spring’s arrival, people often begin pondering what they can serve for the main meal on Easter Sunday, especially since they know that meal will have to compete against such yummy goodies as chocolate bunnies and marshmallow eggs.

Of course, there are certain foods that are considered “traditional” Easter fare, for example, baked ham, sweet peas, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, and yeast rolls. Then again, what is considered traditional in one area of the country may not be the cuisine of choice in another area. Regardless, however, of whether people reside in the North, the South, the Midwest, the West, or the Pacific Northwest, one thing that will invariably be on their Easter menu is dessert.

Myriad Choices

When it comes to desserts, the options are unlimited. After all, we can opt to serve a light and fluffy coconut cake, a pecan-studded carrot cake, a tangy lemon meringue pie, a chocolaty Boston cream pie, or even a crisp apple strudel. Again, the options are unlimited. However, instead of the old standbys why shouldn’t we serve something unique?

The Perfect Choice

In Family Recipes of America, which was published in 1968 and no longer in print, a contributor by the name of Ms. D. T. Hamilton, from Michie, Tennessee, shares her recipe for a dessert that, even these 41 years later, will surely be the hit of any meal: Easter Delight French Savarin Cake (Recipes, p. 359).

Interestingly, the cake is named for the French lawyer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, author of Physiologie du goût (“Physiology of Taste”; Eng. trans. A Handbook of Gastronomy), published in 1825, a humorous collection of anecdotes and observations meant to enhance the pleasures of dining, although it also includes the occasional recipe (Answers).


Although the recipe has been modified for this article, the dessert is not at all complicated to make, even for novice cooks. Moreover, the only ingredients you need have on hand are yeast, milk, sugar, salt, butter, flour, vanilla extract, eggs, confectioner’s sugar, almonds, and candied fruit.

In order to prepare the cake,

1. Scald ¼ cup milk and soften 2 cups yeast in warm water.

2. Add 1/3 sugar, 1-teaspoon salt, and 2/3 cup melted butter to the milk.

3. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm.

4. Measure 4 cups of flour; then stir just enough into milk mixture to make a stiff batter and beat batter until smooth.

5. Add the yeast, 1-1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract, and 4 eggs, beating the batter well again.

6. Add remaining flour to make a stiff batter.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8. Cover the dough, allow it to rise in a warm place until bubbly, and then stir down.

9. Grease a 10-inch tube pan well.

10. Put the dough into the pan and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk, and then bake for 35 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare the confectioner’s sugar icing (directions on the box).

When the cake is done, allow it to cool; then drizzle the icing over the cake; dot the top and sides with the desired amount of almonds and fruit; and “Voila!” you have an Easter dessert that everyone in the family will love.

Depending upon the sizes of the slices, the cake will serve from 12 to 15 people. As for its calorie content, suffice it to say that a good-sized slice probably contains enough to calories to sabotage your diet for a week.

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