I must confess, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. However, I'm not so keen on rich and heavy desserts. This French sponge cake is so light and airy it's a must when it comes to desserts or a wonderful addition to afternoon tea. Extremely versatile and easy to make, you can fill it with anything you like from butter cream to chocolate ganache. I have chosen to fill mine with a homemade chestnut purée and Chantilly cream.

Gateau de Savoie, chestnut purée and Chantilly cream

Cake Serves 6

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 210gr of egg whites
  • 205gr of caster sugar
  • 140gr of egg yolks
  • 80gr of maïzena (or cornflower)
  • 6gr of baking powder
  • 60gr of melted butter
  • 15gr of caster sugar

Ingredients for the chestnut purée:

  • 500gr of peeled chestnuts
  • 300gr of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Ingredients for the Chantilly:

  • 300ml of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 tbsp. of icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165
  2. Whisk the egg whites until they coagulate and slowly incorporate the 120gr of sugar to create a French meringue. Put to one side in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 85gr of sugar until it forms a white foamy
    texture.
  4. Fold the two mixtures together gently as not to break the meringue.
  5. Sift and mix all the dry ingredients together and fold carefully into the meringue mix.
  6. Continue folding until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Brush the interior of your tin (this should be 20cm in diameter) with melted butter and sprinkle the 15gr of sugar to create a fine coat all around the rim.
  7. Pour the rest of the melted butter into your cake mix before filling your cake tin. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool down completely before cutting in half.
  8. Chop the peeled chestnuts and cook in a simmering syrup for at least 45 minutes until the morsels are softened. Purée with an electric mixer whilst still warm. If need be, add a little water to help the process.
  9. Scrape the vanilla pod and add to the double cream. Whisk in the icing sugar progressively. Stop whisking as soon as you obtain a Chantilly texture. Do not over whisk you will obtain butter.
  10. When the cake has completely cooled, evenly spread a generous layer of the chestnut puree like butter on the bottom layer of the cake. Once smooth, spread the Chantilly cream on top the same way. If you’d like, you can dust icing sugar over the top of the cake, though this isn’t necessary.

The Alsace region is renowned for producing wines with fantastic floral and peachy aromas. Although it is often frowned upon when pairing with desserts as considered too sweet. However the signature Gewürztraminer from René Muré 2013 has the perfect balance for this sophisticated sponge cake.

For a richer style of pudding wine, why not try a Muscat 2013, Domaine des Bernadins, Beaumes de Venise. Notes of caramelised oranges and honey make this white wine just as special as the dessert itself.

For an extravagant finish to a meal, how about splashing out on a Champagne Rosé, Le Mesnil Grand Cru 2005. An elegant champagne full of finesse, tailor-made for this French
classic dessert.

Wines to drink with Gateau de Savoie by Michel Roux Jr.

René Muré “Gewürztraminer” 2013 – This wine encompasses the distinguishing
floral and fruity aromas of Gewürztraminer. Rose petals, peach and lychee
hit the nose first and balance beautifully with the lightness of the sponge cake.
RRP: £12.99 All About Wine
Domaine des Bernadins “Beaumes de Venise” 2013 – This wine has wonderful notes of
citrus and sweet candied fruits. It is rich yet delicate with aromas of white fruit to set the
balance.
RRP: £11.52 Richard Granger Wines
Rosé Champagne, Le Mésnil Grand Cru, 2005 – A crisp and delicate Champagne, the Le Mesnil Grand Cru is beautifully light pink in colour and delicately fruity. Its lightness is refreshing against the creaminess of the dessert.
RRP: £35.95 Berry Bros and Rudd

  • Sounds like a delicious cake. I’m envisioning a lemon coulis to go with it. Would love to try one Michel Roux’s cooked himself 🙂
    Great wine matching suggestions. Can’t go wrong with a Grand Cru Rosé. Big fan of James Tidwell’s suggestions: 1983 Boal Madeira would be perfect !