Savoy cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

Large, airy cakes such as this one were extremely difficult to make in the temperamental ovens of the 19th century. They really tested the chef’s skill. In The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer, published in 1907, author John Kirkland said that the shape of copper Savoy cake moulds was often too complicated to be practical. That’s why less intricate copper pudding moulds were often used for the Savoy cake instead.

In my National Trust Book of Puddings, I give a recipe for a Tipsy pudding where this cake is made a few days ahead and left to dry out, then soaked in sweet wine and served with custard.

Use the most beautiful, decorative tin that you have for this cake – the higher, the better – or use a kugelhopf tin. It’s important to follow the instructions using lard to grease the tin. When you’re using an intricate tin that doesn’t have a non-stick coating, this method will ensure the cake releases from the tin. Double the recipe for a larger tin.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 100 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange, grated
  • 45 g ( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 45 g ( oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • lard, for greasing
  • cornflour (cornstarch), for dusting
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting


For a decorative cake tin of at least 1 litre (4 cups)

Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Grease the cake tin with lard and dust with cornflour, then tip out the excess cornflour and do the same with the icing sugar.

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one teaspoon at a time, until the egg whites are stiff and shiny. Add a teaspoon of the egg white mixture to the egg yolks, add the lemon zest and mix. Fold the egg yolks through the egg whites.

Sift the flour and cornflour over the mixture, add a pinch of salt and fold in, ensuring that the mixture is well mixed but retains its volume.

Spoon the batter into the tin and then place it in the bottom of the oven if you are using a high mould or in the middle if you are using a normal mould or tin.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown. Let it rest for 10 minutes in the tin and then take it out of the tin to cool on a rack. The cake should look very pale.