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Romanian Savarin Recipe - Savarina - Romanian Baba au Rhum

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Romanian Savarina

Romanian Savarina

© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Romanian savarin, savarina in Romanian, is virtually identical to French baba au rhum and Polish rum-soaked babka without raisins. Named after Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the renowned 18th-century French gastronome and food essayist, lawyer, and politician, this cake is made with a sweet yeast dough which is soaked in a rum syrup overnight after baking and then either filled with pastry cream or topped with whipped heavy cream and garnished with fresh fruit or, at the very least, a maraschino cherry. This traditional dessert is often served at celebratory occasions like weddings, christenings and other happy events.

Remember, in order for this cake to soak up all the rum syrup, it needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight, so adjust your baking schedule accordingly. It can be made in a mini Bundt cake pan like this one, which will yield 6 large individual cakes, or in a regular cupcake tin for 12 smaller cakes. I recommend weighing all the ingredients on a digital scale that converts to metric measurements because that's what I use and it makes a wonderful cake. Trying to conver to American measurements can sometimes produce wonky results.

Here is a larger photo of Romanian Savarin.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Rising time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 12 Romanian Savarina

Ingredients:

  • Cake:
  • 7 g active dry yeast
  • 50 ml warm milk
  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 4 large room-temperature eggs
  • 15 g sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 175 g room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • Rum Syrup:
  • 300 g sugar
  • 600 ml water
  • 50 ml rum
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Garnish:
  • 450 ml heavy whipped cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Apricot preserves (optional)
  • Maraschino cherries or other fruits

Preparation:

  1. Make the rum syrup first. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, melt 100 g of sugar to a very light caramel, without stirring but swirling occasionally. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the hot burner. Add the water and remaining 200 g sugar, mix and let sit until everything is melted. Let cool completely before adding rum and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

  2. To make the dough: Dissolve yeast in warm milk. In a large bowl or stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine flour, yeast-milk mixture, eggs, sugar and salt. The dough will be soft and sticky, and that is perfect. Add the softened butter, vanilla and lemon zest, if using, and mix again. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume.

  3. Heat oven to 150 C / 300 F. Butter a mini Bundt pan or cupcake pan. If the pan isn't nonstick, sprinkle the buttered pan with bread or cake crumbs. Divide the dough equally into the wells of the pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough reaches the top of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick tests clean.

  4. Remove cakes from pan and pour some of the syrup into the bottom of each well. Dip the bottoms of the cakes in the syrup in the saucepan and replace the cakes into the baking tin. Pour remaining syrup over the cakes until it is completely gone. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

  5. When ready to serve: Whip the cream and sugar until it holds a peak. Either slice buns in half horizontally and spread the bottom half with apricot preserves and then whipped cream, replacing the top. Or leave the cakes whole, dollop with whipped cream and garnish with maraschino cherries or other fruits.

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