GBBO winner John Whaite’s Christmas savarin cake

He won the hearts of the nation when he won this year’s Great British Bake Off.

Here, former law student John Whaite gives CakeWire his Christmas version of a savarin.

He told CakeWire: "A savarin is a type of cake in which yeast is used to help the batter rise. This is my Christmassy version, which uses pomegranate, cinnamon and orange to create an aromatically delicious Christmas centrepiece."

John plans to take his studies further by enrolling at a patisserie school in Paris. You can read an exclusive interview with him at


  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet instant yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 120g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • Zest of 1 large orange (Slice the zested orange and put to one side)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 75g flaked almonds


  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150ml pomegranate juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 slice of the orange used for zest
  • 1 tbsp cherry brandy (or regular brandy)


  • The orange used for the zest, sliced
  • The kernels from 1 medium-sized pomegranate
  • Flaked almonds
  • A sifting of icing sugar


  1. To make the savarin batter, place the flour into a mixing bowl and stir through the salt and sugar. Then stir the yeast through the flour.
  2. Place the eggs and milk into a jug and beat together. Pour this into the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon or handheld mixer, beat together for about 5 minutes. You could do this in a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment.
  3. After about 5 minutes, add the butter in cubes, and beat well to incorporate into the mixture until it is smooth, elastic and satiny. When the butter is well incorporated, add the orange and lemon zests, mixed spice and almond flakes and mix in until they are evening distributed.
  4. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave the batter to prove for 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch savarin mould with butter and place it into the freezer for 10 minutes. Then grease it again and freeze until needed. This double greasing process helps to ensure that the baked savarin does not stick to the tin.
  5. When the batter has rested for 1 hour, remove the savarin mould from the freezer and dust with a generous amount of caster sugar, ensuring that you get sugar on all of the inside of the mould. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4, then spoon the batter into the mould and even it out. Cover with oiled cling film, and leave to rest for another hour.
  6. When the batter has risen, place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the savarin has risen up out of the tin (though it should not have muffin-topped over) and is golden brown.
  7. While the savarin is baking, make the syrup by heating the sugar and pomegranate juice in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low. Add the cinnamon stick, orange slice and cherry brandy and allow to slowly infuse for 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and place to one side for later.
  8. Remove the savarin from the mould and pour about a third of the syrup into the mould (remove the cinnamon stick and orange slice from the syrup first, though do not throw those away). Gently place the savarin back into the mould, so that it can start to soak up the spiced syrup. Pour the remaining syrup into a deep-sided baking tray, then place the savarin, bare side down, into the syrup, and leave to soak for about 5 minutes. Remove the mould, place the savarin on to a serving plate, and decorate with orange slices, pomegranate kernels, flaked almonds, and a snowy sifting of icing sugar.