Basic Genoise Cake Tutorial

  • Serves: Makes one 8- or 9 x 2-inch cake
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 51221
  • Comments: 88

Variations: Basic Genoise Cake with Added Butter; Basic Chocolate Genoise Cake; Madeleines; Raspberry Cloud Mini-Layer Cake

Cake and photo by Sarah Phillips © Sarah Phillips

The Genoise, a basic and old-faithful cake of French Pastry Chefs, is a sponge type cake, also known as a foam cake. It is a classic, light and airy cake that uses air suspended in an egg foam, for its leavening, to give it volume. Other examples of sponge cakes are chiffon, angel food, and general sponge cakes. A genoise cake is made by beating warm whole eggs with sugar until the mixture more than triples in volume, then flour is folded in, which strengthens its foam. Sometimes melted butter is folded in the end for extra flavor. Some recipes use cake or all-purpose or cake flour or part cake and all-purpose flour.

After my testing and trying numerous Genoise cake recipes, and having them fail for one reason or another, and hearing similar complaints from other bakers, I set out to find out the best way to make them.

I found that the right recipe and mixing techniques are paramount, and could not find them together in one recipe. This resulted in my writing my own recipe, which includes lots of information often missing from others. Mine gives you spectacular results. Genoise cakes are all about technique, working quickly and steadily and, what I often say, is a little bit of luck, too. I have included a lot of descriptive technique information so you will be successful.

The beauty of sponge cakes, and especially genoises, are that they are versatile. Genoises can be served as a cake in itself, or cut into thin layers used to form the base of countless cakes or filled and stacked. Genoise cakes are often baked in large, thin layers and then filled and rolled. Its tight, springy and somewhat dry texture allows to take on numerous flavors because it can readily absorb flavored sugar syrups or liqueurs, without becoming too wet and losing its delicate texture.
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