“A Genoise is a light whisked sponge cake with the addition of melted butter. It is one of the most elegant simple sponges and lends itself to layering, especially with fruit and cream.” – Annie Bell
This was the first cake I made from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible. Funnily enough, I chose it because I had all the ingredients for this one. It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized that it had NO raising agent! I nearly peed my pants. Two minutes ago I had been scoffing at the twice sifted flour, now I wished I had sifted it three times! But I calmly decided not to panic. At least it wasn’t an expensive recipe, worst case scenario, I could put sugar and lemon on it and eat it like a pancake =)
But I pulled it off, and it has been my go to cake recipe ever since. What I love about this cake is how light it is. I’ve always had an issue with Victoria sponge as I find it kind of oily and sometimes a bit dense (ok, maybe I just never got a great one). Not this sponge! You can even leave out the measly 50g of butter and it still works fine apparently.
You can flavour it with pretty much anything, Annie suggests a table spoon of dark rum as an alternative! Anyway, lets get on with the actual recipe.
Summer Berry Genoise Recipe
3 Medium eggs, separated
125g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g plain flour, sifted twice
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons rosewater
200ml double cream
50g icing sugar
100g strawberries, hulled and sliced
Preheat the oven to 150 ºC fan/170 ºC electric. Butter a 20cm non-stick pan, don’t line it with greaseproof. Having a removable base helps. Melt the butter and put to one side.Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, as if making meringue, sprinkle half the sugar, that’s 62g! (Don’t worry if you don’t have digital scales and the amount isn’t exact. I once poured the whole amount in at this point and then had to add another 60g for the next step and it just made a sweeter cake). Whisk to a glossy meringue
In another bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and egg yolks at high speed until they are really light and almost mousse like.
That’s not enough.
See how its grown in size? This cake is all about getting as much air as possible in it. It’s times like these that I’m very grateful for my stand alone whisk!
At this point add the vanilla (or other flavouring like lemon zest).
A silicone spatula is good for this bit, but you could use a wooden spoon instead:Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture in two goes. Then fold in the sifted flour in two goes. And finally the melted butter. This may seem very strange, but it works! Just be careful not to beat the mixture down, yet make sure its all combined.
Pour the mixture into the tin and tap it sharply on the work surface to release any big air bubbles.
Bake for 40mins or until lightly golden. if in doubt test the cake by pricking it with a toothpick, if it comes out clean its done =)
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, without running a knife around the edge, gently invert the cake and tin onto a worksurface and leave to cool. This seems even more crazy than the addition of melted butter and it took me a few deep breaths the first time. Still does sometimes. Only one has fallen and it was still great. The reason for turning it upsidedown is so that it doesn’t sink when cooling.
Make the syrup by combing the golden syrup and rosewater in a bowl. Genoise is renowned for not being a sweet sponge, the syrup is what sweetens it.
When the cake is cool, run a knife around the edge, get it out of the tin and split it in half with a bread knife. Cut side up, dribble or brush the syrup over the sponge.
For the filling whip the cream, I left out the icing sugar, until it forms soft peaks. Add all the fruit, you can crush the raspberries slightly so the make the cream streaky and pile it on the bottom sponge, smooth it and put on the top sponge.
And decorate! I dusted with icing sugar and dropped rose petals and strawberries on the top.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of a slice. I made this cake for a friends birthday and I can say that after a few hours in a box, under a towel, on a beach it still tasted DELICIOUS! So much so that there was no time for photos.
I would love to hear what you have done with this recipe. How did your first genoise sponge go? What flavour combinations have you tried?