Cake. There is nothing that screams celebration more than Cake. And while I love plain simple pound cakes, this one in particular, I love the effect that a layer cake brings to the table. There are so many endless options and variations possible by just changing one component. Preheat the oven and let the creativity fly.
Today I am sharing the recipe for a classic genoise. A genoise is an Italian sponge cake. Its different from the american sponge cake in that it contains butter, adding the much loved butter flavor to the light and airy sponge cake.
I have been making this genoise recipe for a while now. It was one that I used during my The Pink CakeBox days, when people requested a fresh fruit cake. I have passed the recipe to my friends and family and everyone loves it. It yields a lovely sponge with a slight buttery flavor and the best part is it doesn’t require any separation of eggs.
I have adapted the recipe a little from the original version of the one in Rose’s Cake Bible. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves baking cakes. It has so many tips and tricks and a highly reliable collection of recipes.
One of my childhood friends was visiting, so I decided to make this cake for him. I also thought it will be perfect to share with you all for the July 4th weekend. I know I am a little late and you all might have your menu set, but in case you haven’t this will be perfect to bring to the party!
Another big reason I had to share this recipe is because one of my best friends keeps asking me how come I haven’t posted it and I should post it because its so good.
This is an easy cake to put together. You do not have to make buttercream, and a simple whipped cream filling and cut fruits does the trick. Just be careful that you do not over bake your sponges else you will get dry cakes. I speak from experience, so pay attention to your sponges. Also make sure while heating the eggs and sugar you do not scramble them.
Also, sponge cakes benefit from a good soaking. Since genoise is not very sweet and gets it flavor from the syrup you soak it with make sure you poke your cakes and brush them generously with some simple syrup. You can be creative and include liqueurs or a fruit syrup if you like. Rose mentions in the cookbook a general rule of thumb is 3-4 tbsp for every egg used in the batter.
Rose’s recipe calls for a higher ratio of corn flour to flour and when I started baking this in India I was a little apprehensive of using so much corn flour, so I reduced the amount to be on the safer side. I have listed the proportions I use. Also, I have used both melted butter and beurre noisette (clarified butter- the original recipe calls for it) and find not much of a difference, so I generally use either depending on how lazy I am.
Edited to add: Since I got a few questions on the butter used, thought would address it here. Rose uses clarified beurre noisette/ brown butter. This article by A Beautiful Palate is a good 101 on clarified butter, ghee and brown butter and how to make each. The only difference that I could find out about ghee and clarified butter is that clarified butter is cooked just to the point where the water evaporates and the milk solids separate, while ghee is cooked until the milk solids begin to caramelize.
- 3 tbsp clarified beurre noisette (I have used clarified beurre noisette as well as just melted butter and both will do too)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 75 gms sifted cake flour
- 25 gms cornstarch
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp liqueur of your choice
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Prepare two 6 inch cake pans by greasing them and lining the bottoms with parchment paper and greasing it again. You could also use one 9 inch pan, but I wanted to get two layers and did not want to double the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt the clarified butter and keep in a medium bowl. Add vanilla and keep warm.
- Sift the flour with cornstarch.
- In a large mixing bowl, set over a pan of simmering water heat the eggs and sugar until just lukewarm, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
- Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the mixture on high speed for 5 minutes until triple in volume.
- Mix 1 scant cup of the beaten eggs and sugar mixture into the melted clarified butter. Thoroughly whisk the two together.
- Using a big balloon whisk or slotted skimmer or rubber spatula, fold in ½ cup of the flour into the remaining whipped eggs. Repeat the remaining flour mixture until the flour disappears.
- Gently fold in the butter mixture, making sure not to deflate the batter.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake in oven for 20 to 25 min (if baking in 6 inch pans) or 25-30 minutes (if baking in 9 inch pan). The cake should be golden brown and the cake starts shrinking from the sides.
- Loosen the sides immediately and unmould onto a greased rack at once. Invert to completely cool.
- In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Cover immediately and remove from heat. Allow to cool. Add liqueur of your choice.
- In a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, you will churn butter.
- Chop any bigger fruit for the filling into slices. Keep some pieces whole.
- Soak the cakes with syrup on both sides. If you have a spray bottle or syringe it works best. I usually use 3 tbsp of syrup per side. Put the first layer on your cake board or serving tray. Add a layer of whipped cream and then add your sliced fruits. Add the second layer. Pipe the whipped cream and top with more fruits. Dust with powdered sugar.