Category Archives: Génoise

Making Chocolate Génoise

This is a classic génoise save for the fact that 25% of its flour volume has been replaced by cocoa powder. Otherwise it’s pretty much the same. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and sifting together your dry ingredients: the cake flour, cocoa and salt.

That done, turn to the wet stuff. Combine the sugar (here a “wet” ingredient), egg and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Whisk them all together a bit…

…then place the bowl over a large saucepan that’s got about an inch of boiling water in it. But, you know, that’s actually on the stove.

And whisk. The idea here is to warm the egg-and-sugar mixture just to the point that it feels like a warm bath. This will help the eggs to whip up high and with small, even bubbles.

You don’t want this hot. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip in your finger and test it. It should feel like a nice warm bath. Ahhh. At least 110 but no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, in other words.

Now whip. On medium-high for about eight minutes. At that point start checking your foam. You want it so a medium ribbon falls and the blobs the ribbon leaves most remain on top.

Plop…and it should pretty much stay there.

Alright then. Pour off about 1 cup of the foam into a small bowl or ramekin that has your cooled, melted butter in it. You can’t see it but it’s there, trust me.

Stir that all together with no particular delicacy, scooping up from under to make sure the butter is all incorporated. This will lighten the butter and help it incorporate into the batter.

Pour it in.

Now gently sprinkle on your flour mixture…

…and either fold or gently whisk it in. Here I’m doing the whisking method, you want to gently rotate the whisk around the outside of the bowl. Don’t beat it with any strength or you’ll overly deflate the batter. As it is you’ll lose a little of your volume, but that’s expected.

Scrape it into your prepared pan or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet if you want to bake it in that form.

Bake it 30-40 minutes until it’s firm in the center. Remove it to a rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, then gently remove the springform sides and peel off the parchment.

As it cools it may fall a little in the center in the first few minutes out of the oven. This is normal for spongecakes, don’t worry. If it goes a little concave you can always trim the outer edges off to even it out. The thing you don’t want of course is a total collapse. Anyway, place a piece of parchment in the top.

Flip the cake over and remove the pan bottom and parchment.

Then flip it back. Allow it to cool completely. This will store a day at room temperature or freeze for up to two months.

Filed under:  Classic Chocolate Génoise, Pastry | 12 Comments

Chocolate Génoise Recipe

OK, I decided.

Chocolate génoise is the foundation upon which a great Black Forest cake is built, and is good for a number of other things besides. Like a classic génoise it’s rather dry, but then it’s whole reason for being is to be soaked liberally with syrup.

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3.5 ounces (3/4 cup) cake flour
0.75 ounces (1/4 cup) Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, room temperature
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Next, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer (you’re not actually using the mixer here ) then set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Heat the mixture until it’s just warm, about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. When he egg mixture is warm, place it in the mixer, attach the whip, and whip it on medium-high until it is tripled in volume, about 6-8 minutes.

Turn off the mixer, pour off about 1 cup of the mixture into the melted butter and stir it together. This lightens the butter so it will incorporate a bit more easily in the last step. Pour the mixture back into the mixer bowl, sprinkle on the sifted flour mixture, and using your largest spatula, fold the whole mixture together.

Gently scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and back 35-40 minutes until the cake is just firm. Transfer it to a rack and let it cool for about 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool, upside down.

Filed under:  Classic Chocolate Génoise, Pastry | 10 Comments

Making “Neo-Classic” Génoise

This spongecake is a more reliable version of classic génoise, and is good for all the same sorts of things: gâteaux, jelly rolls, bûche de Nöels (bûches?) you name it. And the process is simpler than a standard génoise. The only drawback is that it can’t handle as much syrup as a classic génoise, so if you’re making some very moist petits fours or a tres leeches cake, you’ll want to use the classic. It goes like this:

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the milk, butter and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and set it on to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, take it off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the eggs, yolks and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle.

Beat that about 8 minutes until it’s very thick and the ribbons that fall from it persist for about five seconds before dissolving into the main mass.

Dribble the warm milk mixture down the side of the bowl.

Sift on a third of the flour.

Fold it in.

Sift on another third.

Fold. Add the final third and fold it in until it looks like this. Make sure to scrape up from under thoroughly.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, in this case a parchment-lined sheet pan, but you can also bake it as a thicker cake, in a round or square.

Spread it all around, making sure to get in those corners.

Get fussy about evening it out. You want the layer to be as consistent as it can reasonably be.

Bake it for 10-12 minutes for a sheet, 20-25 for a cake, until it’s golden on top.

While it’s still hot, use a butter knife to loosen the sides.

Use as you see fit! As you can see, this is a good deal lighter than a standard génoise, and really a whole lot easier to prepare.

Fear génoise no more!

Filed under:  Neo-Classic Génoise, Pastry | 22 Comments

Call it “Neo-Classic” Génoise

Let’s face it, not everyone likes classic génoise. It can be challenging to make and not all that pleasant to eat (heavy on egg whites, it’s often dry). So here’s a variation on a classic génoise that on the one hand is a lot easier to make: there’s no heating step, it’s hard to over-whip it (a big reason why many génoise attempts fail) and the batter ends up thicker, more spreadable and more capable of holding on to the bubbles it contains. On the other hand, it also looks and tastes better: it’s taller, fluffier and retains more moisture, again due to the reduction of egg whites. It calls for:

2 ounces (1/4 cup) milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
6 ounces (1 cup minus two tablespoons) sugar
3.75 ounces (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, then take it off the heat. Meanwhile combine the eggs, yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat the egg mixture until it’s thick, about ten minutes. Pour in the milk mixture, drizzling it down the side of the bowl. Sift a third of the flour over the mixture and fold everything together. Add the next third, fold, and the final third, fold. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (a sheet or a round) and bake for 10-12 minutes for a sheet pan and 20-25 minutes for a cake. Cool on a rack.

Filed under:  Neo-Classic Génoise, Pastry | 19 Comments

How to Make Classic Génoise

Classic génoise is, well, a classic. However it can be a bit tricky, even for very experienced pastry makers. But when you want to make a classic Euro-style gâteau, nothing beats it for its lightness and its ability to keeps its integrity even after a liberal dose of cake syrup.

Here’ll I’ll add that if you’ve been burned too many times making classic génoise, you can always try what I call neo-classic génoise. It’s easier if a little bit sweeter. The drawback is that it can’t handle syrup quite like the ol’ stand-by.

To make génoise, have all your ingredients and implements ready ahead of time. That will allow your to move from one step to the next promptly (especially after the foam has been created).

The first step is to have your oven preheated to 350 and your baking pan — be it flat and shallow or round and deep — prepared and waiting. Once that’s done, you’ll want to finding a saucepan that will comfortably fit your mixer bowl, like so:

Take the bowl off the saucepan, put about an inch of water in it, and set it to simmer. Now then…sift your flour and salt into a medium bowl.

Off the stove top, add your sugar and eggs to the mixer bowl…

…and give them a good whisking.

Put the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved that the mixture is warm to the touch (no more than 120 degrees F).

Take the bowl off the simmering water and attach it to the mixer, onto which the paddle has been affixed. Beat on medium-high for roughly 8 minutes, until the mixture is extremely foamy. See that fat ribbon? As it rolls off the whip you want it to mostly just sit there on top.

Now take about a cup of the foam and stir it into your melted (ideally clarified) butter. This will help the butter to more readily incorporate into the main volume of the batter.

Stir until it looks about like so (no need to be gentle):

And gently pour the mixture back into the mixer bowl…

…sprinkle in the flour and salt…

…and using your largest rubber scraper or spatula, fold until the mixture is uniform (instructions on how to fold properly are under the Techniques” menu on the left).

As for the form, this batter will fill either a 13″ x 18″ sheet pan or a 9″ x 2″ cake layer pan. Bake at 400 for about 10-14 minutes for a sheet and at 375 for 20-30 minutes with a 9″ cake layer.

Filed under:  Classic Génoise, Génoise, Pastry Components | 4 Comments

Génoise recipe

Clarified butter is optional but recommended in a génoise. It gives what is ordinarily a rather plain, somewhat dry sponge an enhanced butter flavor. Of course if you don’t have — or don’t like making — clarified butter, regular melted butter will still produce a excellent result.

This recipe makes enough for one 18″ x 13″ sheet (a jelly roll, bûche de Noël, batch of petits fours) or one 9″ cake. Here’s the formula:

4.5 ounces (1 cup) cake flour
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extact

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set a saucepan big enough to hold your mixer bowl on the stove with an inch of water in it. Bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside.

Pour the sugar into the mixer bowl, add the eggs and whisk to combine. Set the mixer bowl over the pan of water and heat the mixture until it’s warm to the touch (no more than 120 degrees). What you’re trying to do is simply melt the sugar…don’t cook the eggs! It’ll only take a minute or so.

Remove the bowl from the heat and, using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium high until it’s very light and foamy, about triple its original volume (this will take up to ten minutes with a stand mixer). Add the vanilla and beat an additional 10-15 seconds.

Pour a cup or so of the egg foam into the cooled melted butter and stir it until it’s completely incorporated, then gently pour the mixture back into the mixer bowl (this eases the incorporation of the butter into the batter). Next, sprinkle the flour mixture into the mixer bowl and carefully fold (instructions under the “Techniques” menu to the right) until the flour mixture and the butter mixture are completely incorporated. Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the cake is a pale gold color and springs back lightly when touched.

Filed under:  Classic Génoise, Génoise, Pastry Components | 4 Comments