Genoise is a French sponge cake, very light and airy with no chemical ingredients such as baking powder in it. It's totally healthy. Genoise cake uses eggs as the leavening agent. Because of this and the absence of baking powder, you need skills in folding the flour into the egg mixture. If you overfold, the egg mixture will deflate and you will end up with a tough and deflated cake. This is a very basic cake which can be eaten on its own with some whipped cream and fruits and also as a base for all types of layer cakes. To use it for layer cakes, we need to infuse the cake with some sugar syrup with the optional liqueur to make it soft and moist.
For this cake, the recipe is taken from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
Ingredients:37g clarified beurre noisette **
28g unsweetened cocoa (dutch-processed) powder
60g boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 large eggs
75g sifted cake flour
¾ cup syryp:
2 tbsp (28g) liqueur of your choice
** To make clarified beurre noisette:
Put 4 tbsp (57g) of unsalted butter into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Melt over medium heat, partially covered to prevent splattering.
When butter looks clear, cook uncovered, watching carefully until the solids drop and begin to brown.
When they become deep brown, pour immediately through a fine strainer or a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line the bottom of a 9” by 2” round cake pan or 9” round springform pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the bottom and sides.
1. Keep the beurre noisette warm at 45°C.
2. In a small whisk, whisk the cocoa powder and boiling water until the cocoa is completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla essence and set aside, leaving whisk in the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap.
3. In a large mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs and sugar until just lukewarm, stirring constantly to prevent curdling.
4. Using the whisk beater, beat the mixture on high speed for 5 min until triple in volume. (A handbeater will take at least 10min).
5. Remove 2 cups of the egg mixture and whisk it into the cocoa mixture until smooth.
6. Sift the flour over the remaining egg mixture and fold it in gently but rapidly with a slotted skimmer or large rubber spatula until the flour has disappeared.
7. Fold in the cocoa mixture until almost incorporated.
8. Fold in the beurre noisette in 2 batches with a large whisk or rubber spatula until just incorporated.
9. Pour immediately into the prepared pan. It will be about ¾ full.
10. Bake for 30-35 min or until the cake starts to shrink from the sides of the pan.
11. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and unmould at once onto a lightly greased rack. Reinvert to cool.
To make the syrup:
1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
2. Cover immediately, remove from the heat, and allow to cook completely.
3. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and stir in the liqueur. If the syrup has evaporated slightly, add enough water to equal ¾ cup syrup.