The Genoa/Genoise cake is an Italian sponge cake named after the city of Genoa and associated with Italian and French confectionery. Instead of using chemical leavening, air is suspended in the batter during mixing to provide volume.
It is important to know that Genoise cake should not be confused with “Genoa bread” which is made from almond paste, however it is similar to pan di Spagna (“Spanish bread”), another Italian sponge cake.
How can I describe it?
The Genoise/Genovese cake is a whole-egg cake, unlike some other sponge cakes for which yolks and whites are beaten separately. The eggs, and sometimes extra yolks, are beaten with sugar and heated at the same time, using a bain-marie or flame, to a stage known to patissiére as “ribbon stage”. A Genoise is generally a fairly lean cake, getting most of its fat from egg yolks, but some recipes also add in melted butter before baking.
When finished baking, the sheet is rolled while still warm, or cut and stacked into multiple layers or line a mold to be filled with a frozen dessert. A variety of fillings are used, such as jelly, chocolate, fruit, pastry cream, and whipped cream. The Genoise can be piped in strips to make ladyfingers or into molds to make madeleines. It is the base for Jaffa Cakes.
The cake is notable for its elastic and somewhat dry texture and is sometimes soaked with flavored syrups or liqueurs and often served with a butter cream frosting. The popular tiramisu cake may be made with ladyfingers or a Genoise sheet.
A chocolate Genoise cake/roll can be made by substituting cocoa powder for some of the flour, and is sometimes used as a substitute for the richer cake used in the standard Sacher torte recipe.
Ingredients: 8 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons honey, 2 cups unbleached, pastry flour, sifted, 3 large egg yolks, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons honey, 2 cups unbleached, pastry flour, sifted. (I made this recipe into a Chocolate Genoise cake by substituting unsweetened cocoa powder for 10 to 20 percent of the weight (a scant 1/4 cup to a full 1/3 cup) of the flour. Weigh the cocoa powder before you sift it).
Place a 1-quart saucepan half filled with water over high heat and bring it to a simmer. Make a double boiler by setting a large mixing bowl over the simmering water. Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and honey in the mixing bowl and make an egg foam by whisking the mixture to 113 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 to 10 minutes. The egg foam passes through various stages becoming foamy, then smooth and finally it thickens. When it is thick, it will be hot to the touch, tripled in volume, and light in color and the sugar will have completely dissolved. If you dip the whisk into the mixture and pull it out, the batter should fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon.
Remove the mixing bowl from the heat and whip the batter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it cools, increases in volume, stiffens slightly and becomes pale yellow, about 7 to 10 minutes. Take the time to whip it well; if the mixture is under whipped, the baked Genoise will be dense. Very, very carefully, fold in the flour with a rubber spatula until the flour is no longer visible, making sure to fold to the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. Fill buttered and parchment paper-lined 8-inch round cake pans 3/4 full with batter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until well-risen and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Let the Genoise cool slightly. Unmold, remove parchment paper and finish cooling on a wire rack. The baked Genoise can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 weeks if well wrapped in plastic wrap. Return it to room temperature before using it.
I filled with whipped cream added 2 packets of vanilla sugar and mixed with finally chopped sour cherries (I filtered the compote then added some fruits to cream).