Lesson 59-62 – Sponge, or Genoise, cakes

Next up we started on sponge, or genoise, cakes. Genoise cakes are very dry and so they always need to be soaked in ”imbibing syrup”. This is a great way to add different flavors to the same cake, but you have to be careful not to cover them in too sweet of an icing because the cakes are already very sweet and have been soaked in a syrup.

You start a genoise cake similarly to how you would make swiss meringue buttercream, but we will be using whole eggs, plus extra yolks, rather than just the whites. Essentially you whisk eggs, yolks, and sugar in a bowl over simmering water until it reaches 110 degrees. Then you take the mixture and place it on a mixer, whipping on high, until it is cool and has tripled in volume. After the mixture has cooled, remove from the mixture and fold in the dries. Sounds easy enough, right? The difficulty in this recipe comes in when you need enough patience to really let the egg/sugar mixture triple in volume. This step is essential to the recipe, but unfortunately quite painful to watch! You also need to be sure that when folding in the dries you fully incorporate them and don’t wind up with a blob of flour at the bottom of the bowl. This takes a delicate hand as folding too much will wind up deflating your eggs.

We got to make three different kinds of genoise. Plain, chocolate and genoise mousseline (which I will explain in a minute). My genoise cakes was one of my favorite from the whole class. It was a plain cake, with a framboise imbibing syrup, strawberries, and lemon whipped cream. It was made quite simply by taking the baked genoise cake, soaking each layer with the syrup and stacking them with whipped cream and strawberries in between each layer. I then iced it in what we called “the American Diner” way, where I specifically wanted the icing to look thick and “swooshy”.

For my chocolate genoise, I chose to do a dark rum imbibing syrup along with salted caramel whipped cream filling and a ganache icing. Yum! To decorate the outside, I tempered some chocolate and dripped some white chocolate on top. I let this harden and then broke my slab up into pieces which I attached to the outside of the cake.

I failed to mention that before assembling these cake, I had to cut each of my 2-inch layers (one chocolate, one plain) into 3 layers using only a serrated knife! I was definitely a bit worried to see what the cakes looked like inside…but the were perfectly layered! I’ve never been prouder!

A tricky step to remember when finishing a genoise cake is that you need to ensure that your layers are cut thinly and soaked with just enough syrup – too much syrup and your cake will be soaking wet (potentially even soaking through the box), too little syrup and your cake will be too dry.

After finishing these 2 genoise cakes, we moved onto genoise mousseline. Genoise mousseline differs from the standard genoise because it has cooled melted butter in it. This addition of a fat makes it more difficult for the eggs to whip and it will take you a lot longer, and a lot more patience, to successfully make this cake. However, the additional of the fat also makes the cake less dry and allows us to potentially roll the cake, which is what we did for our roulades.

I chose to make a mocha roulade and although I wasn’t too proud of my silly looking log with marzipan roses attached, I was quite pleased at how easily I was able to roll the cake up.

Next up miroirs!

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