How to make a successful Génoise Cake...


J13

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My husband’s fave cake, but though minimalist in terms of ingredients, I’ve found it somewhat tricky and problematic. I’d like some help. Also, some clarification....

(1) How do you fold in the flour so that it’s incorporated, but doesn’t deflate the fluffed-up egg batter...or end up sinking to the bottom (which seems to happen to me each and every time)?

(2) Some recipes say to warm the eggs and sugar over a brain-marie while whisking it by hand for, like 10 minutes. Then switch it over to the mixer...others say just use the mixer. Is there any real benefit to warming the eggs/sugar? Because I sure would like to skip that step and the risk of accidentally cooking the eggs.

(3) Some recipes fold melted butter into the batter before pouring into the baking pan, while others say that a true Génoise sponge is only eggs, sugar and flour.

So. What works and what doesn’t to create a successful Génoise sponge cake?
 
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Norcalbaker59

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My husband’s fave cake, but though minimalist in terms of ingredients, I’ve found it somewhat tricky and problematic. I’d like some help. Also, some clarification....

(1) How do you fold in the flour so that it’s incorporated, but doesn’t deflate the fluffed-up egg batter...or end up sinking to the bottom (which seems to happen to me each and every time)?

(2) Some recipes say to warm the eggs and sugar over a brain-marie while whisking it by hand for, like 10 minutes. Then switch it over to the mixer...others say just use the mixer. Is there any real benefit to warming the eggs/sugar? Because I sure would like to skip that step and the risk of accidentally cooking the eggs.

(3) Some recipes fold melted butter into the batter before pouring into the baking pan, while others say that a true Génoise sponge is only eggs, sugar and flour.

So. What works and what doesn’t to create a successful Génoise sponge cake?


This is a classic genoise and yes it has butter. But most home bakers lack the skill to add the butter, so don't add it.

Baker’s Percentages
Cake flour 100%
Eggs 162%
Sugar 100%
Butter 10%
Total baker’s percentages 372.00%


A processional bakery will use different formula. They will add invert sugar (trimoline) for as a natural preservative and to add moisture; add potato starch, finer crumb because fine bakeries will not use bleached cake flour; butter is also used for flavor.

INGREDIENT Baker’s Percentages
Eggs 162.00
Sugar 90.50
Trimoline 11.00
Pastry flour 81.00
Potato starch 19.00
Melted butter 10.00
Total baker’s percentages 373.50


Scale all ingredients by weight

Don't sift the flour until you are ready to use it.

Combine the whole eggs with the sugar and warm them over a Bain Marie. You want to dissolve the sugar EDIT--but you do not want this really hot!

Whip on medium high to ribbon stage. This usually takes a good 8 - 10 minutes

Ribbon stage is when there is a significant increase in volume (it’s in possible to measure, although many recipes will say triple volume); and the egg mixture will thicken enough that when you lift the beaters out of the bowl it will flow from the beaters and sit on top of the mixture for a few seconds before disappearing into the bowl.

Do not add any flavorings until the eggs are ribboned. I've seen recipes where a bunch of crap is added before the eggs are whipped--just don't.

if you are going to use butter, take a cup of the eggs out, whisk the butter into the portion you removed, then set is aside and fold it in after the flour is folded into the rest of the eggs.

Sift flour into egg mixture and gently fold in with a large balloon whisk.



Look for Rose Levy Beranbaum's Genoise or Flo Braker's recipe. Beranbaum uses Wondra flour, which is a pre-cooked instant flour. I'm sure I have Beranbaum's recipe if you can't locate it online.



How to use a balloon whisk to fold

https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/balloon-whisk-fold-cake-batter-egg-whites-article
 

J13

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Look for Rose Levy Beranbaum's Genoise or Flo Braker's recipe. Beranbaum uses Wondra flour, which is a pre-cooked instant flour. I'm sure I have Beranbaum's recipe if you can't locate it online.

How to use a balloon whisk to fold

https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/balloon-whisk-fold-cake-batter-egg-whites-article
This is great! Thank you. Wondra, huh? I wouldn't have thought of using that, but if it will help keep the flour from sinking to the bottom... And I have seen and achieved the ribbon stage, so I know what that looks like. And, fortunately for me, my husband likes the cake au natural. No flavorings.

I think the butter is probably a must if it is "au natural" as the flavor then becomes, well, butter-y. :D So, I'll attempt that.
 

Norcalbaker59

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This is great! Thank you. Wondra, huh? I wouldn't have thought of using that, but if it will help keep the flour from sinking to the bottom... And I have seen and achieved the ribbon stage, so I know what that looks like. And, fortunately for me, my husband likes the cake au natural. No flavorings.

I think the butter is probably a must if it is "au natural" as the flavor then becomes, well, butter-y. :D So, I'll attempt that.
Yes Wondra is an odd choice, but whatever works for her. Let me know how you’re cake goes.
 
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retired baker

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My husband’s fave cake, but though minimalist in terms of ingredients, I’ve found it somewhat tricky and problematic. I’d like some help. Also, some clarification....

(1) How do you fold in the flour so that it’s incorporated, but doesn’t deflate the fluffed-up egg batter...or end up sinking to the bottom (which seems to happen to me each and every time)?

(2) Some recipes say to warm the eggs and sugar over a brain-marie while whisking it by hand for, like 10 minutes. Then switch it over to the mixer...others say just use the mixer. Is there any real benefit to warming the eggs/sugar? Because I sure would like to skip that step and the risk of accidentally cooking the eggs.

(3) Some recipes fold melted butter into the batter before pouring into the baking pan, while others say that a true Génoise sponge is only eggs, sugar and flour.

So. What works and what doesn’t to create a successful Génoise sponge cake?
1. quickly and efficiently with a rubber spatula.. NOT slowly and nervously. Top to bottom motion.
2. Yes warming the batter produces a finer batter with smaller bubbles, more stable.
3. some bakers add hot water instead of butter, it prevents drying, If you're having difficulty.. skip it for now.

You can do it without butter, we did for years but we used a lot of straight rum on the sponge in the assembling of the cake. A lot of recipes call for whipping on high speed but you get a more stable foam if you mix on medium.
With big batches we put the sugar in the oven, then poured the hot sugar into the mixing eggs to warm it up.
At home I used a propane blowtorch on the bowl as its mixing, my wife bans me from the kitchen.

EGG AND SUGAR INFLATES TO 10X ITS ORIGINAL VOLUME.
We used a 20 quart bowl and 2 qts of egg with 2 lbs sugar it will whip up to the top lip of the bowl.
I guess the maximum eggs you can whip in a 5 quart kitchenaid is 8. That will fill it to the brim.
so if your recipe is 8 eggs make sure you get the batter right up to the lip.

Flour needs to be fine sifted and added into the batter in a continuous stream not all in one dump, sprinkle it over the batter as you continuously keep folding, no stopping. Have someone sprinkle it over the batter with a spoon, continuous is the word. No stopping and thinking about it.
I prefer cake flour.
With a larger 5 gallon batch the flour should is completely folded into the batter in 60 seconds or less.
So if it takes you longer with a smaller batch theres your major source of problems.

If you use butter add it with the final portion of flour, you only get one shot at folding.
You can't fold all the flour in then start refolding to add the butter.

The simplest minimalist recipes call for the most skill.
8 eggs
12 oz sugar
12 oz cake flour
 

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