How To Make: Genoise Cake

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Génoise and the Whisked Sponge or Fatless Sponge cakearrive at the same destination; light airy cake, dull unless strong flavours are added.  It’s a perfect light texture to sandwich or cover with rich cream filling.  Here I added 2 teaspoons of clementine rind and 4 tablespoons of clementine juice to the sponge.  I then drizzled the cake with some icing flavoured with orange blossom water and clementine juice to keep it fat-free...but really what I would have loved to do is to smother it with mascarpone frosting flavoured with orange flower water and clementine

A Génoise cake technically is whisked over a bain-marie until the eggs are half cooked into an airy mousse and a whisked sponge is not.  A whisked sponge is just whisked until the eggs reach a similar stage as the Génoise but they are not as stable because the eggs haven’t been set over hot water, and the proteins in the eggs haven’t been changed with heat and therefore set.  A Génoise doesn’t have raising agents added.

For anyone following my last disaster with cake baking will notice how this cake though shrinking slightly after coming out of the oven…very normal for this type of sponge, it did not however, collapse drastically like the stupid Clementine Cake recipe I followed from a magazine.

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Genoise Cake

Pre-heated the oven 180C / fan 170C / 350F / gas 4.  Either line the tin with baking paper, bottom and sides, or butter the tin and then dust with a little flour to cover the butter all the way around.  I used a 25 cm (10″)  bunt tin but it will do 2 x 20cm (8″) shallow tins.

  • 6 eggs
  • 180 grms of sugar
  • 180 grms of plain flour (cake flour)
  • 25 grms of melted butter, cooled – optional (keeps better the next day)


Over a pan with hot water, don’t let the water boil, put a large bowl with the eggs and sugar and whisk on a medium speed for five minutes.

You’ll see the mixture change to  creamy and thick and starting to leave a trail behind.

After 5 minutes take if off the heat and continue whisking for another 7-10 minutes until you see the very thick trail coming off the whisk that fall onto the mixture doesn’t disappear after 10 seconds.

Here I folded in the juice of clementines before adding the flour but traditionally it’s the other way around, fold in the flour first then the juice or melted butter.

Fold in the sieved flour using large big spoon in large movements, until all the flour has been incorporated.

Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes in pre-heated oven.

When it’s ready the cake should be coming away from the side and bouncing back when you press with your fingers in the middle.  If you want you can stick a cocktail stick through the cake and should come out clean with no damp mixture attached.

Once out of the oven leave in the tin for 5 mins and then turn it out to cool.

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Trusting traditional method of Génoise I knew the little shrinking when the cake came out of the oven was nothing to worry about….

Unlike the failure of following…the Clementine Cake recipe from the now in the bin magazine!