Greg Case, known as “Mr. Cake,” has a nickname that is well deserved through his vast experience in the pastry business. Although it may be difficult for chefs to pick a favorite recipe, the award-winning Mr. Cake has a special affinity for this “grand dame” of cakes: the Genoise.
Originating from the Italian city of Genoa, this cake is the base for many Italian and French desserts. The Genoise is part of the egg foam cake family. Egg foam cakes, such as angel food, are very light cakes that use air as a leavening agent rather than yeast or baking powder.
This delicious cake is perfect for this up coming holiday season. Says Mr. Cake, “you can do a million things with this cake.” For example, try serving this delicate dessert plain or topping it off with some fresh fruit and whipped cream, or soak it in a simple syrup or liqueur. You can use this cake to make tiramisu or strawberry shortcake. You could also substitute cocoa powder for some of the flour to make a decadent chocolate Genoise.
Although a cake as elegant as this may seem difficult to bake, Mr. Cake takes the time to break down each step. From properly greasing the pans to explaining the ideal folding technique, Mr. Cake’s directions are detailed and very thorough. For a detailed tutorial of this recipe, follow Mr. Cake’s “how to” video with helpful hints and tips online.
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8-inch pan with butter, line it with parchment paper, and then grease the top of the parchment paper.
3. Warm the eggs to room temperature. If you haven’t done so already, place eggs in bowl and pour hot water over them, let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Crack the eggs into the bowl used for the mixer.
5. Add sugar to eggs and lightly stir.
6. Beat eggs on high speed until 3 times their original size in volume, about 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter.
7. Once your eggs pass the ribbon test, transfer them into a larger bowl and add the vanilla.*
8. Sift flour over egg batter on third at a time, gently folding it into the eggs each time.
9. Add the butter by first adding some batter to the butter pan and mix together. Then fold butter mixture into batter until completely incorporated.
10. Divide the batter in cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
11. When cakes are cool unfold then from the pan.
* The ribbon test is when you can hold one of the beaters over the pan and the falling batter will hold some shape and ribbon back onto itself.
Courtesy of pastry chef Greg “Mr. Cake” Case, 2012.