This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. It rocks. The genoise and the book.
If you're unfamiliar with genoise, it is a very light, very dry French type of sponge cake. As you'll notice in the recipe, there is very little fat in a genoise (and even the beurre noisette is not strictly called for, so you can leave that out if you'd like).
It absolutely needs to be soaked with a soaking syrup/simple syrup to make it moist. Once you soak it, you'll be really happy you made a genoise.
***When mixing, don't scrimp on those 5 minutes the recipe calls for--your only leavening is the bubbles you're creating while mixing, so if you don't mix enough, your genoise will be dense.
What You'll Need
- 1.25 oz. clarified beurre noisette (browned butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 7 oz. whole eggs (about 4 eggs)
- 3.5 oz. sugar
- 1.75 oz. sifted cake flour
- 1.75 oz. cornstarchSyrup for soaking
- 2 oz. sugar
- 4 oz. water
- 1 oz. liqueur of your choice
Spray an 8" or 9" pan with pan spray, line the bottom with parchment, and spray again.
Sprinkle in some flour, roll it around so it covers and sticks to the pan spray, then tap out the excess.
You might as well brown a whole bunch of butter and keep it in the freezer.
In a large sauce pan, melt 1 pound (4 sticks) butter over medium heat. Let the butter boil butter until the milk solids fall to the bottom and begin to brown. You want them to be a deep golden brown color. If possible, use a pan with a white interior so you can get a good look at the color of the solids.
The butter will smell nutty and wonderful. Pour through a very fine mesh strainer, or through a strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth.
Weigh out your 1.25 oz. for the genoise and freeze the rest after it comes to room temperature.
For the Genoise (Review The Egg Foam Method)
In a large mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until just lukewarm, stirring constantly.
Place the bowl on your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip it until very thick and tripled in volume. This will take about 5 minutes. While the whipping is happening, sift the flour and cornstarch.
Remove about 3/4 cup egg mixture and whisk in the warm-and-liquid-but-not-scalding-hot beurre noisette.
Sift half the flour mixture over the remaining eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly. You're trying to minimize loss of volume here, so be gentle.
Repeat with rest of flour, then fold in the butter mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake at 350 degrees, F without opening the oven, until the cake is golden brown and the cake starts to shrink away from the sides of the pan a bit. This should take between 25 and 35 minutes. No need to jab a skewer into it--shrinkage=done. If you must peek, wait the minimum of 25 minutes, or your cake might fall.
Loosen cake from sides of pan and turn it out on a rack to cool upright. When ready to use, trim top and bottom crusts (they should just about peel off) and sprinkle with the syrup. The cake is very fragile once sprinkled, so take care in moving it--use a cake spatula or cake circle.
For the syrup: bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature and add in your liqueur (you can use vanilla extract, if you want).