I met this week filled with trepidation; I felt uneasy about the production and nervous about my lack of experience with our recipes. The topic was sponge cakes- genoise, chiffon, roulades, and meringues. Our two days in the kitchen were chock full of these cakes, including lady fingers and angel food cake, none of which I had made before. The only thing I knew about sponge cakes was that they were difficult and quite easy to mess up.
Vanilla Genoise with Whipped Cream Frosting
I continued to lose confidence when I realized I didn’t even know how to pronounce genoise (\zhā-ˈnwäz\, if you’re wondering).
Thankfully, I had time to prepare and spent plenty of time studying up on sponge cakes. I was feeling a bit more knowledgeable but nervous nonetheless.
Genoise is a light and airy sponge cake, with its unique texture coming solely from air suspended in the batter. Just 5 ingredients (eggs, sugar, all-purpose flour, oil, and vanilla extract) create a golden and voluminous cake. We heated sugar and eggs over a water bath to 110°F, then whipped the mixture to incorporate air. We quickly and gently folded in the flour, followed by the oil and extract, all while being very careful not to deflate the whipped eggs.
Greasing the pans will cause the cakes to pull away from the edge and form a domed shape, the ultimate enemy of a perfectly leveled frosted cake. To prevent this, we lined the bottom of the pans with parchment, baked them, and then cut around the edges with a paring knife.