Genoise Cake: Simple & Layered Delights Perfect For Tea Time
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When it comes to elegant and delicate desserts, few creations can rival the sheer sophistication of a Genoise cake. It is also known as Genoise, Genovese, or Genoese, and it is a delightful sponge cake that originates from Italian and French cuisine. Unlike traditional cakes, Genovese gets its signature airy texture from whipped eggs and sugar rather than leavening agents. The foaming method is employed, where the eggs and sugar are beaten until they become light and pale and produce ribbon patterns. Carefully folding cake flour into the mixture helps maintain airiness. Some recipes incorporate melted butter for a richer flavour. Achieving the perfect texture can be a challenge, requiring proper whisking, gentle heating, and avoiding over-mixing.

It is made with simple ingredients, including eggs, sugar, flour, and sometimes melted butter, which contribute to its delicate taste and structure. The key to achieving the perfect Genoise lies in the technique of whisking the eggs and sugar together until they form a thick, pale, and voluminous foam. This creates a stable structure that allows the cake to rise beautifully in the oven while maintaining its lightness. Genoise cake is often enjoyed on its own, layered with fruit, creams, or buttercreams, or used as a base for elaborate cakes, such as the iconic French dessert, the Opera cake. Its refined texture and ability to absorb flavours make it a beloved choice for creating exquisite and visually stunning desserts. Chocolate Genovese, made by substituting cocoa powder for flour, is a popular variation used in cakes like Black Forest.

The History Of Genoise Cake

The history of Genoise cake can be traced back to the culinary traditions of France. The name "Genoise" is derived from the Italian word "Genovese," which means "from Genoa." It is believed that the Genoise cake originated in the region of Genoa in Italy and later made its way to France, where it gained popularity and evolved into its distinct form.

Genoise cake is closely related to the sponge cake family, which has been enjoyed in various forms across Europe for centuries. The technique of creating a light and airy cake by incorporating air into the batter was a significant development in baking. The Genoise cake as we know it today gained prominence during the 18th and 19th centuries in France, particularly during the time of Marie-Antoine Carême, a renowned French chef and pastry pioneer.

Carême perfected the art of pastry making and is credited with popularising the Genoise cake as a staple in French baking. One of the distinguishing features of the Genoise cake is its reliance on beaten eggs for leavening rather than chemical agents such as baking powder or soda. This technique results in a tender and delicate texture that sets it apart from other sponge cakes. Over the years, the Genoise cake has become a classic base for many Italian and French desserts and pastries. From simple individual servings to elaborate multi-layered cakes, the Genoise cake has been a canvas for culinary creativity and artistry.

Best Ways To Enjoy Genoise Cake

Genoise cake can be savoured in two delightful ways. First, enjoy it plain, savouring its delicate flavours and texture. Dust the top with powdered sugar for an elegant touch. Second, use it as a base for layered desserts. Slice it horizontally and add fillings like whipped cream, berries, or chocolate ganache between the layers. It creates a visually stunning and harmonious blend of textures.

For a more indulgent treat, decorate the Genoise cake with luscious frostings like buttercream or cream cheese. Experiment with flavours like lemon zest or cocoa powder. The lightness of the cake pairs perfectly with the various frosting options. Whether plain, layered, or adorned with frosting, Genoise cake offers a delightful culinary experience for any occasion.

Genovese Cake Recipe

Making a Genoise cake at home requires precision and attention to detail. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create this delicate and flavourful sponge cake:


 4 large eggs

 3/4 cup granulated sugar

 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 1 cup of cake flour

 1/4 teaspoon salt

 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


 Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, or line the bottom with parchment paper.

 In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk the mixture continuously for about 5 minutes until it reaches a lukewarm temperature. This step helps create a stable foam.

 Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking the egg mixture using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes until they become thick, pale, and triple in volume. The mixture should leave a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted.

 Add the vanilla extract and gently whisk it into the egg mixture.

 In a separate bowl, sift the cake flour and salt together. Gradually add the flour mixture to the beaten eggs, folding gently with a spatula. Be careful not to deflate the mixture while incorporating the flour.

 Pour the melted butter into a small bowl. Take about 1 cup of the prepared batter and mix it with the melted butter until well combined. This step helps to incorporate the butter without deflating the cake batter.

 Gently fold the butter mixture back into the remaining batter until fully incorporated.

 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula.

 Bake the Genoise cake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

 Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Your homemade Genoise cake is now ready to be enjoyed as is or used as a base for other desserts. You can layer it with whipped cream, fill it with fruits or jams, or decorate it with your favourite frosting. The light and tender texture of the Genoise cake makes it a delightful treat for any occasion.