Classic French Genoise Cake Recipe: How To

Today, we’re going to be taking a look at a classic French genoise cake recipe. Due to their Italian and French origins, genoise cakes are much more popular in Europe, than in the US. However, genoise cake makes for a delicious treat, that feels a little more luxurious than your standard sponge cake.

But what is a genoise cake? Is it more difficult to make than a traditional sponge? Let’s take a look.

What is a Genoise Cake?

A genoise cake is a base for many European desserts. It’s much lighter and more delicate than a traditional sponge cake. Usually, you’ll add baking powder or baking soda to a recipe to ensure the cake gets a good rise. However, genoise cakes get their rise from the air in the batter (more on that later!).

Genoise cake is considered a fancier version of sponge cake. It’s worth noting that genoise cake is not usually eaten on its own. It’s often filled with buttercream, frosting, or cream.

Ingredients in Genoise Cake

You don’t need many desserts to make a genoise cake. The traditional ingredients in a genoise cake are:

  • eggs
  • sugar
  • flour
  • melted butter (sometimes)
  • vanilla extract (sometimes)

Nutritional Information of Genoise Cake

A serving of genoise cake usually holds the following nutritional value:

  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 62g
  • Sugar: 38g
  • Fiber: 2.65g

French Genoise Cake Recipe

Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at this delicious Vanilla Genoise cake recipe from Baking Sense, which has proven a huge hit among the bakers that have made it. One thing I love about this recipe is that you don’t need many ingredients at all.

What does genoise cake mean

Ingredients

The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 cups of syrup, flavored with extract of your choice (*see recipe below)
  • frosting and filling of your choice

Recipe

Now all you need to do is:

Step 1: Prepare

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with a circular piece of parchment paper (or line with butter and flour, the choice is yours).

Step 2: Make the batter

In a pan, melt your butter until the color of the bottom of the pan turns brown. Place the now melted butter into a separate bowl with the vanilla extract, leaving the residue called “milk solids” in the pan. In another bowl, add the salt, sugar, and eggs. Leave the bowl over simmering water and whisk until warm.

Now remove from heat and whisk continuously until the eggs have grown around three times in size. Now add half the flour to the eggs and fold in. Once mixed, add the other half. Now add one cup of your batter to the butter mixture from earlier. Combine, and then add another cup of batter. Now add your butter mixture, to the batter and stir.

Step 3: Bake

Distribute the batter between your two prepared pans evenly. Bake in the center of your oven for around 30 minutes. The cake should have a springy feel in the center when it’s ready to eat. Once cooked, place onto a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes

Step 4: Decorate

Brush both cake layers with the syrup before you decorate with the filling and frosting of your choice. Your cake is now ready to serve – enjoy!

Syrup Recipe for Genoise

You’ll notice that you need syrup for this particular recipe – here’s how to make the perfect syrup to brush onto your sponge. It’s super easy to make!

Ingredients

The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of extract (or liquor) of your choice

Recipe

Now all you need to do is:

  • Add the water and sugar into a pan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Once the liquid is cool, add your extract (or liquor) and stir. Your syrup is now ready to use for your genoise cake. You can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use on your cake

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you to become more familiar with a classic French genoise cake recipe. It may sound fancy, but it’s just a slightly more luxurious sponge cake! If you’re from Europe, you may already make all of your cakes using a genoise recipe – I know I usually do.

Do you know of any other classic French genoise cake recipes? Or do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to making the perfect sponge? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!

Read more about The Entremet Cake Recipe With Mirror Glaze.

FAQs

What Does Genoise Cake Mean?

You may be wondering where the genoise cake gets it's name from. Quite simply, it's named after an Italian port city, which is named Genoa. Genoa happens to be the sixth largest city in Italy! 

What Does Genoise Cake Taste Like?

A genoise cake should be moist and light. It's usually given vanilla extract, to give it an extra layer of sweetness. It's sometimes even brushed with syrup which takes the sweetness to the next level - it's absolutely delicious, particularly if you have a sweet tooth.

What is the Difference Between a Sponge Cake and a Classic Genoise?

What makes a genoise different to a standard cake is that when making a genoise cake, you can add the eggs whole, whereas when you're making a traditional sponge cake, the egg whites and yolks are usually separated before adding to the batter. In actually, the difference between the pair is very slight, and they're both equally as delicious as the other.

Does Genoise Cake Rise?

Of course! Genoise uses the air from the whole eggs to get the rise it needs in the oven. Whereas more traditional sponge recipes may add baking powder, or baking soda to achieve that all important rise. Getting air into your cake is very important when it comes to making genoise cake.

Classic French Genoise Cake Recipe: How To

French Genoise Cake

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups syrup, flavored with extract of your choice (*see recipe below)
  • frosting and filling of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare two 8" cake pans with a circular piece of parchment paper (or line with butter and flour, the choice is yours).
  • In a pan, melt your butter until the color of the bottom of the pan turns brown. Place the now melted butter into a separate bowl with the vanilla extract, leaving the residue called "milk solids" in the pan. In another bowl, add the salt, sugar, and eggs. Leave the bowl over simmering water and whisk until warm.
    Now remove from heat and whisk continuously until the eggs have grown around three times in size. Now add half the flour to the eggs and fold in. Once mixed, add the other half. Now add one cup of your batter to the butter mixture from earlier. Combine, and then add another cup of batter. Now add your butter mixture, to the batter and stir.
  • Distribute the batter between your two prepared pans evenly. Bake in the center of your oven for around 30 minutes. The cake should have a springy feel in the center when it's ready to eat. Once cooked, place onto a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes
  • Brush both cake layers with the syrup before you decorate with the filling and frosting of your choice. Your cake is now ready to serve - enjoy!