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Recipe Monday: Raspberry & Vanilla Génoise Cake

May 28, 2012
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I love cooking. I love baking. I do it often. One of the favorite cakes I make—and that never lasts long in the house or at family events—is my Raspberry & Vanilla Génoise Cake. It’s a recipe I’ve played with over the last seven months or so, one I absolutely love. It has so few ingredients, and it’s very simple if you have a little patience, and the payoff is delicious.

You will need to own a 10″x15″ jelly roll pan. There is no compromising on this. You need one. You will also need parchment paper and a very clean hand towel. I don’t know how this would go using a hand mixer or doing this all by hand as everything I tell you is done by using my antique, 1920s Kitchen-Aid. 😀

Génoise Ingredients
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
Pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I prefer this brand.)

There’s some doing to this. Preheat the oven to 400F. Using a cooking spray, coat the bottom of your jelly roll pan. Lay down a piece of parchment and cut to size. You want the parchment to fit snuggly or the cake might not turn out easily. You’ll then spray on top the parchment. This is the best way to ensure the cake will come out, and that it will separate easily from the parchment.

Set a medium saucepan with an inch of water in it on the stove and bring the water up to a simmer. You don’t want it boiling, and you won’t want your mixing bowl to touch that water. In the mixing bowl, mix eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar and set it on the simmering pot of water. Keep whisking it until it’s just above body temperature. I do this by letting the mixture drip from the whisk onto my finger. When it’s a little hot to my sense of touch, I know it’s ready.

Pull the bowl off the pot and set it in the machine. Using the whisk attachment, turn it on high and let it rip until the volume of the mixture has tripled and it ribbons when you pull the whisk out. (If you don’t know what ribboning is, take a look here, time mark 3:20.) This is sponge cake 101. 🙂

Mix the cake flour and cornstarch in a small bowl and then sift 1/3 of it into the batter. Fold the flour in gently. You need to fold this to ensure you keep the volume. Once most of that is incorporated, sift in another third. Fold it in. When that’s mostly in, sift in the final third. You must sift it. You must do it in thirds. Promptly pour the batter into the jelly roll pan, evening it out with an offset spatula. Pop it into the oven.

Now, in my oven, in Florida, I cook that cake for six minutes. Only six. I would say start checking it at five minutes. Use a toothpick. The moment it comes out clean, pull the cake. Some recipes call for baking this for fifteen minutes, and then people complain the cake is too dry to work with. Well, of course it is. You’ve overbaked it. 😉 Just five to seven minutes is enough.

Lay out your hand towel. You must work with the cake while it’s hot. Gently turn it out onto the hand towel. You need to work gently because you can crush the cake. Peel off the parchment, and then begin to roll the cake up from the short end with the towel rolling with it. Set the rolled up cake off to the side to completely cool.

Swiss Buttercream Ingredients
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In your very, very clean mixing bowl, combine the eggs whites and sugar. Set that over your pot of simmering water (that you have left over from the cake batter) and mix it until the egg whites are just above body temperature. Check it the same way you did for the cake batter. Once they’re hot, set them in the machine and attach your very, very clean whisk attachment and begin whisking on high.

This is very important: do not add your butter until that bowl, on the outside, is room temperature. If you add the butter into even barely warm whites, it will break the buttercream. It tends to take five to ten minutes for the mixture to cool down while the machine is going. Once it’s cool, begin adding your butter tablespoon by tablespoon. After all the butter is in, add the vanilla, and whisk it until it’s fluffy and perfect.

This won’t be very sweet, but the taste and texture are amazing.

Now, to fill.

Unroll your cake onto whatever serving platter you want. Remove the towel. Because it’s cooled in that rolled up position, it won’t crack when you roll it. 😀 Nifty, huh? I use about 4oz of quality, store-bought, seedless raspberry jam. Spread it all over the interior of the cake. Add as much of the buttercream as you like (I use about 3/4 of the buttercream in mine). Gently roll the cake back up, ending with the seam on the bottom. You can decorate with the remaining buttercream or dust with powdered sugar.

It keeps, under a cake dome, for about a week. >.> It never lasts a week around here. It makes eight normal portions or six generous portions. You can guess which side this household falls on.

Also, I have pictures for you of this cake that I’ve made!

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