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Old 01-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #1
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Anyone knowledgable about sponge cake (geneose sponge)?

I started another thread specific to the cookbook I was reading (Michel Roux's "Eggs"), however I figured I start one more specifically about spong cakes.

The book I was reading says to beat 4 medium sized eggs with a bit more than a half cup of fine sugar. It then said to whisk for 12 minutes until the mixture left a ribbon trail when lifting the whisk out of the bowl.

Well I whisked for 30 minutes and while eventually I got a small thin ribbon, it did not appear to be nearly as thick as the 1" trail in the photo of the cookbook.

So my question to experts of sponge cake, how thick should the eggs/sugar be before folding in the flour?

Many thanks.

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Old 01-06-2009, 02:15 PM   #2
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First of all, Genoise and Sponge cake have two different formulas.

and the ribbon should be fairly substantial. In other words, not just a trickle.

FWIW, my cake guru is Rose Levy Beranbaum who wrote "The Cake Bible," and here is what she recently had to say about Genoise!
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mryummy View Post
I started another thread specific to the cookbook I was reading (Michel Roux's "Eggs"), however I figured I start one more specifically about spong cakes.

The book I was reading says to beat 4 medium sized eggs with a bit more than a half cup of fine sugar. It then said to whisk for 12 minutes until the mixture left a ribbon trail when lifting the whisk out of the bowl.

Well I whisked for 30 minutes and while eventually I got a small thin ribbon, it did not appear to be nearly as thick as the 1" trail in the photo of the cookbook.

So my question to experts of sponge cake, how thick should the eggs/sugar be before folding in the flour?

Many thanks.

MrYummy

Bad luck on your first attempt at a Genoise.

There is quite a distinct difference between a traditional separated sponge batter, and a genoise (genoese) batter. The genoise is often called a fortified sponge, as it has the addition of melted butter to the batter, and will have a richer finished flavour, along with a couple of additional days shelf life due to the additional fat (moisture) from the butter.

When beating your eggs and sugar to make a genoise, firstly make sure you are using room temperature everything - eggs, bowl, whisk.

Second, make sure you use only a stainless steel, glass or copper bowl, as plastic has an unpleasant ability to traps fats and detergents, both of which will interfere with an eggs ability to incoropate air sucessfully. A plastic bowl is the kiss of death to egg whites for meringues etc, so investment in a large 10qt stainless steel bowl (if you are using a hand-held mixer) is a worthy investment.

Third, even though you are using whole eggs and it is not so paramount, if I have used my SS bowl for chocolate or cookies prior to making a genoise, I wipe it and the beater down with white vinegar and paper towels to strip any lingering fats. (This step is mandatory for egg whites) It's just a little added protection that never hurts.

I normally start a genoise batter off by loosely beating the eggs on low speed to break up the whites and incorate the yolks well for a minute or so before I add any sugar.

Once the eggs are well foamy, I add the sugar (I use a KA stand mixer) in a slow steady stream down the side of the bowl, wait til all the sugar is wet, then raise the speed to a high medium and leave well alone for 3 - 4 minutes. By this time, the eggs will have quadrupled in volume, be a very pale creamy shade of yellow (almost the colour of butter) and have the pouring consistency of a light custard. When you lift the whisk from the bowl, the "ribbon effect" will be quite evident in its meaning, as the stream of egg from the bottom of the whisk will not immediately blend back into the mixture remaining in the bowl - it will rest on top, and have a ribbon-like appearance.

It is at this point that you add your sifted dry ingredients, and then your butter. Pour immediately into pans. I bake my genoise at 165 deg C fan-forced.

One other thing to remember is that the fresher the eggs you use, the better, too!

Good luck with your next attempt!
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Just Cupcakes View Post
MrYummy

Bad luck on your first attempt at a Genoise.

There is quite a distinct difference between a traditional separated sponge batter, and a genoise (genoese) batter. The genoise is often called a fortified sponge, as it has the addition of melted butter to the batter, and will have a richer finished flavour, along with a couple of additional days shelf life due to the additional fat (moisture) from the butter.

When beating your eggs and sugar to make a genoise, firstly make sure you are using room temperature everything - eggs, bowl, whisk.

Second, make sure you use only a stainless steel, glass or copper bowl, as plastic has an unpleasant ability to traps fats and detergents, both of which will interfere with an eggs ability to incoropate air sucessfully. A plastic bowl is the kiss of death to egg whites for meringues etc, so investment in a large 10qt stainless steel bowl (if you are using a hand-held mixer) is a worthy investment.

Third, even though you are using whole eggs and it is not so paramount, if I have used my SS bowl for chocolate or cookies prior to making a genoise, I wipe it and the beater down with white vinegar and paper towels to strip any lingering fats. (This step is mandatory for egg whites) It's just a little added protection that never hurts.

I normally start a genoise batter off by loosely beating the eggs on low speed to break up the whites and incorate the yolks well for a minute or so before I add any sugar.

Once the eggs are well foamy, I add the sugar (I use a KA stand mixer) in a slow steady stream down the side of the bowl, wait til all the sugar is wet, then raise the speed to a high medium and leave well alone for 3 - 4 minutes. By this time, the eggs will have quadrupled in volume, be a very pale creamy shade of yellow (almost the colour of butter) and have the pouring consistency of a light custard. When you lift the whisk from the bowl, the "ribbon effect" will be quite evident in its meaning, as the stream of egg from the bottom of the whisk will not immediately blend back into the mixture remaining in the bowl - it will rest on top, and have a ribbon-like appearance.

It is at this point that you add your sifted dry ingredients, and then your butter. Pour immediately into pans. I bake my genoise at 165 deg C fan-forced.

One other thing to remember is that the fresher the eggs you use, the better, too!

Good luck with your next attempt!
Thanks for that great response. Funny I am currently as I type baking my 2nd attempt.

This time I used my brand new Viking stand mixer to beat the eggs and I did get the ribbon thickness that I have been reading about.

My trouble however this time followed after this step. I was making a chocolate Genoese and had prior to the beating sifted cocoa and flour together. I attempted to fold it into the egg/sugar batter but also be cautious to not overwork it.

The problem is that I was not able to fully incorporate the cocoa/flour without over working it. I forced myself to stop and went with a marbled batter so I didn't lose too much volume. I could hear and see it deflating over the few minutes I mixed in the flour/cocoa.

In the end I still had pockets of dry flour/cocoa all over the batter. However it did fill more of the cake pan than I had the first time, which made me wonder if I could have afforded to fold it more and lose a bit more volume in exchange for a more uniform color.

It is about to be finished, and from looking inside it almost looks a bit like its sunken in the middle, and yet this time I had way more volume than the first time. I dunno what could have caused that, maybe because the kitchen window is a bit open and the cool air may have made its way into the oven vents?

Truthfully its a lot of variables, I wish I could get this one down. This is only my 2nd try though. I will persevere. Any suggestions based on this latest experience?

Many thanks to all!
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:16 AM   #5
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Genoise if my all time favorite cake to make and I have a slightly different take on it; but first of all, could you post the recipe you're using?

The most basic genoise I bake is simply

200g eggs (about 4 but precisely measured)
113 grams superfine sugar
pinch of salt
137 grams of cake flour

Exact measurements are extremely important in baking, so I strongly suggest buying a scale. If you crack four eggs you'll end up with about 220 grams of egg and it will make a difference.

(In my recipe, the superfine sugar eliminates the need to warm the mixture; traditional recipes call for the sugar and eggs to be mixed and warmed in a double boiler to thoroughly desolve the sugar, beating it with a wire whisk till it's warm to the touch.)

I beat my eggs, sugar, and salt on high for an average of 6 to 8 minutes. I can't imagine beating it for 30 minutes. It should (roughly) triple in volume and change color.

When I make a chocolate genoise I sift the flour and cocoa together no fewer than three times but with a regular genoise I put the flour in the sifter an, after the egg mixture is ready, I sift HALF onto the mixture and then FOLD with the largest spatula I have. (If you're new to folding I strongly recommend baking911.com Sarah Phillips has so much information and a lot of tutorials showing you exactly what it should look like at a certain stage.) When incorporated I fold in the second half then quickly put it in the pan and bake it.

When it comes out it's important to let it sit on a wire rack -- it needs to be lifted off the counter -- for 5 to 7 minutes then take it out of the pan quickly to cool -- cooling is as important as baking with a genoise.

I've been doing this for years and have many of my own recipes. It's not that difficult. It just takes practice and getting a feel for what the batter should look like at a certain stage, how to fold, and how to get it out of the pan.


Lastly, once you do get it right, I use a measure of 1/4 cup liquid per 50 grams of egg for the soaking. (Weight is important because I have many recipes that only use the yolk or are heavy with them.)

I hope this helps.



BTW, you can take your failed genoise, but it/them in a food processor with 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 liquor (or some other liquid), and/or some nuts and blend. You'll get a marvelous cake ball mixture. Shape them and dip them either in chocolate or fondant.

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Old 01-10-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Lastly, once you do get it right, I use a measure of 1/4 cup liquid per 50 grams of egg for the soaking. (weight is important because I have many recipes that only use the yolk or are heavy with them.)
Not sure what you mean by this? Soaking? I'm not familiar with this at all.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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You're wanting to make a genoise (or sponge cake), right? The reason it's called a SPONGE cake is that a liquid is applied to it directly, either poured on or brushed on so that it soaks through the cake and moistens it. This is called soaking. The liquid is often a liquor flavored syrup or just liquor itself but can be other things, like sweetened juice.

Again, what recipe are you trying to use?
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
First of all, Genoise and Sponge cake have two different formulas.

and the ribbon should be fairly substantial. In other words, not just a trickle.

FWIW, my cake guru is Rose Levy Beranbaum who wrote "The Cake Bible," and here is what she recently had to say about Genoise!
I had read that as well. I love Rose Levy Beranbaum, too; and have most of her books, too. I bet you must know her, June. She seems like such a nice person, too.

One thing that I would like to add because she questioned whether cornstarch does have a shelf life and when I asked that question of Nick Malgieri he told me yes. It was why I was having a hard time making pastry cream--my cornstarch had lost some of its thickening power over time in the cupboard.

Have you heard of this?
Thanks, Susan
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:08 AM   #9
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I'm curious how long your corn starch/flour has been in the pantry, Susan. I've never had an issue with mine getting too old to thicken but it doesn't last that long, either.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:07 PM   #10
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Several years in my pantry. I don't use it very often.
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