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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Basic cakes: Génoise

This year for Mothers Day, I made a light strawberry mousse "entremet" with a jellified mango coulis in the center. Topped with a strawberry glaze, almond paste roses and fresh strawberries, this very light and flavorful dessert was a hit with the entire family.

For every good assembled dessert, there is always a good cake base recipe to hold it all together. In this Strawberry Mousse Entremet, I used a simple white genoise. The genoise is an Italian cake named after the city of Genoa. This recipe does not contain any chemical leavening agent and, compared to many other cake recipes, used whole eggs verses separated eggs. The height of this basic cake is only achieved by capturing the maximum air capacity inside the batter. For this, you will need to use a double boiler technique. Let's get started.

Before started the batter, you will want to
- butter and flour an 8-inch, round cake mold.
- Presift 125g of flour and set aside for when needed.
- Preheat your oven at 375F

In your mixer bowl combine;
- 4 eggs
- 125g sugar
1. With a whisk, beat together the eggs and sugar in your mixer bowl, on top of pot of simmering water. Whisk continuously to not overcook the eggs and make an omelet. You will need for your mixture to reach between 40C and 50C. Use a small thermometer to make sure you are at the right temperature.
2. Take the mixer bowl off the simmering water and place on your mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on a medium speed until the mixture has reached what we call the "ribbon stage", shown in the picture below. This meaning that a ribbon of mixture will form on top of the batter when falling from the whisk.

"Ribbon stage"
When this stage has been reached, carefully re-sift the sifted flour, directly into the egg mixture in 2-3 stages. Adding all of the flour at one time will only make the flour fall to the bottom of the bowl and create lumps which you will see when cutting into the cake after it's baked. With this in mind, carefully fold in the flour, begin careful to not overmix. This is the crucial part of making a genoise and can make all the difference in the outcome of the cake. Make sure that all the flour is well incorporated in the mix and pour into the mold right away and place in your preheated oven. The high temperature will give the rising needed for the batter and then bake it into place.

When baked, it will be firm to the touch. The genoise is a dry enough cake with a good crumb. It is commonly soaked with a flavored syrup of liquor and used for buttercream cakes. It is for its neutral taste and flavor absorbing capabilities that this simple basic recipe has been around for hundreds of years.
For more basic recipes and tips, visit the "Basic Recipes" section, found on the left side bar of the blog.

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!


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