The aristocrat of the sponge and foam cake world, génoise has been a popular cake layer for about 300 years. When it’s well made, it is delicate and delicious in both texture and flavor. I have strong opinions about the right way to prepare it and am not in favor of adding melted butter to the batter—it sometimes causes the batter to fall, especially when the cake is being made by an inexperienced baker. So I’ve added some extra yolks, which contribute all the tenderness and moisture that the butter would and also more stability to the foam, making it easier to produce a successful layer. Génoise is almost always used with a flavored syrup brushed on the cake to provide extra flavor and moisture. Recipes that use the génoise layer later in this chapter all have the syrup as a component.
Double wrap the layer in plastic wrap, keep at room temperature, and use within 24 hours. Or freeze the layer for up to a month. Defrost the layer before assembling the finished cake. Don’t be concerned if some of the crust from the outside of the layer pulls away with the plastic wrap—it won’t affect the outcome of the finished cake.
Split a vanilla bean and use the point of a paring knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. Add the seeds to the egg, egg yolk, and sugar mixture for the plain génoise.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.