Genoise- Master Recipe

This recipe was shared on several occasions on social media, as I was asked about it several times. A genoise is a basic, classic sponge cake, that looks simple and innocent, however very easy to mess up, especially if one does not follow instructions carefully.

An airy sponge cake, light and delicious, is the basis of all of my layer cakes. I would like to highlight some points regarding the genoise:

  1. A genoise barely contains any fat, which makes its taste significantly less rich, unlike butter cakes, and it also tends to dry out quite quickly if exposed to air for too long. The cake layer must always be soaked with some kind of syrup. It can be a simple sugar syrup, hot chocolate, coulis, etc.
    The syrup is what highlights the overall flavors of the cake and adds moisture.

In my recipes I do not indicate the use of syrup, mostly because the sweetness level or particular flavor are a matter of personal taste and preference, which varies greatly among different people. You are free to prepare any kind of syrup you prefer, just be sure to use it. Please note that although there are no references to sugar syrup in my recipes, keep in mind it is an integral part of the cake.

  1. The main reason I chose genoise as the base of my layer cakes is since it is very simple, ingredients wise: eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, butter and milk. The basic recipe can be changed very easily, in order to make cakes of different flavors and it would always turn out great. I have also mentioned on several occasions, that if you have your own perfect, go-to, sponge cake recipe, that you are following for many years, which yields a very light and airy cake (super important!), it is sometimes worth considering using what you are familiar with.
  2. My recipe is adjusted to a round cake pan, sized 15cm (diameter) and 7.5cm tall. The resulting cake is quite tall and can be sliced to layers as indicated by each recipe:
    * 5 layers, 1cm thickness each.
    * 3 layers, 1.5cm thickness each + one layer, 1cm thickness.
  3. Cake leftovers- almost every time I am making a genoise, I find myself with some cake leftovers. Whether it is a single cake layer, or the domed part of the cake. Personally, I never throw anything away to the garbage because it’s a complete waste. The leftovers can be stored inside a ziplock bag (make sure you take out all the air) or an airtight container, and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. I am using cake crumbs to make truffles, cake pops and yeasted dough cake fillings. Some bakers are using leftover sponge cakes as cake decoration (microsponge cakes).
  4. The genoise recipe brought here, is used to make cakes with an average diameter of about 16cm, and an average height of 10-12cm. It may sound like a small cake, but you might be surprised to learn it can serve between 8-10 people (!).

First published:

Last modified:

Genoise- Master Recipe:

Equipment: Round cake pan, sized 15cm (diameter) and 7.5cm tall

Vanilla Sponge:

IngredientQuantity (g)
Cake Flour85g
Cornstarch10g
White Granulated Sugar85g
Vanilla Extract1 tsp
Eggs (room temperature)150g
Unsalted Butter25g
Milk20g

Chocolate Sponge:

IngredientQuantity (g)
Cake Flour75g
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder15g
White Granulated Sugar90g
Vanilla Extract1 tsp
Eggs (room temperature)150g
Unsalted Butter25g
Milk20g

Matcha (Green tea powder) Sponge:

IngredientQuantity (g)
Cake Flour90g
Matcha Powder7g (2.5 tsps)
White Granulated Sugar100g
Vanilla Extract1 tsp
Eggs (room temperature)150g
Unsalted Butter25g
Milk20g

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150C (fan mode off) placing a baking rack at the lowest level of your oven.
  2. In a bowl using a handheld electric mixer or a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 10 (!) minutes. Build the speed gradually starting from low to maximum speed to support good air bubbles structure.
  3. Lower the mixer speed to the lowest and keep beating for 1 minute while moving the beaters very slowly, in order to break any big air bubbles.
  4. Melt the milk and butter together and maintain it at warm temperature (40-50C).
  5. Sift the flour (and cornstarch / cocoa / matcha powder, as the case be) over the eggs mixture and incorporate with gentle but quick folding motion until the powders are no longer visible. Note that powder “pockets” are hiding at the bottom of the bowl, it is therefore important to fold from the bottom of the bowl as well.
  6. Take about 1/4 cup of the cake batter and mix it very thoroughly with the butter-milk mixture (no need to be gentle in this step).
  7. Transfer this mixture back into the rest of the cake batter and mix with folding motion gently but quickly until the batter is uniform. Do not overmix.
  8. Pour the batter into the baking pan lined with parchment paper at the bottom and sides. The cake batter should reach about 2/3 the height of the cake pan. Tap it a couple of times on the counter to release any remaining large air bubbles.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted to the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, tap it on you counter to release the steam and turn it upside down over a cooling rack covered with parchment paper. Leave the cake to cool down completely while still upside down.
  11. After the cake has cooled down, slice it into layers as per recipe’s instructions.
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