Jun 28, 2010

Génoise Rose

This is the plainest cake we've made so far. In fact, if there were a list of "plain and simple" cakes, this would top the list, and if you're a Frosting Person, rather than a Cake Person, this cake is not going to appeal to you. But it's a little like comparing a delicate violet to a big, gaudy tree peony. The violet is not going to blow you away, but it does have a certain charm of its own.
Speaking of lists, this could be on the Quick and Easy list. I know that génoise is supposed to be tricky, but if you follow Rose's directions, you won't go wrong.
It's all about beating the eggs. Joan pointed out a video on Rose's blog that recommends a full ten minutes of beating on high speed to get the eggs to the right volume. I've found that 5 is enough, and beating for longer than that doesn't get you any more volume, but you'll want to experiment for yourselves. The change from raw eggs to a lovely, billowy mixture is one of my favorite kitchen alchemies. I also love the way that spinach goes from something to almost nothing in 60 seconds. Not to mention the miracle of pate choux.
But back to the subject at hand.
The other secret is sifting the flour (and cornstarch). I must include this picture because Jim is always thrilled at the prospect of taking a picture of a flour-sifting event. He grabs his camera and shoots. I suppose that when we were married, some 43 years ago, I wouldn't have believed that his eyes would light up when he saw me reach for the flour sifter, but sometimes life takes such unexpected turns.
Then it's just a question of mixing the flour in with the egg mixture, and the clarified butter (or beurre noisette) into everything. If you're ever going to make beurre noisette, this is the time to do it. Unlike, say, the peanut butter financiers, which have other strong flavors--mostly peanut butter--this cake is primarily flavored by butter, and the slightly nutty flavor added by the browned butter is very helpful. (My daughter praised its slight almond flavor until I told her it had no almonds--she was just tasting the butter).
Going into the oven as batter....
And coming out as cake.
The only thing left to do is brush it with a syrup made from sugar, water, and Triple Sec (or orange juice). I brushed and brushed, and used only about half the syrup. I stopped because I was afraid the cake would get soggy, but I needn't have worried. It wasn't at all soggy, and more syrup would only have added to the flavor.
It still needed a little something, so I added a few raspberries--artfully placed, or so I hoped--to the platter.
And served it with a bit of whipped cream, because even though it may not need frosting, it didn't suffer from the addition of whipped cream.
I'll confess that I didn't bake this cake a day before serving. For a change, it wasn't because I didn't notice the "Plan Ahead" warning. It was just that we were away from town on Friday and Saturday, and I needed a cake for Sunday. Since we had leftovers, we both tried the cake again on Monday, and were surprised that it really did make a difference. It was both more flavorful and more tender the second time around. So follow the directions.
A close-up from Jim's new camera:

James: "Yummy."
Sarah: "It has a very delicate flavor. It's the perfect base for the fruit and cream."
Jim: "It seems a little unsubstantial on its own, but it's great with the berries and whipped cream."


evil cake lady said...

I think your raspberries are very artfully placed. Well done! I was thinking of serving the cake with strawberries, but didn't think of the whipped cream. Thanks for the inspiration! I made mine this afternoon and really want to try it, but I will heed your advice and wait until tomorrow.

gartblue said...

don't I just envy your rose pan?

gorgeous .. wonder why mine stuck to the pan and finally came off with a little bit more than a nudge .. and you're right too .. it belies its plain look and just tastes awesome. my kids being carting these slices off ..

faithy, the baker said...

love that rose pan! I saw it but couldn't bring myself to buy it..lol! i think i'll buy the heritage pan when the stock is in..

Monica said...

As always, when I make the decision to pass one weekend by, this happens and we have a great cake, with great results and easy to boot! ahhhhhhh!!!!

Instead I ate, Mass-bakery made cake this weekend during a Baby shower - once word folks: YUCK! (can you tell that rose has spoiled our palates?)

Guess I'm going to put this one on the list for free choice.

Marie said...

Or have one piece now and one piece later--just in the name of science, of course.

Lola (new cake baker) said she had trouble with her cakes sticking to the pan. My trigger finger was pretty heavy on the aerosol can.

Yes, I want that pan too!

Jenn said...

Beautiful Genoise Marie! Great presentation with the raspberries and the nice plate!
I also love that picture of flour sifting and the story behind the picture.

lola said...

What a lovely presentation. I love the way the edge is when cut. The raspberries and cream are perfect. Thanks for the inspiration.

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

So beautiful. And super idea with raspberries and cream. Thanks again. (I love Jim's flour sifting picture -great shot!!!)

Mendy said...


Looks great!

Nancy B said...

Berries and whipped cream. Yep, that's what it needed!

Katya said...

I just realized that I didn't take pictures of mine. posting will have to wait until i do it again...

that was the day i couldn't find my camera.

Monica said...

Hey guys a tip for the future (which I learn the hard way).. when using those great designer pans (PAN ENVY! PAN ENVY!) , with all those weird angles and curves... after you spray the pan to death (or as Marie mention with a heavy hand on the aerosol can)... take a pastry brush and make sure every nook and cranny is coated... this will help you make sure than the cake falls out without leaving any pieces behind.

Hanaâ said...

Beautiful cake, Marie. Love your pairing with fresh raspberries (I used strawberries from the garden).

Svetlana said...

Very nice cake!!!!!! I love it.
I really agree with Monica. This tip can really improve the look of the cake top.

Vicki said...

Really pretty cake Marie. The crumb looks perfect. I'm thinking this pan could be used for a variety of recipes. Definitely a "wow" factor!

Marie said...

We are all cake snobs now, aren't we? I used to kind of like an occasional piece of bakery cake--a guilty pleasure--but I can't enjoy it any more now that I know how good a cake can be.

I'm glad you noticed the plate. I've started looking for plates in second-hand stores, just so I'll have something different for the photographs. I hope I don't start collecting plates like I've been accumulating pans.

Yes, the Rose pan makes for some interesting slices of cake.

Jim will be so pleased that you appreciate his loving photograph of sifted flour!


Nancy B.,
My tasters all liked it better with the raspberries and whipped cream, but they didn't have the advantage of tasting it again after 24 hours.

Good reminder--I actually did use the pastry brush, but forgot to mention it.

Wow--it's hard to beat strawberries fresh from your own garden. Monica may have pan envy, but I have berry envy.

Marie said...

It's definitely a holding-your-breath moment when you lift the fancy fluted pan off the cake.

I love this pan. A few years ago, I bought the cheaper (not cast aluminum) version. That was a mistake. The cake ended up not looking like a rose at all, but more like a misshapen sand castle.

jini said...

once again it is a beautiful cake, AND the berries are artistically place which ecl noted. they are not just rows of berries, they are small groups of goodness.
i am so far behind with baking that i probably shouldn't even comment. but i did!

Melinda said...

I have tried 3 times to leave a message and I keep being told I am an error.
I am very ticked now.
Nice cake Marie. This little pithy comment will probably get published with my luck!

Marie said...

Fortunately, there's no rule that says you have to bake in order to comment.

How dare my blog tell you that you're an error! I apologize on behalf of it.

doughadear said...

Your cake looks so pretty Marie and served with whipped cream and berries - perfect.