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Genoise


pquinene
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I attempted to make genoise, the Italian sponge cake, back in the late 1990s. After several turns, I gave up. A few days ago, I decided to try again. The end result was better, but I still had tiny balls of flour in the mix. Any suggestions?

Here's what I did - I used half cake flour and half all-purpose flour, mixing the flours with salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; heated all of the eggs and the sugar to 90 degrees Fahrenheit over hot water then beat on high for 2 minutes followed by 12 minutes at medium speed of a stand mixer; sifted the flour and sugar mixture over the batter then gently folded the flour in; it took five intervals of folding; folded the vanilla extract and a bit of heavy cream with 1 cup of the batter then added the new mixture to the batter. I used a sheet pan.

Well, the batter did deflate some and I still ended up with balls of flour. It tasted great though was less than an inch (less than 2.54 cm) thick. What is the secret to folding in flour without getting bits of it in the baked product? I have made a similar recipe using room temperature eggs and adding the flour while the mixer was turned on. No flour balls, but the baked cake does shrink quite a bit; I used a sheet pan and cupcake pans.

Thanks for your help!

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The easiest way to incorporate flour into a mix like that is to sift it onto baking paper, then ideally have someone to add it continuously (but not too fast) while you fold it. Failing that, don't add it all at once and fold as slowly as possible. What's your genoise recipe? I've never seen one that uses cream.

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Sift the flour over the batter in three or so batches. I fold in with a large balloon whisk. I find it helps break up the flour lumps better than trying to fold in with a rubber spatula. Never made a genoise with cream either, only butter. After folding in the flour, I remove a cup or so, whisk it into warm butter, then fold that back in, with whisk as well. This prevents the butter from sinking to the bottom of the batter, and having to fold too much to get it incorporated.

I believe the recipe I use had cake flour and a small amount of cornstarch. I haven't made it in a while, so would have to look it up.

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jmacnaughtan - The cream I used in the recipe is in place of melted butter; just another kind of fat. If I can recall correctly, I used 6 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 cup total of sugar, 1/2 cup of cake flour, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I apologize for the US measurments).

RWood - I did the same thing with the cream as opposed to the warm butter. I like your idea of a large balloon whisk. I did sift the flour, but it took more than 3 batches. I'll use the whisk the next time I attempt this.

Thanks to you both!

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  • 2 months later...

OK - I am going to go against centuries of advice here.........I make wedding cakes and I only use genoise and used to get frustrated at my batter deflating which always happened as soon as I added the flour and butter and started folding them in - it takes too long to fold both the flour and butter in by hand to the point where they are completely combined.

Anyway, I found the BEST way to avoid deflating my genoise - I DONT fold it in by hand. Basically, I whip the hell out of my sugar and eggs (probably 10 to 15 minutes at high speed) until they are super thick and as airy as I can get them, then I have my flour all sifted and ready to go and my butter melted. I then add some flour to my butter to get a light paste (not too thick, think of garlic puree - it's the best comparison I have). I then turn my mixer to it's lowest setting (with the balloon whisk attachment) and add my flour, then butter, fairly quickly - once added, I let it mix for until it has literally just all disappeared (about 10 seconds) and then switch the machine off. I then take a spatula and just give it a couple of folds to make sure nothing is sitting at the bottom unmixed.......and that's it! It barely deflates at all......it takes all the arm work out of making genoise and it's far better than folding it in by hand. Mixing some of the flour with the butter prevents the butter from sinking straight to the bottom.

Anyway - I hope this helps - I certainly have found this method to be far better than folding by hand.

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OK - I am going to go against centuries of advice here.........I make wedding cakes and I only use genoise and used to get frustrated at my batter deflating which always happened as soon as I added the flour and butter and started folding them in - it takes too long to fold both the flour and butter in by hand to the point where they are completely combined.

Anyway, I found the BEST way to avoid deflating my genoise - I DONT fold it in by hand. Basically, I whip the hell out of my sugar and eggs (probably 10 to 15 minutes at high speed) until they are super thick and as airy as I can get them, then I have my flour all sifted and ready to go and my butter melted. I then add some flour to my butter to get a light paste (not too thick, think of garlic puree - it's the best comparison I have). I then turn my mixer to it's lowest setting (with the balloon whisk attachment) and add my flour, then butter, fairly quickly - once added, I let it mix for until it has literally just all disappeared (about 10 seconds) and then switch the machine off. I then take a spatula and just give it a couple of folds to make sure nothing is sitting at the bottom unmixed.......and that's it! It barely deflates at all......it takes all the arm work out of making genoise and it's far better than folding it in by hand. Mixing some of the flour with the butter prevents the butter from sinking straight to the bottom.

Anyway - I hope this helps - I certainly have found this method to be far better than folding by hand.

At what point are you adding the paste you have made with some of the flour and butter?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Out of curiosity, why are you using all-purpose flour in your genoise? I've always used sifted cake flour. Sifting is important because cake flour tends to clump easily. It sounds as though your egg foam is not stable or the flour is not dispersing evenly and some of it is sinking by the time you fold it all in.

Here is my method:

Warm eggs and sugar just until sugar dissolves. Whip on highest speed until mix is thick and light. Lower speed to medium and whip for ten more minutes. Before you fold in the flour, the foam should be stable enough to hold a ribbon. Sift cake flour and salt onto parchment paper. Fold dry ingredients into egg foam in three additions and temper* butter into mixture.

*Take 1/4 of the batter out of the bowl and fold in the cool but melted butter. Fold this buttered mix back into the egg-flour foam.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Out of curiosity, why are you using all-purpose flour in your genoise? I've always used sifted cake flour. Sifting is important because cake flour tends to clump easily. It sounds as though your egg foam is not stable or the flour is not dispersing evenly and some of it is sinking by the time you fold it all in.

We don't have cake flour here in the UK - I sift my flour three times before adding it to my egg mix. Not sure why mines deflates when folding it in, but even if it didn't deflate, using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer is way easier and quicker, especially if like me you make wedding cakes and need to make about 5 batches, one after the other (I seriously need a bigger mixer!).

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