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Genoise sponge not chocolately enough - add more cocoa or substitute with chiffon cake?


AnC
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Hello all :) I'm making a torta setevelli for my brother's upcoming milestone birthday in a couple of weeks. I've used this recipe as a sort of inspiration but I'm doing my own take on it and not actually using it as instructions for any part of the cake https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/recipes/all/prue-leith-torta-setteveli/ NB: any mention of standard sponge below means a regular victoria sponge type cake (pound cake in US?) 

 

I'm a confident and proficient baker but have never had any reason to make a genoise sponge before. So, knowing its reputation as a more 'challenging' cake, I did a lot of research, looked at a lot of recipes and decided on what seemed to be the fairly traditional recipe of 30g sugar and 30g flour (and by flour I mean starch really as it seems you can swap a bit for cornflour, cocoa etc) per egg. Butter seemed to be optional and there were a lot of varying quantities so I decided on 10g per egg as this seemed a bit of a halfway point. I made 2 mini practice ones - one with and one without butter. I used 10g cocoa (a good quality one that I always use in chocolate cakes) and 20g flour per large egg. I made them in the evening, wrapped in clingfilm when they cooled down and tried them the following afternoon.

 

Technically, the genoise turned out perfectly - it was light and airy as it should be. I found the one with butter was a tiny bit more moist than the one without but both were still fine. The problem was with the flavour. The chocolate flavour was far too subtle - the predominant flavour I was getting was sugar. The cocoa was well mixed in and I've always gone by the rule that if making a cake chocolate, I substitute about one third of the required flour with cocoa and it's always worked out fine in the past. I know that genoise is generally more of a subtle flavour as it's not intended to be eaten plain but rather to complement other stronger flavours. But it really was just sugar flavour. And to add to this, genoise is also a drier cake than a standard sponge too and every recipe I've come across will always dab some kind of liquid on the sponge to retain moisture. I know alcohol can be used for this but as children will be eating this cake I'd prefer not to. Which leaves me with syrup but surely this will just exacerbate the problem of the cake tasting too sugary?? 

 

So essentially, my question is how do I make the genoise taste more chocolatey? I know reducing the sugar is an obvious answer but every single recipe I read always uses equal amounts of sugar and flour so I'm not sure I can use less sugar but the same amount of flour. Can I add more cocoa in place of the flour instead? Could I even use just cocoa instead of flour as it's not being used as a raising agent here? What if added some melted chocolate (either as well as or in place of the butter)? I'm a bit wary of making changes in case I inadvertantly affect the texture and I end up with a disaster! My other option is to use a chiffon cake in place of the genoise. I have made a few of these and I know they're lighter than a standard sponge but I've always made them as a cake rather than as part of a dessert (if that makes sense!). Has anyone used chiffon cake in an entremet type dessert or would it still be a bit too stodgy? 

 

Thank you in advance for any advice! I have a couple more questions regarding some of the other elements but I will post them in separate threads so i don't make this one into novel length confusion!

 

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Do you have a copy of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum?  It's a compilation of very well researched and well written recipes ranging from butter cakes, genoise, chiffon - if you can borrow a copy from a library it will be helpful to you.  She has a blog as well that likely has the same information .... realbakingwithrose.com

 

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AAQuesada tyvm for the recipe and the link to the choc extract - never seen the latter but would be very helpful and have found a shop not too far that stocks it so will def give it a try. 

 

JeanneCake thanks for the advice - I managed to find a copy of the book you recommended and it was really helpful. Essentially my genoise turned out exactly as it should - apparently until you add the syrup it's a pretty flavourless so in that respect I was spot on. But it actually answered my questions above (and if anyone else also wants to know, you can use less flour and more cocoa but the less flour you use the denser the cake and there is actually a recipe for a moist chocolate genoise cake which actually uses melted chocolate in place of the butter).

 

So, I now have a starting point for a couple of extra mini practice cakes without worrying I'll be wasting a load of ingredients! 

 

But I'd still appreciate any thoughts on what people think of using chiffon cake as the sponge base in entremets, just in case the genoise doesn't work out and also just out of curiosity!

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I myself prefer chiffon cakes in general so I think if that's your preference you should go for it.  I've made the settevelli before for clients and I've used thin layers of our regular chocolate butter cake, just use syrup to your advantage to add moisture/flavor.  As for the glaze, you could use a chocolate water glaze instead of the mirror glaze. 

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Thanks JeanneCake that's very helpful to hear from someone who has past experience of this cake! I'm going to have one go at making a very mini version of the RLB moist choc genoise today just because I'm curious but I think the chiffon cake will be easier and tastier in the end. Thanks also for the suggestion of a water glaze, it's definitely a viable alternative!

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Just wanted to provide an update and say thanks - I made the moist chocolate genoise cake in Rose Levy Beranbaum's book and it's perfect for my purposes so that's what I'm going with. Thanks JeanneCake for suggesting it and thanks for all the help and advice everyone gave!

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