Sunday, January 23, 2011

RHC: Génoise Très Café

Lots of cooking and baking this weekend, thus this flurry of posts to document the results. I'm not sure that the black-bean chipotle burgers will get written up tonight...

Génoise Très CaféCake of the week is Génoise Très Café, or a sponge cake with coffee-coffee-coffee. Coffee in the cake batter, coffee in the syrup, and coffee in the whipped ganache frosting. My bottle of coffee extract got quite a workout. I added a fourth coffee touch with chocolate-covered coffee beans as decorations. Alas, despite the strong positive feelings towards coffee in my family, this cake got mediocre reviews because of my continuing problems with génoise.

I have made reasonable génoise, though usually not ones that achieve the heights RHC states they should. I beat the eggs for at least 5 minutes (usually just that long, as I'm afraid of overbeating), I fold the remaining ingredients in lightly and quickly, and....I get a not-so-tall génoise. This one, unfortunately, was downright dense, but with lots of other cooking to do I didn't make a second one. Perhaps I should stick to ladyfingers and biscuit, which are only supposed to be a half-inch or so high.

Génoise Très CaféI was again doing a half-recipe (despite our love of coffee, we do not generally love the génoise), and you can see that my baked cake is little more than half as high as the 2" cake pan sides. The syrup gave it moisture, but the texture looked more like a pound cake--not what you want in génoise. The autofocus didn't cooperate on my slice-of-cake picture, and I'll refrain from sticking in a thumbnail of it. Trust me, it was dense.

On the other hand, the light whipped ganache did much better for me than last time, perhaps because with the small quantity (a half recipe yields about a cup) I did it all by hand. I whipped very briefly--far less than the 3 minutes called for by machine--and had a lovely smooth mocha ganache just making soft peaks. Alas, it did indeed continue to thicken as I syruped my cake layer, and when I stirred the ganache to start the frosting process, I had an instantly grainy mess. At this point I wasn't putting more effort into it (hey, the ganache still tasted fine, and didn't have an objectionable mouth-feel), so I frosted away regardless.

I think I've already summarized the tasting comments: nice flavor (coffee!), but dense. I've got 3 more sponge cakes to bake from RHC, so perhaps I'll have some technique breakthrough with one of those and get a truly light génoise. No wait--one of those is the Orange-Glow Chiffon. Two more cracks at a génoise....I'll try to contain my excitement. :)


  1. sorry about your genoise. i know how you feel. all my genoise were shrunken dense discs too. i let the mixer run for 6 minutes minimum and that seems to have changed things around. don't be afraid of overbeating!

  2. If you hadnt mention, i wont have known you had genoise trouble..looks perfect in the pan though!

  3. Glad to know I'm not the only one who can't make a two inch genoise regardless of the five minute whipping of eggs. Your's turned out quite lovely. And those black bean chipotle burgers sound pretty darn good!

  4. Count me as the third person with a less than two inche cake. While my cake did not shrink and it was airy.. it was not at the 2 inch mark either.. more like one and half... I think I'm going to time myself beating it instead of just eye it and stopping when I think its double/tripple in size.

    But, like Faithy said, 2 inches, 1 inches at the end it's the taste that counts and yours looks pretty good.