30 January 2010

Baking A Basic French Sponge Cake

This year my mom suggested that I take a course on baking.
My dad gave my mom a baking book for Christmas named Baking, by James Peterson. For two weeks we have been reading and learning from this book.
We wanted to start baking on Monday but my mom was afraid she goes in labour and then we havened do any baking.
We decided to bake everything with healthy ingredients.

This semester we will study basic cakes.
While it seems there are hundreds of different kinds of cakes, there are really only six: sponge cakes, butter cakes, oil based cakes, yeasted cakes, meringue-based cakes and custard cakes.

I’ve also learned thee are only four basic ingredients that virtually made up all cakes: flour, eggs, sugar and butter. Cakes can be made with other ingredients, such as flavourings and leavenings, but the amazing variety is the result of manipulating the four basic ingredients in different ways.

We started with sponge cakes.

Sponge cakes are cakes made by beating whole eggs, separated eggs or just egg whites with sugar and then folding the beaten mixture with butter of flavourful ingredients such as chocolate. Last. Flour and/or other dry ingredients are folded with the egg mixture.
All kinds of sponge cakes are leavened only with the air beaten into the eggs. They contain no baking powder or baking soda.

Over the weekend we baked a Basic French Sponge Cake (Genoise).

This is a purist’s cake because it contains no leaving; it’s lightened with air alone, and has a delicate egg flavour and a light texture that make it seem to fall apart in your mouth.

To make a Classic French Sponge Cake you need to beat whole eggs with sugar until they become very pale and are tripled or quadrupled in volume.
It is important to beat the egg-sugar mixture until you can lift the whisk and move it back and forth through the batter and the ribbon holds its shape for at least 5 seconds.
This is called the ribbon stage.

If you overbeat the eggs, the cake may be dry of worse, it may fall in the oven.
If the eggs are not beaten sufficiently, the cake will be heavy.
Recipe for Basic French Sponge Cake (Genoise):
(Makes 2 round layer cakes - 9 by 1 inch)

Butter and flour for the cake pan
6 eggs
¾ cup sugar (we substituted it with palm sugar)
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons cake flour (we substituted it with spelt flour, but then need to be 1 and 2/3 cups spelt flour)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven on to 180 C or 350 F.
Butter the round cake pans

Cut a circle out of parchment- or wax paper. Make sure it is a little smaller than the bottom of the pan.

Line the parchment paper (wax paper) on the bottom of the round cake pan.

Then flour the cake pane.

If you’re using palm sugar you must grate it.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl.
Beat on high speed with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 8 minutes, with a handheld mixer for about 20 minutes, or by hand using a bowl and balloon whisk for about 12 minutes, or until the ribbon stage.

Carefully transfer the egg mixture to a large bowl.
Fold in the flour by sifting it over the beaten eggs and folding with a rubber spatula.
In a smaller bowl, fold together the melted butter and about one-fifth of the egg mixture.
Fold the butter-egg mixture into the egg mixture in the larger bowl.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and gently smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Let cool for 5minutes in the cake pan and then turn out onto a cake rake.

I’ve used a Professional-style buttercream- and Italian meringue buttercream frosting to spread in between the layers and on the top of the cake.
I’ll write about the frosting in another posting.

Bon appetite!


  1. Wow!!! What a cake!! I bet you all really enjoyed it! It looks decadent ! Hope you are enjoying baking!!


  2. Just stumbled upon this looking for sponge cake recipes. The idea of using palm sugar is new to me, I'll have to try that. Thanks!

  3. yummm thanks helped me with my homework :)

  4. Kudos! You are so young and inspirational. Very good description of the process. I wish you a lot of success in baking and anything else you do!


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