Whilst there are lots of (perhaps slightly more trim) young people out there who wind down after a day’s work by hitting the gym, my happy place is stood with a good cake recipe, peering into my Kenwood Chef as it whizzes up something tasty, then sat peering through the oven door for 30 minutes to watch my creation come to life.
Unlike our recent gardening project where we are definitely fairly hapless beginners, bags of flour, eggs and an alarming amount of butter pop up on the shopping list regularly enough to claim some level of ability at baking. Not so much of the fancy ‘make the cake look like a racing car with buckets of fondant’ school. More, rival the women of the Women’s Institute for good honest tasty treats.
This recipe is adapted from Rose Beranbaum’s Rose Genoise found in “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”. The original recipe called for a rather impressive looking rose shaped sculpted pan. I’m not sure with our tiny kitchen I can really claim to have enough use for such a thing to give it cupboard space; since my last birthday I am, however, the proud owner of a bundt tin which I figure will do just about as good a job.
I think you are probably safest with a tube pan of some description for this recipe as genoise sponge is ways up there on the list of baked good that will flop and die leaving a sad cakey mess in the bottom of your tin if you let it. Using a tube pan will mean you avoid having to wait for the middle of your cake to cook through while the edges overcook and dry out, then panic, take the cake out before its ready and watch it very depressingly squidge away to nothing.
Anyway enough chat… we are here for cake 😀
1/3 Cup (85g) Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
5 Very Fresh Large Eggs
1/2 Cup (125g) Caster Sugar
1/2 Cup (66g) Plain Flour
1/2 Cup(60g) Corn Flour
1. A little bit of prep – Grease and flour a 10 cup bundt tin (or if you can find yourself a can of Baker’s Joy just a quick spray). You’ll also need out of the cupboard 2 saucepans (one small, one medium), a sieve, some cup measures or scales, a cooling rack, a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius (325 F).
2. Prepare the Butter – In a small saucepan over a low heat melt the butter and keep heating until it turns clear and the milk solids sink to the bottom and turn a golden brown. Sieve into a small bowl to remove the milk solids and leave a dish of clear clarified butter. Stir in the teaspoon of vanilla extract and set aside for later.
3. Time for the eggs – Put in a saucepan a third full of water onto simmer. Grab a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and lightly whisk to combine. Place the bowl over the saucepan of water and keep stirring. Keep feeling the temperature of the eggs. When the egg mix is lukewarm its time to take it off the heat and whisk like crazy. If you have a stand mixer (Kenwood Chef, KitchenAid or the like) crank it up to full power with a balloon whisk attachment, sit back and relax for 5 mins. If not a hand mixer will take about 10 minutes to get the required amount of air into the eggs. When they are done the egg mix should have quadrupled in volume and be thick and creamy.
4. Make the batter – Sieve half the flour and cornflour into the egg mix and fold quickly until all the flour is moistened. Add the remaining cornflour and flour and fold in as before until the flour disappears. Take a cup of the mix out of the bowl and add to the clarified butter, combine and add back to the batter mix. Fold the buttery mix until well distributed.
5. Bake it – Pour the mix into your prepared tin and smooth out. Place carefully (banging the thing around too much will lose all the air) for 20-30 mins until lightly golden and slightly pulling away from the sides of the tin. Try not to open the oven to peek until at least the first 20 mins are up or things may just go flop.
6. Cool it – When the cake is done turn out immediately (no hanging about with a genoise sponge or it will never come out) onto a cooling rack.
7. Wait for it – Genoise sponge really really is better the day after its baked. So in theory at this point we sit and wait quietly overnight before eating our cake. For the sake of argument lets pretend we did this and didn’t immediately grab a knife to cut a slice of cake.
8. Let’s eat – Lashings of whipped cream, fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar should finish things off nicely. The finished cake serves 8 – 10 (or just the two of us a few times). Enjoy 😀