How to make a delicious, fluffy, airy genoise sponge cake with this easy and foolproof recipe. This vanilla sponge cake is made with only 3 ingredients and is perfect for your pastries, cakes and other desserts.
The genoise sponge cake recipe is a classic European sponge cake widely used in French pastries to make cakes and entremet recipes.
Genoise sponge is very popular recipe for its simplicity and its airy and light texture that we like to use in pastries like the French fraisier cake, in desserts, or in cake layers.
Composed only of 3 ingredients, whole eggs, sugar and cake flour, like the Angel food cake recipe, this genoise recipe does not contain baking powder, due to the whipped eggs that give its fluffy and soft crumb.
Very easy to make at home, this cake is a very simple basic recipe that can also be made in a chocolate genoise version and if you follow my instructions well you will have a delicious cake to use in your birthday desserts.
Difference between genoise and sponge cake
Among the different sponge recipes there are two main recipes, this classic genoise and the sponge cake recipe.
Made with the same ingredients, eggs, sugar and flour, it has an additional ingredient which is fat, usually butter or oil.
And the fat gives it a denser, moist cake texture which makes it perfect for layer cakes, whereas genoise is more fragile which is why it is used more for roll cakes or entremets.
Ingredients for this recipe
Here are the ingredients and possible substitutions to make this delicious classic sponge cake at home, scroll down the page to see the quantities in the recipe card.
- Eggs: Use fresh whole eggs, especially at room temperature for best results.
- Sugar: Preferably white granulated sugar or flavored sugar such as cane sugar.
- Flour: White wheat flour like cake flour, or equal parts all-purpose flour and cornstarch for an even lighter cake (for a gluten-free version of sponge cake, replace the wheat flour part with a gluten-free flour blend).
- Flavor: Pure vanilla extract, lemon juice, bitter almond extract, or another flavoring to enhance the genoise like fruit purée or nuts butter.
- Yeast: Optionally, add half a packet of baking powder to make the sponge rise even more and have even more fluffiness.
- Cocoa powder: For a chocolate version of the sponge cake, replace some of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Butter: Some recipes also contain melted butter to be added at the end of the recipe to have a more moist and richer cake.
⚠️ You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
How to make Genoise Sponge
1 - Whip eggs & sugar
- Place room-temperature eggs and sugar (in this case I add pure vanilla extract) in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Mix at medium-high speed for about 10-12 minutes until you have a voluminous mixture that has doubled or tripled in volume and until you get a ribbon of dough when you lift the whisk.
Tip: It's very important to use room temperature eggs and to beat at medium speed, not high speed, to make the eggs rise and reach the ribbon stage to have a fluffy cake.
2 - Stir in flour
- Add the flour through a fine sieve onto the whipped eggs mixture.
- Use a soft spatula to gently fold in the flour without letting the mixture fall.
Tip: If you are using a mixture of flour and cornstarch and a small pinch of salt, then sift the dry ingredients together before adding them to the egg mixture.
3 - Baking
- Preheat oven to 329°F / 165°C (fan oven) and prepare a cake pan lined with parchment paper.
- Pour the genoise sponge cake batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven at half-height for about 20 minutes until the cake is lightly browned on top.
- Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing it from the pan and letting it cool completely on a wire rack.
Tip: Be careful not to overcook the cake as it may be too dry in the mouth. At the end of the baking time, check the baking with a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake. It must come out clean without crumbs or liquid batter.
How to serve this genoise cake
This sponge cake is so soft and delicious that you can eat it by itself, but it is perfect in all your desserts and cakes, here are some ideas:
- Entremets : French fraisier, framboisier, mousse entremets and more…
- Cake rolls: logs or other rolled cakes
- Layer cake
- With fresh fruits, strawberries, raspberries and mascarpone frosting, custard.
- In glass jars, with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Room temperature: After baking, you can store your cake at room temperature for about 2-3 days, covered with plastic wrap, a tea towel or in a storage box.
Freezing: Once completely cooled, you can store the genoise sponge
in the freezer, well-wrapped in plastic wrap or in a storage box for up to 3 months.
Thawing: Let the genoise cake thaw gently at room temperature overnight.
Tips & Tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients, for best results and to get a fluffy and super light cake.
- Use fresh eggs: Fresh eggs at room temperature rise better and keep their voluminous texture.
- Whip the eggs for at least 10 minutes, they should double or even triple in volume to have a nice airy sponge cake. (no water bath in this version but use a stand mixer for this step if possible)
- Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula, making circular movements from the inside to the outside of the container, just enough to have a homogeneous batter.
- Line the pan with baking paper only on the bottom for easy removal, run a knife around the edges to loosen the genoise.
- Remove the crust of the genoise when the cake is still a little warm with a knife to have a layer of genoise sponge quite white.
Frequently asked questions
The genoise sponge is made with only 3 ingredients while the classic sponge cake is made with 4 ingredients, the latter also contains butter.
Allow the genoise to cool completely before cutting it into layers using a cake lyre or a large saw knife.
It is recommended to soak the genoise with a sugar syrup to give it more flavor and a softer, less dry texture in the mouth.
Your génoise will fall apart if you beat the eggs too quickly or if you open the oven door during baking.
More sponge cakes
- Molly cake Vanilla sponge cake
- Chocolate Molly cake
- Buttermilk chocolate cake
- White cake
- Chiffon cake
- Sponge cake
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