How to make a Génoise sponge

Many French sweet recipes call for a genoise sponge. This is actually an Italian cake originating from the city of Genoa, but forms the basis of many French puddings and patisseries. It is essentially a butter free sponge which uses only eggs to rise. It’s lighter than traditional butter based sponges and due to it’s lower fat content, makes a perfect partner for richer, creamier fillings. Here’s a basic genoise recipe. The key is to gently heat the eggs as you beat them to increase the air content.

4 medium eggs
120g caster sugar
120g Flour
(To make a chocolate genoise substitute 20g of the flour with cocoa powder.)

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and begin to whisk together for about a minute. Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (a bain-marie) and continue to whisk  until the mixture has reached a hot temperature but not burning - you should be able to hold your finger tip in it.

Remove from the heat and whisk using a stand mixer or hand whisk for another 15 minutes. The mixture should cool and triple in size, with a pale colour and light texture.
By hand slowly stir in the flour, being careful not to knock out the air.

Fill a greased and floured mould of choice and bake immediately until golden brown (approx 25 minutes at 160ºC/325ºF

(A génoise layer cake with raspberry cream filling and fresh berries)