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Genoise Sponge Cake

Three layers of Genoise sponge cake on parchment paper.

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This 4-ingredient Genoise sponge cake recipe makes a classic Italian cake - torta or pasta Genovese. Light, airy, and sliced into layers, it makes the perfect layer cake for a birthday or other celebrations. 

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (120 g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 4 1/2 tablespoons (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F (180°C). Butter and flour an 8-inch (20 cm) round pan. Melt the butter in the microwave and let it cool.

  2. Prepare a bain-marie or water bath. Pour some water into a saucepan and bring it over medium heat. Place eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk eggs with sugar using a hand whisk a few times. Place the bowl over the saucepan with the simmering water, ensuring the bottom doesn't touch the water.

  3. Continue beating the eggs and sugar mixture with the whisk so that it becomes frothy and whitish. Using a cooking thermometer, check the temperature of the mix. It must heat up to 104°F (40°C) or be warm to the touch.

  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the preparation with an electric hand mixer on high or medium-high speed until completely cooled. The mixture should reach the ribbon stage. Add half of the sifted flour to the egg mixture and delicately mix with a rubber spatula from the bottom to the top. Add the remaining flour and mix, ensuring the batter does not deflate.

  5. Add a few spoonfuls of the batter to the warm melted butter and mix. Gently pour the blended butter mixture into the rest of the batter and carefully mix.

  6. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake it until golden brown for 30-35 minutes. Check the doneness of the cake: a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let it stay in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Then run a small knife around the edges of the pan (if needed), flip it onto a cooling rack, and cool it completely. 

Notes

  1. Make sure the recipe ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Weigh the flour with a digital scale or use a spoon and level method.
  3. Choose an 8-inch (20cm) round pan or springform pan. To recalculate the ingredients for a different pan size, use this simple cake pan calculator.
  4. If you choose a cake ring wrapped in aluminum foil or smaller or larger baking pans, you must adjust the oven temperature and baking time. For sponge cakes made in molds over 8 inches (20 cm) and less than 3 inches (about 10 cm) high, stick at 180 degrees C. For smaller and higher molds, use 150 degrees C.
  5. Don't open the oven door until the baking is complete. Otherwise, the cake will deflate.
  6. Trim the top of the cake to level, if desired, and slice it into thin layers with a long serrated knife, a nylon thread, or a cake leveler. 
  7. Brush the cake layers with simple syrup before filling and icing.
  8. Make-ahead option: Make the cake 1-2 days in advance, wrap it in plastic film, and refrigerate it.

Nutrition

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