All cakes are largely the same ingredients. Fat, sugar, eggs, and flour. But change up your technique, and you’ll get yourself a very different cake.
As compared to a Victorian sponge cake that is made by the standard creaming method, a Genoise uses largely the same ingredients but begins by aerating a sweetened egg mixture over heat. It’s a little more work, but on the plus side, a Genoise uses much fewer ingredients and the sponge is extremely light and fluffy.
This cake was destined for a party. Where I live, when a baby reaches its first month out of the womb, it’s a cause of celebration. While it’s more traditional to give ang ku kueh (literally “red tortoise cake”), I thought a more Western interpretation of birth could bring some cosmopolitanism to the party. Plus it gives me an excuse to stick cute rubber duckies on a cake.
60g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60g all-purpose flour
30g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Makes 2 6-inch cake layers.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 190°C (380°F). Grease and line two 6-inch round cake tins.
Step 2: Set a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Only steam should be touching the bottom of the bowl, not water.
Step 3: Pour your thickened egg mixture into a mixer and beat on high for another 5 minutes. This should both cool down the mixture and add even more volume to it.
Step 4: Sift in the flour and carefully fold it into the mixture. Finally, carefully add the melted cooled butter and vanilla extract and fold those in as well. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and decorate.
Silly me completely forgot to get a picture of the finished sponges until they were covered up with icing. A Genoise sponge is extremely light and fluffy, but it can get a little dry especially if it’s going to stand around for more than a day. I’d recommend dabbing a little sugar syrup (dissolve 200g sugar in 1 cup of water and cool) to keep the sponge moist before icing if you’re not going to serve the cake promptly.
I finished off the cake with a standard no-frills buttercream icing, dyed baby blue for the newborn boy. And of course, stuck rubber duckies on top and let loose on the rainbow-coloured sprinkles.
I think the little prince liked it, don’t you?