Vanilla Genoise Cake

"A baker's basic. Genoise is a dry cake that is used with ingredients that are very moist, so they can soak up the extra moisture and take on that flavor, like trifles, or mousse filled cakes. This is my fool-proof formula."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
1 cake




  • Oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line the bottom of One 8 or 9 inch round cake pan OR 8-inch square pan, OR 11x17 sheet pan with parchment, and spray lightly with some sort of spray release (like Pam).
  • Combine the butter and vanilla in a small bowl.
  • Set aside somewhere warm (you want the butter to stay melted).
  • Combine the flour with 3 tbl.
  • of the sugar and sift again.
  • Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, combine the eggs and rest of the sugar.
  • Place the mixing bowl in a large pan of hot (not boiling, very hot tap water is good) water, and mix with your VERY CLEAN hand (kids love this part) until the eggs feel warm to the touch (body temp)*.
  • Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on high speed until cool, light and at the ribbon stage (when you lift the beaters, ribbons of batter fall back into the bowl and don't disappear very quickly).
  • Now, everyone says to use a rubber spatula, but I find it much easier to use my hand to do this next part**.
  • Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour onto the eggs and quickly and gently fold into the batter.
  • Fold in half the remaining, then the rest.
  • Take about a handful of the batter and mix into the small bowl of butter and vanilla until well combined.
  • Gently fold that back into the batter.
  • Divide between the pans and bake as follows: for an 8" square, 20-25 min.
  • ;an 8" round, 25-30 minutes; a 9" round, 20-25 minutes; and an 11x17 sheet pan, 15-20 minutes.
  • The cakes should JUST BEGIN to shrink away from the side of the pans, and should spring back when you lightly touch them in the center.
  • Remove from oven, let cool about 10 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a flat surface and let cool completely before peeling off the parchment.
  • Set aside until ready to use.
  • This cake is best if allowed to sit a day before using in trifles.
  • NOTE 1: Genoise is supposed to be a dry cake.
  • It was made specifically to take moist toppings so it could soak them up.
  • *NOTE2: I learned to use my hand when warming yolks in culinary school.
  • The idea is that as soon as it feels warm on your hand, it is at the perfect temperature to whip to ribbon stage.
  • **NOTE3: I learned to fold flour into delicate batters like this with my VERY CLEAN hand in culinary school also.
  • At first I thought it was stupid, but I quickly saw it was the best way to be able to tell if all of your flour is mixed in and avoid any un-incorporated flour bits.
  • I mix angelfood cakes this way, too.
  • Children love to do this!

Questions & Replies

  1. How many cakes does this recipe make? At the top of the instructions, it says to prepare One 8" or 9" circle, or One 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square, or one 11 x 17 sheet. However, further down, the instructions say to divide the batter between the pans. How many pans am I supposed to be using?


  1. This is an excellent recipe. Perfect for my cannolli cake
  2. This was a great recipe, it helped me alot with the tips and everything, I had tried a different vanilla genoise recipe before this one, and it came out like a rock. In this recipe it says do not put eggs over boiling water! and I did that in the first recipe (because thats what it said to do and it came out...bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so I went online and got this recipe and it came out PERFECT!! It was fun using my hands to mix everything and check the temperatures..I will never need another vanilla genoise recipe again :)~erica ps thanks for this great recipe and culinary tips!
  3. this is a great recipe thank you chef i was looking for the one i have from my college pastry chef but havent been able to find it this is great great with italian meringue and pastry cream filling
  4. this recipe is just SO GOOD. I was scared when he kept saying this was a dry cake, but it was just the most fluffiest, moist spongy, BEAUTIFUL cake EVER. This was my first successful spongecake/ genoise. I tried so many times before, but my batter kept falling whenever i added the flour and butter to my mixture. thankfully, this person gave me wonderful tips that i will use in every sponge cake recipe from now on. You dont really need cake can just use a cornstarch+ AP flour mixture for this one. oh..and im only 15



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