Basic Genoise Question
Posted: 30 September 2010 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am a new member here, but I am not new to baking, nor Rose’s great recipes. I have been using her basic genoise cake recipe (4 eggs, 50g cake flour, 50g corn starch, 4g vanilla, 100g sugar, 38g butter) for a while, and 90% happy with the result. I bake mine in a 8inch cake mold (3inch tall, the batter fills about 3/4 of the pan) with removable bottom, the finished cake grows “almost” to the top, so I guess the height is OK. The crumb looks even and taste great too, no problem there. However, I do notice minor problems:

1. the cake grows to its highest height about 3/4 into the bake (350F for 30min is the total baking time, so at about 22 to 23min into the bake), the sides almost reach the rim of my 3inch tall cake pan, the middle domes well above, then it gradually shrinks back. By the time I take it out at 30min, the sides are 1/4 inch below the rim, and middle is only a little over the pan. I didn’t open the oven door the entire time. When cooling it shrinks a little more to become totally flat on top. Judging from the crumb, it looks cooked, so I don’t think I took the cake out too early. I’ve tried to cool it upside down like an angle food cake, didn’t make a difference.

2. The center of the cake top surface has slight cracks.

So what could be causing these problems? Should I increase/decrease oven temp? The 350F is suggested for 9inch pans, since mine is 8 inch, the batter is “deeper”, maybe I need to lower the temp and increase the time? I have read somewhere that cracks on top might be caused by too little flour. I do weigh flour, but not the eggs, is it possible that my eggs are too large?

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Posted: 30 September 2010 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t think you are having any problems at all!  A Genoise is supposed to shrink as the baking time comes to the end.  As far as the cracks go…typically the crust is removed before the syrup is added…so I don’t think that’s a problem either.  Rose has often said that her cakes don’t usually perform well in 3” pans…so all in all I think everything is fine!  Typically, a genoise isn’t a terribly tall cake, and usually isn’t baked in a 3 ” pan. I think you are doing great!

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Posted: 01 October 2010 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi and welcome!  I agree with Bill, your genoise sounds fine. 

The only thing I wondered about, when reading your description, was if your oven is running a little hot.  Normally, if you are able to watch the genoise toward the end of baking, it will reach a peak in height (the dome you describle), then shrink back and flatten a bit.  As soon as you can tell the cake has flattened a bit, or shrunk back from the sides a little, it is done and you can remove it from the oven.  It sounds like you are taking it out 7 minutes after the peak- watching the clock rather than the cake- so it is possible that you are overbaking just a little.  The cake will normally shrink a little more upon cooling, and the cooled shape should have a flat top.

The cracked top might also point towards a hot oven, though I’m not sure what genoise is normally like when baked in a 3” deep layer.  It’s possible the deep layer accounts for the cracks, rather than a hot oven.

Weighing eggs is always a good idea, and if they are too large I usually remove some of the whites, as yolks are often on the small side.  If you have too much egg or too much white, your cake will be drier and need more syrup than called for.  It may also overflow the pan.  Given that an 8x3 pan holds 10 1/2 cups and a 9x2 pan holds 8 2/3 cups, you are using a larger capacity pan than is called for and should not have the cake overflowing. 

If you are inclined, perhaps try weighing the eggs, using a 9x2 pan, and watching for the flattening/shrinking to guide oven time. 

Good luck!

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Posted: 01 October 2010 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks Bill and Julie! Good to know that genoise is supposed to shrink a little during baking. I will try Julie’s suggestion - taking it out as soon as it starts to shrink (it doesn’t seem to pull back from the sides, ever. That’s why I left it in for the full 30min.). I have an oven thermometer in it, and a baking stone (I mostly bake breads), I think my oven temp is pretty accurate, but then 8inch pan may need a lower baking temp, but it’s good advice to “watch the cake, not the clock”. smile

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Posted: 03 October 2010 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Don’t lower the temperature.  The temperature needs to be at 350 to get the air bubbles to expand properly…and you should not be baking a cake like this on a stone…the air needs to circulate around the pan…it should be baked on a rack

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Posted: 03 October 2010 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes to what Bill said about not baking on the stone, and I would go further and say that you probably shouldn’t have the stone in your oven during cake baking (i.e., on a different shelf) unless you’re willing to preheat long enough to fully heat the stone, probably at least 45 minutes.

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