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Genoise—heavy bottom layer ( w/pic )—what went wrong?
Posted: 03 April 2008 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Anybody ever have a genoise turn out like this?  I just tried to make my first and got a heavy layer on the bottom ( see photo ).  Was it too much liquid or did I do something wrong?

Here are the ingredients:
5 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to lukewarm

I followed the standard method, i.e. with a handheld mixer I beat the eggs and sugar over simmering water to 113 deg. F, then beat it in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until it cooled.  I did get a lot of volume with the egg foam up to this point.  I then folded in sifted flour in 3 additions, lightened the cooled melted butter with a cup of batter, and folded that back in, baking at 350 F. 

Any and all feedback most welcome! smile

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Posted: 03 April 2008 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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agrushin, seems like you did everything correctly. I usually sift the flour onto the egg mixture even though I sift it prior to that. Did you use Rose’s recipe? If you didn’t maybe you should give it a try. She gives VERY precise details and instructions. Did you clarify the butter? I don’t know if that makes a big difference as opposed to just melted butter.  I have always used clarified butter as per Rose’s recipe. Hector, may be able to give you more advice and tips. His specialty is Genoise and Biscuit. Paging Hector King of Savoiardi!  smile

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Posted: 03 April 2008 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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According to baking911, it’s either too much liquid or not enough mixing. 

I calculated the percentages of the recipe you used and compared it to Rose’s

Ingredients..Rose’s…..Yours
egg…...........46%.......45%
flour…..........23%.......14%
Sugar…........23%.......27%
Fat…..............8%.......14% (assuming you clarified)

The recipe you used has less flour and more fat and sugar than Rose’s. 
I think you just had a bad recipe.  What do you think Hector, Kind of Savoiardi?

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Posted: 03 April 2008 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I get this only when I execute the Moist Chocolate Genoise wrong, mostly if adding warm chocolate mix.  Seems like you did not mix the butter with a cup of egg mix prior addition of any flour; from what I read you first added the flour on the egg, then took one cup out of this egg/flour mix for the butter.  Hint, the egg mix that is stuck on your mixer’s whip is just about 1 cup, so don’t shake it back to the bowl but use it for the butter.

Rules:

1- Eggs should be beaten until it reached “triple” in volume, if you don’t get this volume is because they were not pre-warmed, warmed enough, or sugar was not superfine?  I beat mines on a warm water bath, when it has reached double volume, I remove the water bath (or bring the water to room temp by adding ice cubes slowly).

2- Clarify the butter and dump the solids by passing the warmed butter thru a fine cloth.

3- Fold quickly and do not delay baking.  The JB Prince giant balloon whisk is a must, it really cuts your folding time in near half, so you have more leeway to better “fold quickly and fold well.”

3- Never open your oven door until the cake is done.  I know this is hard to do, but it is perhaps a law for sponge type cakes.

Do report back.  Not sure if there is any chemical of physical reaction I may be missing explaining here.  My genoise has NEVER turned like this, but my chocolate version has.

Genoise is a wonderful European version of what a light USA butter cake would be sans the chemical leavening!  My favorite recipe is Golden Genoise (see my Dora cake).

I only use Cake Bible, great intro chapter on how to have success on genoise.

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Posted: 03 April 2008 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks everybody for the keen observations and suggestions! I’ll put them to use tomorrow night after a little grocery store run and post the results.

In the meantime, here’s some follow up:

1) I didn’t in fact clarify the butter.

2) Yes, Hector’s right about lightening the melted butter with flour already having been added to the egg/sugar.

3) I only opened the oven door once at about 25 minutes to do a toothpick test, then gave it more time in the oven.

4) I had used an 8” square glass pyrex pan (butter/flour and buttered parchment on the bottom) on a cookie sheet and next time I’ll just go with regular aluminum.

I have just begun exploring the site and, wow, the expertise of the bakers here is just phenomenal.  Congrats Hector on “Rose’s World” ~ I just saw it on the front page. Amazing stuff!

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Posted: 03 April 2008 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Great, and thanks’ for visiting Rose’s giant cake!  Which is my bigger ever and perhaps for ever tribute to her as you can see on the roses.  I think if I ever want to top this one, it will be a cake with similar puntillistic work in the shape of her fathers wonderful historic barn.

BTW, I “”“”“never”“”” do a toothpick test on my genoise!  The genoise will be prone to collapse into a heavy bottom like in your picture, if toothpicked when not fully baked, so why do it?  I would rather you crack open the oven door and see if the cake surface is golden brown or if the sides have shrunk.

Don’t bake genoise or biscuit in a glass pan, it won’t conduct heat as fast as a metal pan, and you do need the quick heat to set it, thus not collapsing.

I hope you haven’t discarded your ‘interesting’ genoise, run it thru the food processor and mix it with a little whipped cream and mold it.  It becomes a wonder-full dessert.

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Posted: 23 April 2008 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hi-
I baked cakes with a similar problem when I tried to scale a trusty altitude-adjusted version of a genoise 9” round up to 9"x13”. In fact, it happened three times in one desperate day. I fiddled with egg temperature, with home-clarified butter vs purchased ghee, and with butter temperature. Finally, I didn’t have the patience to clarify any more butter and used canola oil. The result was cosmetically perfect and the absence of butter flavor was masked by the syrup, filling and frosting. I have no idea why the oil worked and the butter didn’t. So- if you can do without the butter flavor, you could try oil.  And- any ideas why the oil worked so well?

Cathy

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Posted: 23 April 2008 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I don’t think Genoise is affected by altitude baking as most of it airy structure comes from beating the eggs and not from chemical leavening.  I know this is true for Biscuit.

A Genoise with oil instead of Butter would be a chiffon!

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Posted: 23 April 2008 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Rose recommends walnut or hazelnut oil instead of the clarified butter in the Genoise au Chocolat recipe.

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Posted: 24 April 2008 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Regarding the effect of altitude, I’ve found that cakes leavened primarily by beaten eggs have the most unpredictable response to high altitude. I can confirm Hector’s observation that biscuit is not particularly affected, at least not the biscuit a la cuilliere from the Cake Bible. The biscuit roulade was ok, but worked better with the cake flour/corn starch mix replaced with 2.25 oz cake flour. The genoise classique was less robust. At 5000 feet, it consistently had a sunken center until I made adjustments, even though it had been a reliable beauty in Lexington, KY.  Ahem. Sorry about the off-topic screed.

Cathy

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Posted: 25 April 2008 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi everybody,
I got The Cake Bible and made the Genoise classique with a pretty good result ( pic ).  In the heat of battle, as I started folding I remembered the tip about using the balloon whisk from this thread.  So the feedback here really helped! It’d be easy to give up altogether, given how things started off. 

The bottom of the new photo shows the interior texture - I split the cake into two layers and soaked the cut sides.  I thought they’d be porous and thin enough not to need to poke extra holes,  but I noticed that syrup still only sank in about halfway down.  Next time I’ll poke holes all the way through.  For icing and filling,  I used Hector’s Stabilized Super Stabilised Whipped Cream approach, and adding strawberry preserves between layers ( Fruit Cloud Cream ) and fresh strawberries on top. 

In the meantime, I’ve done a modified butter cake and the devil’s food cake from TCB.  The book’s a great learning tool.

eta: I’ve got no idea why the oil worked, but it’d make an interesting experiment.

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Posted: 06 May 2009 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My first genoise—I tried so hard! I ended up with the prettiest little chocolate genoise ever, but she is only 1 inch tall.
The one thing that I know for sure I didn’t do was to use my Rose baking strips…realized about 3/4 through.
Anyway - The recipe is Rose’s Genoise au Chocolat: I did mis en place diligently. Weighed everything (had to remove some egg bec they were a little too heavy). Sifted the cake flour (SwansDown). Ground the sugar (Florida Crystals), Droste cocoa. Madagascar vanilla, beurre noisette with unsalted butter.
I tried to follow Rose’s directions - Heated eggs and sugar over simmering water until lukewarm no curdling, five min beating eggs and sugar on high, and they looked like triple to me. They were rather foamy, however, I noticed as I was licking my fingers. Maybe I did what I have heard so much on the blog, and not beat enough. [Rose talked about how she did that - 3 min I think. Mine looks likes her failed first one before she rebaked]. Anyway, pulled 2 cups of the egg mixture and whisked with the chocolate and vanilla and water ‘pudding’. Resifted flour over remaining egg misture, folded with Prince whisk, passed through with large spatula twice, in Artisan 5 qt bowl, folded in beurre noisette in two small batches. Placed immediately into Chicago metallic alum 9 x 2 pan, (previously prepped with Baker’s Joy, and parchment on bottom and resprayed parchment), and put into 350 oven on lower third rack (no stone yet) oven. At first all seemed good, but I thought at more than half way it should have been higher - and higher - and higher: Uh Oh! I watched for shrinking from the sides, but couldn’t see from the angle I had with the oven light and was afraid to open the door. I left it in for 30 and then 35 minutes and then pulled it. Took it out and reinverted it and there it sits. It has tiny little holes all over the top, which is very flat. That is all I know. I would guess it is in the folding, or the beating. I don’t have a water bath, but Hector seems to find it helpful.
As I sat and watched, I realized I had forgotten the strips and worried, but—I’m hearing Hector: Do not open that door, do not use that tooth pick. Julie: take a couple of swipes with the spatula bec the chocolate is heavy and can stay on the bottom. Now, I have the syrup for the cake, and the puree ready for the strawberry cloud—- I guess they will wait for the next try!!  Help? joan

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Posted: 06 May 2009 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I’ll throw in my 2 cents:

Agrushin, as the others pointed out, your first genoise recipe was out of kilter.  It is supposed to have equal weights flour and sugar, not equal volumes.  Congratulations on your second, successful attempt!  I wouldn’t poke holes in the genoise, if the crusts are trimmed and the syrup is brushed on both sides of each layer, and the cake is assembled a day ahead of serving, your syrup will permeate evenly.  Baking strips on the sides of your pan will give you a more flat top. 

Cathy, I’m not sure about the effects of altitude, but as for the genoise working with veg oil instead of butter, I would venture a guess that the unsaturated nature of the oil made it lighter than the buerre noisette, which leads me to believe that your genoise needed more structure to support the heavier butter (either from a more stable egg foam or from flour). 

Joan, congratulations on your first attempt at genoise!  It gets easier the more times you do it.  Let’s see if we can help you find that extra bit of height. I think whipping and folding is where you’ll make the most improvement in height.  For beating, egg temp does not need to go above 110F.  What mixer are you using?  If a Kitchen Aid or similar, beat for the full five minutes on high that the recipe recommends.  If you are using a less-than-KA mixer, beat on high for at least ten full minutes.  I set the timer to be sure of beating times.  It is also OK to beat a little longer (+2 min) to stabilize the egg foam, but speed must be turned down to medium for KA, for a lesser mixer you can keep it on high as that corresponds to medium for a KA. 

Your description of folding doesn’t sound like there were any problems there, just remember that it’s a balance- you want to fold enough to get everything mixed, but to stop the moment you’ve reached that goal.  As soon as I get one or two passes with no streaks, I stop.  Trim the crust on the side that was the bottom of the pan on your one inch layer- if there are lots of little white balls of flour, you’ll need to reach in with clean hands to the bottom of the bowl after folding and pinch them to blend. 

A few other small things to consider:
Baking strips would help the sides rise higher and thus ensure a flat top, but they will probably not have much effect on the height of the center of the cake.  If you use baking strips, you can also try preheating the oven to 375, turning it down to 350 when you put the cake in.  Since your cake baked 35 minutes, it could be your oven is a tad slow. 

There are a few more small things to check, if you have the will.  I realize these are tedious, but they are the kind of thing you do once and then you have the information for the next time.  First, egg yolks have gotten smaller and whites larger since this recipe was developed.  You can separate your eggs and weigh whites/yolks separately to make sure you are getting the optimal mix of yolk and white (see weights on p.442).  This varies by brand, so check the brand you like to buy and note any changes needed for next time.  Second, cocoas vary in their cocoa butter content, so that a cocoa with less cocoa butter, when weighed, will give you a larger volume of dry ingredient than a cocoa with a higher cocoa butter content.  Since this recipe only uses 1/3 cup this variation probably isn’t too important, but you could try measuring the 1/3 cup by volume (lightly spooned), then weighing it.  If the weight comes out significantly too light, you’ll know to reduce a little when weighing this brand. 

Good Luck!

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Posted: 06 May 2009 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Julie,
Thanks so much for your help. I did forget to take the temp of the eggs over simmering water. I just finger-tested for “lukewarm” since I was afraid they would curdle. I definitely intend to get the water bath attachment. I use an Artisan 5 qt. What I removed from the eggs as they were on the scale was some egg white since I hadn’t mixed them yet. Next time I shall follow your suggestion and weigh them separately. I couldn’t find Green and Blacks here, so will have to send for that. I used Droste, our closest Dutched. I saw the thread on cocoa so will try and figure that out too. I will cut off the bottom layer tonight to see what is there. Aha - I whipped the eggs for a timed 5 minutes on high. Next time I shall go two minutes more on medium. As always, thank you thank you thank you, as Cass says,—“my learned friend” . . . I hope to make the next one Saturday. joan

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Posted: 06 May 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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JOAN:
  Good morning. Those words   “MY LEARNED FRIEND”  I had those words copyrighted many moons ago. If you use that phrase again, I WILL SUE.

  the
  ~MASKED MARVEL grin

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Posted: 07 May 2009 02:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Oh, Masked Marvel, I thought by your so marvelous turn of phrase that you might be my most marvelous friend, and, therefore, I thought it apt to quote your well-turned phrase to Julie. Moreover, Masked Marvelous Learned Friend, since you seemed to be everyone else’s, and in the end, not mine like the fallen genoise—See you in court.  kiss

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