Moist chocolate genoise failure
Posted: 01 December 2011 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I made a half recipe of the moist chocolate genoise from TCB (baked in 2 6” pans) using the “Pellets be gone” method posted in the blog. I’ve read some older threads on the topic and my problems appear to be the same as other forum members but I do have additional questions. I weighed all of my ingredients and used a new thermapen to monitor mixture temperatures where required. I allowed the chocolate mixture to simmer for 5 min after it reached a boil to reach what I thought was “pudding consistency” (sorry but the change to “porridge consistency” doesn’t help me as I’ve never cooked nor eaten porridge red face ). I allowed it to cool to 100F and added the sifted flour. My mixture was like fudge and required twice the amount of egg foam to bring it close to the consistency of the photos on the blog. My baked genoise layers were 1” in height with the crusts included; the top half had the correct consistency but the bottom half was dense. (But, there were no flour pellets!! grin ) So far, this is a repeat of the problems/results other forum members have had. ( I wish I knew if they were eventually successful)

When I saw the chocolate flour paste, I knew my genoises wouldn’t work. I understand it’s possible I overcooked the chocolate mixture. Is there a temperature beyond which I should not cook this mixture? I added the flour when it was 100F, but, my kitchen was very cold (only 60F). Should I have compensated for this by adding the flour sooner, when the mixture was 110 or 120F? Same goes for the eggs…..should I have allowed them to reach 90 or even 100F before whipping to compensate for the cold room? (The eggs did seem to quadruple in volume). Also, I underestimated how long the chocolate mixture would take to cook and cool and my whipped egg foam was sitting for at least 10 minutes before it was needed. Would it lose volume by just sitting in a cool room?

I would appreciate any input before I attempt this again. (My kitchen is a little warmer now….~65F) smile

Thank you very much!

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Posted: 01 December 2011 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This is of great interest to me, Sophia, as I have had mixed results with the genoise.  I too, often have a very cool kitchen—so I’m now keeping a cooking journal so I can look for patterns to my failures, ha ha (and record the successes too, of course!).  I have plans to make the triple chocolate cake for Christmas, this year, and hope it turns out (sometimes it works, other times not!).  It’s been ages since I made a true genoise!  I feel that I may be out of practice.  I recall that the chocolate mixture took much longer to cook than quoted in the recipe.  Wish you the best and I will be checking back for responses on this one!

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Posted: 01 December 2011 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This won’t help you, but I usually make the regular chocolate genoise and add a chocolate soaking syrup.  My last one filled 9/10 of the 2” pan height when I poured in the batter; the only reason I mention this is that I add the flour and butter/chocolate while the mixer is on 1st speed (fold), which avoids the most challenging part of making a genoise, the folding.

I only did the “pudding” thing once and it didn’t work well for me.  The above method seems more reliable.

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Posted: 01 December 2011 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Sorry to hear you had trouble with this. It seems you are not alone, although personally I have found this method easier than the original, perhaps you would have better luck using the original method. I should video making this once so that the process will be more detailed. I don’t think the chocolate temperature is crucial. I often let mine cool completely before folding; this was just a refinement to the process from testing. The paste will be quite stiff (alarmingly so even), but when you add the egg mixture, it will lighten just enough to incorporate into the rest evenly. I think you might have lost volume by adding in double the amount of foam and also letting it stand for several minutes. At any rate, I can promise you it does work, however perhaps it is trickier instead of simpler!

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Posted: 01 December 2011 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Success!  grin (If I could make the smiley dance, I would)

Sherrie - 01 December 2011 08:13 PM

This is of great interest to me, Sophia, as I have had mixed results with the genoise.  I too, often have a very cool kitchen—so I’m now keeping a cooking journal so I can look for patterns to my failures, ha ha (and record the successes too, of course!).  I have plans to make the triple chocolate cake for Christmas, this year, and hope it turns out (sometimes it works, other times not!).  It’s been ages since I made a true genoise!  I feel that I may be out of practice.  I recall that the chocolate mixture took much longer to cook than quoted in the recipe.  Wish you the best and I will be checking back for responses on this one!

Sherrie, that’s the cake that I’m trying to make based on all of the recommendations I received when I was working on my “Ferrero Rocher” cakes. I’m making a 6” to use up the leftover whipped chocolate ganache from that last project. (I may be back tomorrow with questions about tempering chocolate smile .)
I think a cooking journal is an excellent idea. I tried to be a little more scientific in my approach this time and took a few notes in case I ever wanted to try this cake again.

There were a lot of variables that may have affected my first attempt, some of which I couldn’t control with my second effort. eg my kitchen was 70F for the second try, but I do believe I overcooked the chocolate mixture the first time. This time, I removed it from the heat after 4 min 30sec of simmering. I weighed the mixture when it first started to boil, at 1 min intervals and when I removed it from the heat. I thought if I were successful, at least I would have a weight (measure of evaporation?) to refer to in future. I had weighed the batter of my first batch when I divided it between my pans. The successful batch weighed almost 4% more. Assuming I measured everything else the same way, I can’t think of where else the weight might have been lost except through evaporation/overcooking of the chocolate.
It was much easier to incorporate the flour this second time and the mixture did more closely resemble the photos on the blog once the egg foam was added. I also improved my timing: the chocolate/flour mixture had to wait for the egg foam this time.

I think a second issue I had with the first batch was allowing the egg foam to sit. I didn’t realize just how much it changed in the 10minutes of waiting until I saw and worked with my second foam. The first batch had started to separate into layers: foamy, airy top, creamy bottom. And as Matthew mentioned, I added more foam than I should have to the chocolate, eliminating whatever volume I had beaten into that portion.

CharlesT - 01 December 2011 09:07 PM

This won’t help you, but I usually make the regular chocolate genoise and add a chocolate soaking syrup.  My last one filled 9/10 of the 2” pan height when I poured in the batter; the only reason I mention this is that I add the flour and butter/chocolate while the mixer is on 1st speed (fold), which avoids the most challenging part of making a genoise, the folding.

CharlesT, I was thinking of your post when I was preparing my mis en place for my second attempt so I made a batch of beurre noisette as well…...just in case smile Your method sounds very intriguing. What was the height of the finished cake?

Matthew - 01 December 2011 10:04 PM

I should video making this once so that the process will be more detailed.

Matthew, I think that’s a fabulous idea! I think a visual would be extremely helpful. I, for one, was really thrown by the pudding-like/porridge-like consistency description. The chocolate mixture of my successful batch was much thinner than any pudding I’ve ever had…if anything, it resembled a curd mixture that’s pourable but still able to mound on the surface.

Matthew - 01 December 2011 10:04 PM

although personally I have found this method easier than the original. At any rate, I can promise you it does work, however perhaps it is trickier instead of simpler!

Not having tried the original method, I can’t comment on whether or not it’s easier, but it certainly does appear to reduce the risk of deflating the egg foam when combining the ingredients (provided you do the first few steps correctly smile )and, of course, eliminates those pesky flour pellets!


Thank you everyone, for your input!

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Posted: 01 December 2011 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sophia - 02 December 2011 02:56 AM

CharlesT, I was thinking of your post when I was preparing my mis en place for my second attempt so I made a batch of beurre noisette as well?...just in case smile Your method sounds very intriguing. What was the height of the finished cake?

Not quite as tall as it started out.  wink  My oven is, um, lopsided, so all batters tend to flow towards the front of the oven.  I didn’t measure it, but I’d guess 1 1/2 inches on average.

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Posted: 02 December 2011 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve made this cake using the Pellets be gone method and it has worked well for me.  smile

Just wanted to report that I have made it using different sorts of chocolate, and the time it takes for the chocolate mixture to thicken varies from under one minute (Scharffenberger unsweetened choc) to about four minutes (Callebaut bulk dark choc, 53%).  I adjusted the amount of chocolate to equal the same weight of cocoa solids as the original recipe.  Sugar may be the explanation, but just wanted to point out that there’s a range of times in case it was throwing anyone for a loop.

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Posted: 02 December 2011 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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CharlesT - 02 December 2011 03:46 AM

Not quite as tall as it started out.  wink  I didn’t measure it, but I’d guess 1 1/2 inches on average.

I’m still planning on trying this method. smile

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Posted: 02 December 2011 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Julie - 02 December 2011 06:14 PM

I’ve made this cake using the Pellets be gone method and it has worked well for me.  smile

Just wanted to report that I have made it using different sorts of chocolate, and the time it takes for the chocolate mixture to thicken varies from under one minute (Scharffenberger unsweetened choc) to about four minutes (Callebaut bulk dark choc, 53%).  I adjusted the amount of chocolate to equal the same weight of cocoa solids as the original recipe.  Sugar may be the explanation, but just wanted to point out that there’s a range of times in case it was throwing anyone for a loop.

Thank you very much, Julie, this is great information to have. (I’ve added it to my notes smile )

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