The dreaded Genoise
Posted: 12 January 2009 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have read Rose’s post on the Genoise. I have read about 15 different recipes. I have consulted on a multitude of baking forums.

I have made 3 attempts. And while things definitely have improved I am still coming up short.

The first two times I tried a chocolate Genoise. They ended up stiff, dry and too well done on the edges. The 2nd attempt I even under folded the flour/cocoa into the eggs and it ended up marbled. It was clear that I needed to improve my folding, and despite a few pockets of dry flour, you’ll see that I did a pretty good job on the 3rd try.

Now tonight was different. I heated the eggs to 105 degrees while whisking in the sugar. Then I beat them to a ribbon consistency in my Viking stand mixer. So far so good.

I then did a much better job folding the flour in, and this time left out the cocoa so that when I was done baking it I could fully see how well done it had cooked (the cocoa had obscured the golden hue and it was hard to know).

The end result is a Genoise that amazingly retained its lightness and spongyness, yet ended up collapsing a little bit in the center. Now there are a few theories I have on this. One is a bone headed move I made in the beginning. When I put the Genoise into the oven, I slid it into the middle rack for 5 seconds and then thought it should probably go in the 2nd to bottom rack, so slid it out and put it back in the bottom 2nd rack. Possibly a dumb move.

Then the other factor is that I bought an oven thermometer today and it claims that my gas powered Kenmore Elite is 20 degrees less than it says. So I cranked the oven to 395 to compensate, and sure enough the thermometer responded and ended up at 375. The first two Genoise I made were cooked on what my oven claims was 375.

This led as far as I could tell to the Genoise cooking much faster. It was golden by 14 minutes and I took it out at 20 minutes because I feared it was overcooked. Alas it was not, so I placed it back in. Mind you it had already collapsed by this point. I let it go for another 6, which was too long, because upon taking it out at 26 minutes, the edges on the top were dark brown and crispy. The rest of the cake remained ok though.

So obviously I am not there but I am getting there. I appreciate all help because I am determined to make this cake.

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Posted: 12 January 2009 02:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Matthew - 12 January 2009 06:44 AM

Sounds to me like the major problem you are having is with the baking stage.  Keep in mind that the oven thermometer you bought might be inaccurate too—most of them are—and if you overbaked the first genoise, then it sounds like it might not be as far off as the thermometer is claiming.  I think you will get it right with another try or two, but yes, these cakes a very sensitive to being moved and to the oven door being opened, so avoid doing both of those! Are you using Rose’s recipe?

After the caked cooled I cut off the very top portion, just under the overcooked edges and enough to leave a flat top, thereby removing the concave shape. The cake is quite delicious, which means I was very close and probably near perfect in the application of the batter and everything prior to the baking stage, as you suggested.

I suspect you’re right about the thermometer. I think even my oven is over-estimating, meaning I should set it to 365 instead of 375 or 395 and try cooking it for 25 minutes instead of 30. That should eliminate the deflation, but the cake itself did turn out delicious.

To answer your question I am not using Rose’s recipe, I do not own the book. I was using a recipe from Michel Roux’s book “Eggs”, and cross referencing with the “French professional pastry series”, Volume 1. I think I followed the recipe just right, I will focus on the baking stage much closer next time, and I might skip greasing the bottom with butter in favor of using parchment paper and just greasing the sides a bit.

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