21 February 2011

Genoise with strawberry cream

The Canadian Living Cookbook edited by Carol Ferguson in 1987 was my first cookbook. (I now own well over 300). As you can see this book is well used...

For many years, this was the only cookbook I owned and I used it to teach myself how to cook. I still use it often. I have a few of the recipes memorized and some of the recipes in this book have found a permanent position in my cooking repertoire.

One of my favourite cake recipes is the Genoise. I love it. It is very versatile, light, moist, delicious and easy. Although, you really have to have an electric mixer for this.

You start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F and by greasing two 9" round cake pans. Grease pans, cut two rounds of parchment to fit in bottoms and then grease and flour parchment and pans.

The recipe from the book is:

6  large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm

"Eggs should be at warm room temperature (or put them in bowl of warm water for a few minutes). Rinse mixer bowl in hot water and wipe dry. Beat eggs with sugar at high speed for about 10 minutes

or until thick, very pale yellow in colour, or batter falls in ribbons when beaters are lifted from bowl. Beat in Vanilla."

In a seperate bowl "sift flour with baking powder. Sift one-third of flour mixture over egg mixture"

This is what the ribbon stage looks like

 "using a rubber spatula, fold until uniformly blended. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Add butter; fold until thoroughly blended in."

I have done this and it works. I have also used the mixer on its lowest speed to mix in the flour and butter. I have found that this works a little better. As long as the mixer is on the lowest speed and you allow it to whisk only until the flour and then the butter is JUST mixed in - do not overmix! I find that this deflates the batter less than the folding does and it is faster and easier. Your choice. "Pour into prepared cake pans.

Bake in preheated 325 degree F (160 degrees C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Loosen edges; turn cakes out onto rack, remove paper and cool."

This cake can easily be made into a chocolate cake by replacing half of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder...also very good.

There are so many things you can do with this cake...one of our favourites is to replace the vanilla with orange juice and add the zest of one or two oranges (depending on size) Mixing the zest in by hand as it tends to stick to the mixer's whisk. When the cake is cooled, spread orange curd between layers and ice with a mixture combining half orange curd and half whipping cream...yum. Lemons can be used instead of the orange.

We love meringue buttercream and I often make it for birthdays, but, when I am pressed for time or dollars I usually resort to using whipped cream. It is easy, cheap and so good. Making a Chantilly Cream (cream whipped with vanilla and sugar) is the standard of course but I like to mix it up a bit. Maple syrup is a really good substitute for the vanilla and sugar as is a good quality jam.

Today I used strawberry...

In the summer I highly recommend making your own (it really is easy). But if you don't have your own use any really good quality store bought jam. I love Bonne Maman. It is imported from France (I know...millions of food miles...) but I have yet to find a more local brand that is as good.

While the cakes were still warm I spread a thin layer of jam between the layers.

When cool I whipped cream with a few spoonfuls of strawberry jam and iced the cake. The jam gives the cake a subtle strawberry flavour and the cream a delicate pink colour.

 cut, serve and yum!

Happy Monday!

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