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Génoise [je-nwäz], Genoese or Genovese cake, is one of several types of sponge cake, which was invented in the early 19th century, in the Italian city of Genoa. At that time, Genoa was a busy trading port, it served as one of several crossroads for importing and exporting foods from Arab countries throughout Europe. Some ingredients were abundant, like raisins, currants, spices, and almonds encouraging cooks to make several types of sponge cakes.

Instead of using chemical leavening, the air is suspended in the Génoise batter during mixing over hot water (bain-marie) to provide volume. It serves as a basis for several French cake recipes (gâteaux) like Framboisier, Fraisier, Moka, or even La Forêt Noire (The Black Forest Cake).

How To Make Génoise Cake?

This recipe is for a vanilla-flavored Génoise cake (Genoese cake) which you can cut in half, fill with jam, and buttercream, or decorate with sugar paste or marzipan. If you want a simple tea cake, use the half of proportions, and simply sprinkle it with powdered sugar. You can also distribute the batter between two round molds, and make a Victoria Sandwich Cake.


  • 8 eggs
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g clarified butter (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

The Method Of Génoise Cake (Genoese Cake)

  1. To Make a Génoise cake (Genoese Cake), start by preheating the oven to 180° C (356° F). Butter and flour an 8 or 10-inch (25 cm) Genoise cake mold, or use parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat the preparation, quickly over a “bain-marie”, until the preparation reaches 40°.
  3. Finish beating, until the preparation cooled down, then pour the butter, if any use.
  4. Add the sifted flour and vanilla, and stir quickly, in rotation motions.
  5. Pour the mixture, into the prepared pan, fill until 3/4, and bake for about 30 minutes, at 180° C (356° F) oven, or until the Génoise cake is golden. You can check, using a knife.
  6. Remove from the mold, and leave to cool down over a rack. Cut in half, and fill with buttercream, Chantilly cream, or jam. Decorate as you wish, with fresh fruits or sugar paste.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Chocolate Genoise: Replace 30 grams of flour with unsweetened cocoa powder. Always use the best quality for a better taste.
  • Lemon/orange Genoise: Whisk at the same time eggs, sugar, and 1 tsp lemon or orange zest.
  • Coffee Genoise: Add 1 tsp instant coffee to the flour.

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