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The Genoise Sponge Cake


The sweet aroma of hot sponge cake, hot out of the oven is one of the clearest of my childhood memories.  I suppose, because of its simplicity and versatility, it was the cake that my mother mothers most frequently served at tea time. It was also the base for her delicious, yummy trifles and to be smothered with strawberries, raspberries or other seasonal fruit.  Ever since those bye gone times I have been addicted to vanilla and I can hardly pass a confectioners without the urge to buy anything with a vanilla custard filling. The  very mention of the word still makes my mouth water.

The Genoise Sponge Cake

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons clarified butter

Method
Butter the baking pan and lightly dust with flour the bottom of the pan only. Warm the unbroken eggs in warm water. Sift the flour. Preheat a 3- to 4- quart bowl with boiling water; dry it. Break the eggs into the bowl and place it on a protective pad over a stove burner on medium low heat; use a metal protector for an electric stove, asbestos or metal for a gas stove. Start beating the eggs immediately with the electric mixer. Add sugar little by little in a regular stream. Add the salt.
Within seconds the batter will swell considerably. Continue beating until a light ribbon forms and the mixture feels frankly "warm" to the finger; the eggs start poaching and the sugar forms a syrup, trapping the already dilating air in the foam. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the flavoring, and continue beating until cold; a twisting ribbon will fall from the beaters. Do not let the batter reach the soft-peak stage or the cake will look and taste cotton-like.
Return the already sifted flour to the sifter. Sift one third of its total volume on top of the egg foam. Fold the flour into it, using a large rubber spatula or your right hand with the fingers extended. Repeat the same operation with the other two thirds of the flour. Do not add the flour in more than three additions or the cake will be overfolded.
Gently pour half of the butter on top of the batter. Try to catch it with your spatula before it has time to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Fold only until the butter is incorporated; repeat with the remainder of the butter.
Holding the bowl very low over the prepared cake pan, pour the batter into it very slowly. Bake the cake on the lowest rack of a reheated 350F. degree oven. The air dilation and steam pressure will continue regularly and evenly. Test as you would any other cake. Do not let the cake shrink too much from the pan sides. Invert on a cake rack as soon as removed from the oven.
Baking time: 40 minutes

 

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