To celebrate my daughter's end of year exhibition at the Art College I made this small piece of baking art. Not that I am claiming that I excelled in making it, but rather I'm referring to the delicacy of the Génoise batter.
When you get it right, or are close enough, which I like to think to be this time round, you are rewarded with the moistest and the lightest bite of cake you could possibly imagine. Rose Levy Beranbaum called it "moist and gossamer corner stone of French baking" for a good reason.
I made a few minor changes to the original recipe, used fine brown sugar (this is where the darker appearance comes from, besides the fact that I left it in the oven just a bit longer) and granulated orange peel instead of Grand Marnier for the syrup.
When you plan to make it, make sure that it's done one day ahead and enjoy the the cake at its best.
The cake of course could be made in any shape and form, but I liked Rose's idea to bake a rose, (for my English rose, as we like to tease my daughter; so many roses in one place!!) .. back to baking..
50 gr clarified butter (beurre noisette if possible)
teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs
125 fine caster sugar
66 gr plain flour
60 gr cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F for a dark, 175 C/350 F if you are using a light coloured pan.
Coat the pan with soft butter and dust with flour.
For 50 gr clarified butter, heat 85 gr of unsalted butter in a small heavy-base saucepan on a very low heat setting. When the liquid on top is clear and white solids become visible on the bottom, remove it from the heat and immediately pour the butter through a fine strainer and leave to cool. For beurre noisette (which I opted for), keep cooking until the solids become a deep brown colour.
Combine the eggs and sugar very lightly and then set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk slowly until the mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Beat the mixture at high speed - it will increase 4 to 5 times in volume and be very airy, something like this:
Sift the flour and cornstarch together.
Take 1 cup of the egg mixture and mix it thoroughly into the clarified butter.
Sift half the flour/cornstarch mixture over the remaining beaten eggs and fold quickly until the flour integrates. Then, using the same technique, add the rest of the flour mixture. At the end, add the butter mixture making sure that you reach the bottom of the bowl and everything is well incorporated.
Pour into the prepared pan. If you are using 10 cup rose mould, as in the recipe, it should be more than half full.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Try not to open the door before it's almost done, or at least well settled, otherwise it will fall flat. It will rise in the centre more than on the sides, but will sink back a little bit when it is baked.
Unmold straight away and place on a wire rack coated with oil to rest. Cool completely and then brush with an orange syrup:
66 gr , 1/3 cup sugar
158 gr, 2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or orange juice
I used tablespoon of granulated orange peel
Stir together the sugar and water until all the sugar is moistened, bring it to boil, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. If the syrup has evaporated, add water to equal 1 cup. Now, instead of adding 3 tablespoons of orange liqueur or juice, I put granulated orange peel in a tea mash infuser and placed it in syrup. When both the cake and the syrup have completely cooled down, brush the entire top with syrup and cover with an oiled plastic wrap or a cake dome.