Third Time’s The CharmPosted: May 29, 2010
I feel a little bit like a snobby little bitch saying this but I rarely encounter absolute dismal failures in the kitchen. They may not be perfect-excuse-me-while-I-tell-the-universe-about-this! but it’s never been inedible or far off from what they’re meant to be. Even with macarons!
But there’s one thing that I tried making that was totally, totally horrible. HORRIBLE.
A sponge cake.
The recipe required the gentle whisking of eggs in a double boiler before combining them with the other ingredients. It was a recipe from the Baking & Pastry book by The Culinary Institute of America so you know, I was like, “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST SPONGE CAKE IN THE WORLD!”
The thing about that book is all the recipes are meant to make an insane amount of cakes. I think the recipe I used was meant to give me six sponge cakes, so obviously I had to size it down. I’m still uncertain if it failed because I suck or because you’re not meant to size it down but it was a FLAT sponge cake and totally hard. Seriously.
It was so disappointing. I made it twice and both times were disastrous. The worst thing was it was meant to be part of my brother’s birthday cake. I had made him a Black Forest Gateaux because he loves them.
It looks okay, huh? Totally deceiving.
It was actually really yummy apart from the stupid cakes. The cake was filled and iced with dairy-free whipped cream (one of my favourite things!). It’s more like a take on the Black Forest Gateaux because there was no kirsch, but I do think I replaced it with another liquor.. It’s all fuzzy now. I blocked it out of my memory because it was such a mess. The cake would NOT stay stacked, in fact, it slid apart in the fridge and I had to insert dowels to support the cake, and some of the cherries were popping out of the sides of the cake and obviously, I didn’t know how to decorate a cake that would look acceptable for a man. I mean, look at that! Laughable!
It was a NIGHTMARE.
So when I found a whole section of Genoise in the Rose Levy Beranbaum book The Cake Bible, I was willing to squelch my paranoia and fear for the possibility of a triumphant cake.
The reason I picked this recipe was Rose’s description of the cake. “This cake has the light texture of a genoise but is more velvety and moist.” What? Velvety and moist genoise? SOLD!
I’ll admit it was a little terrifying to whip up because it was rather simple. I kept thinking, “Surely it can’t be this easy?” The cake’s ingredients were really interesting too. It required bittersweet chocolate mixed with boiling water. There was absolutely no butter or flour. Just eggs and sugar.
And there was a little warning at the end, “Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum time or the cake could fall.” I was afraid I’d peep into the oven and discover another flat cake.
But thankfully the cake turned out all right.
Better than all right, actually. I was surprised to be staring at this perfect, fluffy genoise. Then I sliced into it and ate some.
It was seriously freakingamazingohmygod good! Because there was no cocoa powder in this, and instead just a really good amount of dark chocolate, the chocolatey taste of this was intense! I used Lindt Excellence 75% cocoa chocolate bars, and it was like eating chocolate, just in a fluffy and light cake form. It had a very mild sweetness as it’s meant to be a base for a Black Forest Gateaux or any other form of ganache. I left it plain, though.
It was a good thing because the next day, I crumbled it into my cereal and Weet Bix breakfast and it was the perfect chocolatey kickstart to my morning. Then I dunked it into my tea and slurped all the crumbs off the bottom of my mug. Mmm.
Sometimes a plain genoise has its benefits.