Ever since I became a baking enthusiast, every single birthday at home has been celebrated around a homemade cake. Baked, assembled and frosted by myself, they often require days of planning and preparation. It was after much deliberation that I decided upon the classic génoise aux fruits for my brother’s special day. His request was a light, moist cake that would not be overly sweet or buttery and he says that I got it right!

This famous sponge cake is a basic in french pâtisserie and goes in the making of several desserts. Though you may shy away from the idea of whipping eggs to a ribbon over a pan of hot water or seeing your batter deflate as you ever so carefully fold in the flour, I would encourage you to keep trying. The technique of making the light, airy génoise came to me only after several failures but I’m happy to say that I finally mastered the triple tried-and-tested from Australian Women’s Weekly. Yup, the old adage is true – practice makes perfect!

GENOISE AUX FRUITS

Ingredients:

For the Sponge

4 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

2/3 cup all purpose flour

60 g butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Syrup

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla pod

For the Vanilla Cream

500ml whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

250 g peaches, sliced

200 g raspberries

100 g blackberries

1 kiwi fruit, sliced

100 g almond flakes

50 g chocolate curls

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 oC. Grease a 20 cm round pan and line the base with parchment paper.
  • Combine eggs and sugar in large heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water.

  • Do not allow water to touch base of bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes.
  • The mixture will turn thick and creamy. Remove bowl from saucepan.

  • Beat mixture until it reaches room temperature. Sift half of the flour over egg mixture.
  • Carefully fold in flour. Sift the remaining half into bowl and fold into mixture.

  • Working quickly, fold in melted butter. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Turn immediately, top side up, onto parchment covered wire rack.

  • If you are making a layered cake, make a second sponge using the above recipe.
  • For the syrup, bring water and sugar to the boil for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla pod.

  • Cool the syrup to room temperature. Spread over the sponge to moisten it evenly.
  • Beat cream, icing sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

  • Spread one sponge with a generous layer of cream and top with some peach slices.
  • Carefully balance the second sponge on top of the cream layer and spread with more cream.

  • Decorate with fruit, almond flakes, chocolate curls and remaining cream.
  • Keep covered and refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8-10 pieces.

Happy Birthday Bro!

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