Genoise sponge (also called Genoese or Genovese cake) is a classic European sponge cake that's incredibly fluffy and light-as-air! Slice into layers and add any filling of your choice to create a delicious layer cake!
Genoise sponge is a soft and fluffy cake that's made with just six simple ingredients. It is typically served sliced and filled with fresh fruit, jam, and whipped cream.
What is Genoise?
Genoise is a soft and fluffy sponge cake named after the Italian city of Genoa. It's also called Genoese cake or Genovese cake. It's made with eggs, sugar, flour, and butter. There's no baking powder or baking soda to leaven the cake. Instead, whipped eggs are used to achieve volume in the batter, resulting in a light and fluffy cake.
Genoise Sponge Ingredients
Step by Step Photos
- Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a heat-proof bowl. Then place that bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water. This is called a bain-marie and is used to create more volume when whipping whole eggs and assist in dissolving the sugar.
- Using an electric hand mixer, mix on high until it becomes light and fluffy. The color should start to change from deep yellow to pale yellow.
- Once the volume triples, check for the final ribbon stage.
- Lift the whisk to check if the egg mixture flows down like ribbons. It should be thick, fluffy, and very pale yellow. You should be able to make a pattern with the batter that remains visible for at least 3 seconds. Do not rush this step. It took me 8 to 10 minutes.
- Sift in the cake flour in three parts, gently folding after each step.
- Do not over-mix. Stop when it's just combined.
- Before adding the butter, mix about 3 heaping spoonfuls of the batter to help incorporate it better. The butter and batter should still be warm.
- Gently pour the butter mixture into the batter.
- Fold the melted butter into the batter very carefully. It's very easy to deflate the batter at this point.
- Pour the batter into a lined parchment pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the genoise sponge from the pan and remove all the parchment paper. Cool the cake completely before slicing it into even layers.
You're now ready to fill and top your genoise with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. Jam, compotes, or preserves are also great options. Enjoy!
Genoise Sponge Tips
More cake recipes:
Soft and Fluffy Genoise Sponge
- 1 cup cake flour
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs - room temperature
- 1 ¾ tablespoon butter - melted
- ⅓ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with parchment paper.
- Whip Eggs: In a large heat-proof bowl, add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Place the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with hot water (bain-marie). Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs on high speed until soft, fluffy, and pale yellow ribbons form, about 8 to 10 minutes. Replace the hot water halfway through as it cools down. See Note 1.⅔ cup sugar, 4 eggs, ⅓ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Remove air bubbles: Reduce to the lowest speed and mix for 3 minutes to pop large air bubbles.
- Add Flour: Sift in the flour in three parts, gently folding after each time.1 cup cake flour
- Add Butter: To help incorporate the butter, mix 3 heaping spoonfuls of the batter into the warmed, melted butter. Next, gently fold the butter mixture into the batter. See Note 2.1 ¾ tablespoon butter
- Bake: Pour the batter into your cake pan and bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For one 9-inch round pan, about 25 minutes. For two 6-inch round pans, about 18 minutes.
- Cool and slice: Remove all parchment paper and allow it to cool completely on a cooling rack. Slice into even layers using a leveler and top with fresh fruit and fill with cream. Enjoy! See Note 3 for the sugar syrup option.
✎ Recipe Notes
- Whipping eggs: It is essential the egg mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved for this step, thus requiring a bain-marie. Replace with more hot water as the water cools. See step-by-step photos in the post for the proper ribbon stage. If you're looking for a sponge cake that doesn't require a bain-marie, try my Easy Sponge Cake recipe.
- When adding butter, it's very easy to deflate the batter. Make sure the melted butter and batter are still warm. Cold temperatures will solidify the butter and deflate the batter. Fold very gently at this stage until just combined.
- Sugar syrup: Genoise sponge has a tendency to dry out quickly. I highly recommend brushing on a sugar syrup to add moistness. Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with ⅓ cup of hot water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat each layer.
- Storage: If decorated and filled, cover and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Plain undecorated genoise sponge should be wrapped and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months for the best results. Thaw overnight before decorating.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.