Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres

Chocolate Genoise

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Yield: 2 baking sheets or 2 (8-inch) cakes



  1. Place a 1-quart saucepan half filled with water over high heat and bring it to a simmer. Make a double boiler by setting a large mixing bowl over the simmering water. Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and honey in the mixing bowl and make an egg foam by whisking the mixture to 113 degrees F (45 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, about 7 to 10 minutes. The egg foam passes through various stages becoming foamy, then smooth and finally it thickens. When it is thick, it will be hot to the touch, tripled in volume, and light in color and the sugar will have completely dissolved. If you dip the whisk into the mixture and pull it out, the batter should fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon.
  2. Remove the mixing bowl from the heat and whip the batter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it cools, increases in volume, stiffens slightly and becomes pale yellow, about 7 to 10 minutes. Take the time to whip it well; if the mixture is underwhipped, the baked genoise will be dense. Very, very carefully, fold in the flour with a rubber spatula until the flour is no longer visible, making sure to fold to the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix or the batter will deflate.
  3. I bake the genoise on a baking sheet 99 percent of the time because then I can cut it to any size I want. Spread the batter over a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven until lightly and evenly browned and springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. If using cake pans, fill buttered and parchment paper-lined 8-inch round cake pans three quarters full. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until well-risen and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Genoise is baked at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time on a baking sheet than when baked in a cake pan to allow it to retain moisture; if overbaked, it will be dry and crunchy.
  4. Let the genoise cool slightly. Unmold and finish cooling on a wire rack to allow the air to circulate evenly around the cake. The baked genoise can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 weeks if well wrapped in plastic wrap. Return it to room temperature before using it.
  5. VARIATION: You can easily make this recipe into a Chocolate Genoise by substituting unsweetened cocoa powder for 10 to 20 percent of the weight (a scant 1/4 cup to a full 1/3 cup/0.8 to 1.6 ounces/25 to 50 grams) of the flour. Weigh the cocoa powder before you sift it.
  6. SIDEBAR: Genoise can be made with butter. In this recipe, you can substitute butter (5 1/2 tablespoons, 2.7 ounces or 75 grams) for the 3 large egg yolks. Melt and cool the butter and fold it in after the flour is added.