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Basic Genoise Cake

by Flo Braker

Double desserts for friends with a sweet tooth. That's a promise you can keep when you invited people for a festive dessert and champagne party. After all, almost everyone loves desserts -- so here's a chance to indulge.

However, the best news about this party is that the desserts are not expensive nor complicated. In fact, each dessert shares a secret: It uses one simple recipe, the génoise, which is an endlessly adaptable cake that can easily be transformed into different desserts.

For example, one dessert calls for baking the cake into a very thin and pliable
layer that can be filled and then rolled. Another dessert uses the batter to bake in a madeleine pan to make individual tea cakes.

So set the date-a Saturday evening from 8 to 11 o'clock is ideal. Then at party
time, pour yourself a tall glass of champagne and roll out the dessert cart.

Basic Génoise Cake
Makes 1 9-inch cake

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted cake flour

Position rack in lower third of oven; heat to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan; set aside.

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Pour into small mixing bowl; set
nearby. Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip egg mixture until it has tripled in volume, about 4 to 5 minutes.Fold flour into mixture, one third at a time, just until incorporated. Pour about 1 cup of batter into the melted butter, and fold just until combined. Return butter mixture to reserved batter, and again fold to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or
until top springs back slightly when lightly touched. Cool 10 minutes, then run a table knife blade around the outside edge of cake, freeing the sides and allowing air to get under the layer. Invert cake onto rack and allow to cool completely.

Ice Cream Roll
Serves 10

Basic Génoise Cake (recipe above)
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
1 pint dark chocolate ice cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Dark and white chocolate flakes

Line a 15 1/2- by 12- by 1/2-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; grease and flour
foil. With rack in lower third of oven, heat oven to 450° degrees.

Prepare génoise cake batter. To give the cake a coffee flavor, stir coffee powder
into the butter just after melting it. Fold the coffee butter into the batter, then spread it
evenly over pan; bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Using a knife blade, release cake sticking to
sides of pan. Cover cake with another baking sheet and invert. Remove original baking
sheet and peel off the foil carefully. Turn foil over so that the sticky side faces up. Allow
cake to cool on rack at least 30 minutes.

When cool, spread cake with 1 pint rich chocolate ice cream, softened. Beginning
at long side, roll up cake. Carefully slide cake onto baking sheet, seam side down. Whip
whipping cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Spread sweetened whipped cream over
cake to frost it. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze.

When ready to serve, remove from freezer, remove foil, sprinkle chocolate flakes
on cake top and transfer to serving plate. Serve with favorite chocolate sauce.

Pear Upside Down Cake

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ripe medium pears, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Basic Génoise Cake (recipe above)

Melt butter; add sugar and corn syrup. Spread over 9-inch baking pan. Toss pear
quarters in lemon juice and arrange them in the butter-sugar syrup with pointed ends to
the center. Prepare génoise batter and spread evenly over pear mixture. Bake in preheated
350° oven 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan 30 minutes and invert onto serving plate.

Chocolate Madeleines
Makes 2 dozen

Basic Génoise Cake (recipe above)
Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)

Grease and flour madeleine pan; prepare génoise batter and fill each shell-shaped
container halfway. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for about 12 minutes. Gently pry the
cakes out of molds and cool on wire racks. When madeleines are cool, brush chocolate
glaze with pastry brush to coat. Set aside until chocolate sets.

Chocolate Glaze: In a mixing bowl over hot tap water, melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2
ounces semisweet chocolate and 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate. Stir occasionally until


Flo Braker has been teaching baking techniques and her sweet miniatures across the country for twenty years and is the author of several cookbooks.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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