November 22, 2010

Pretty (tasty) things: Genoise

I love making cakes. I think that I might enjoy baking them more than I do eating them. They just look so darn pretty.
The one I made yesterday was a genoise, a French cake containing no leavening agents other than eggs. They're usually a bit dry, which is typical of French cakes, as they're often soaked in syrups and liqueurs. I chose to slather mine in a Kirsch-spiked sugar syrup, followed by a thick layer of fruit jam. Next was a layer of Italian meringue buttercream, and on top was a nice selection of fresh fruit, namely figs, raspberries, blueberries, and candied kumquats.

The cake recipe was from the iconic book, Baking with Julia, whilst the buttercream was adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe. My only change to it was the addition of almond extract. (If you have any problems with the buttercream, take a peek at this guide which helped me work through a curdled-looking, too-cold frosting.) The jam was my own creation–a dolled up version of the raspberry preserve found in my fridge, combined with lemon juice, a splash of blackberry dessert wine, and a few blueberries.

The buttercream is beautifully stable, and effortlessly supports the top cake layer (practically an optical illusion, as the cream looks so light and delicate). And the candied kumquats!–perhaps my favorite part–were simple to make. Cut them in half and boil them in a mixture consisting of one part water and one part sugar, for 5-10 minutes and strain.

The results were especially satisfying, in terms of both aesthetics and taste.


  1. I legitimately want to frame that picture.

  2. Thanks! Tasted great... Eating the leftovers now...

  3. Geez, you're in the habit of making some pretty awesome food, aren't you? This looks, well, decadent and delicious, to say the very least.

  4. In a word? Fabulous.

    Thanks for the stunning shot and delicious sounding recipe! I'll be making this soon :)

  5. Your photo looks like a beautiful still-life painting. Gorgeous!

  6. So darn pretty. Candied kumquats sound really good. I love cakes like this that aren't completely smothered with icing or cream on all sides- so that you can have more than one slice ;)