Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The True Orange Genoise

Greetings everyone!
Being absent from this Heavenly community since Christmas has been difficult for me because it has become a part of my life that is truly enjoyable and special. Many of my friends have become immediately excited and intrigued with stories about what cakes we bake, who is Rose, and her new book "Rose's Heavenly Cakes," and then all sorts of interesting conversations evolve; new friends are made with new learning experiences that even lead them to read our blogs with great interest.

Most importantly, for me, our blog is filled with delicious learning experiences, laughter, never-ending supportive comments, wonderful stories, all centred around expertise of baking gorgeous, and even not-so-gorgeous, lol, cakes! For me this is a new adventure because, although I was fortunate to became good cook early and spent many serious years of study at that endeavor, my daughter was always the baker. So I am starting from scratch and am awed by the complexity of what I have undertaken. Now my daughter has begun to consult with the Rose's Baking Blog, and making friends there; who knows, she may join us here as a Heavenly Baker soon. That would make me happy, and herself I know.

All of these comments are to briefly say how much I have missed being here, and to explain in a few words: Among others, three life-changing events have taken place since my last posting in December, including my kitchen floor being ripped out because of the discovery of three layers of mold - and you can guess what evolved from that. After being besieged by the deadly flu that is making its way around, I fell and severely bruised my ribs. Lastly, two weeks ago I retired from my job as a psychotherapist, working with referrals from CPS and abused children.
Now I will be working only one half-day a week.
Finally, there is light at the end of the


Along with myself, my Heavenly Baking Crew is also
excited to be back:
You may observe above that
Summer, my granddaughter, and our researcher,
is fascinated while poring over my daughter's new
volume of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes," as she
contemplates our future cake-baking schedules.

Echo, the purist, our sous chef and confidant, reliably
echoes back
our recipes.

Spirit, always serene in the midst of the fray de la
cuisine, remains in the true spirit of things,
keeping order and balance.

And then there is 7-month-old baby 'Mercurious
Sublimatus' - aptly named. Curi, you will see as time
goes by, is the imp of our kitchen, and of our world -
indeed the true Sorcerer's Apprentice. We aren't
sure what part he plays on the team, except to create
hilarity, and to keep Spirit busy picking up spoons.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I finally become able to post this week's experience with my old nemesis, the little genoise! I always think of her as a flirty little jeune fille who tricks me at the slightest opportunity. I don't like to acknowledge that I help her along; yet once again today I did just that.
For this recipe, I had acquired, squeezed, and frozen the Seville orange juice while they were in season. We had Valrhona Noir chocolate and cream; Wondra flour, superfine sugar, eggs and unsalted butter, so I was set. I made simple syrup with Triple Sec first; dried orange slices that became a little odd looking after while; melted and strained the butter.
I made the curd and it was, is, delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough left for toast!
Hector says he warms the eggs and sugar on the Induction Stove. Sounds great.
So -- began the dance of the genoise.

I decided to use the Induction Stove to heat the eggs and sugar for the foam. Happily, I turned the machine on and it beeped at me, a good indication I thought. I begin to constantly insert the thermopen, and then my finger, as the eggs are whisked, and cold. I raised the temp to medium; by now eggs whisked to death, and cold. I can't find the booklet. OMG - this machine doesn't work unless a magnet sticks to the bottom of a metal pan. I discover the magnetic timer doesn't stick to the mixer bowl. Aha! I recall I bought an item that transfers the heat through without magnet-bottomed pan. I put it on the machine. Zap -instantly too hot, almost curdled them, but not quite. Temp okay 90 or less, I thought. Onto the KA, high for 5 mins. l then I reduced to medium for a few more minutes. Because I had made such a mess with the eggs initially, I threw in an extra egg yolk. I don't normally change any detail of Rose's, but I already feared I had made a huge mess, so . . .
Actually, after the yolk went in the volume rose again, white and silky. But: I did not scrape down the sides of the foam bowl. I placed a cup of foam and mixed it with the butter and vanilla. I sifted half the Wondra over the foam and folded in with the large balloon. I am seeing flour on sides of bowl. I am remembering Rose's bold-lettered caution about this. Folded the remaining flour, with balloon, forgetting to use large spatula. Lastly, in with the warm butter and foam mixture. Stuck fingers in through bottom, not believing I would know a ball of flour if my fingers came upon one. Although, I very well know how to recognize them when they are pearls showing on the bottom of my chocolate genoise!
The oven is at 350F and the cake baked for 25 mins, golden brown, toothpick clean. Took it out inverted, left parchment on [have learned not to take it off on genoise] and reinverted.
After cooling I syruped with a silicone brush that has four layers of bristles that sort of carry and drop the liquid as opposed to brushing. It is very nice. I wrapped the cake well and let it sit overnight. Maybe I should have put curd in at that time, but it was so foamy and wet that I felt it would fall apart if handled further at all. In the morning I put in the curd and wrapped again to cool well.
I made the ganache and frosted.

I don't think the cake survived its cold eggs being manhandled before heating. It didn't rise well, not to the top of the pan. But under the circumstances it could have been a lot worse! It wanted to, and did, list to one side. Come to think of it, it ended up being like knock-you-out 120-proof, syruped cornbread - but that's not all that bad with Seville orange curd, and dark chocolate.

I have received kudos for this cake, and I will definitely chance another encounter with this insouciant jeune fille genoise because I enjoy it's qualities. As genoise is known to do, after time in the fridge, the syruped layers married and mellowed the tangy Seville orange curd flavor with the sharp Triple Sec, creating delicious tasting cake, even if it didn't reach genoise proportions -
this time.

We now have a large choice of cakes ahead in playing catch-up to the Heavenly Bakers, so you will be hearing from us soon. We are very glad to be back.



  1. Glad to see you back, and what an ambitious cake to tackle for your return!

  2. Thanks. I was probably tipsy from the Triple Sec! At the present moment I am attempting to fix all the wrap-arounds in the text with little success. Tomorrow will make pineapple upside-down because the divine mould arrived.

  3. Welcome back!!! So glad you didn't forget about us!

    PS - the little one reading Rose's book is precious!