Continuing on the theme of cakes, mixing and aeration methods, this week we turned our hands at the genoise sponge. Although in home cooking, most cakes are classified as some type of sponge, this is not the case for pâtissiers. The genoise is a super light and is described as a sponge due to its resemblance to the natural under-the-sea type sponge when cooked. There are a few easy mistakes to be made when making this cake. Firstly the aeration of the eggs (by hand of course) is done at 40˚C over a bain-marie. This means keeping a close eye on the temperature because if it sneaks up those pesky egg proteins begin to coagulate. The second chance for error is folding in the flour. A light touch is definitely required to achieve the desired effect of coating the air pockets in flour rather than bursting them altogether. In demo, once chef had her perfect sponge in the oven she showed us how to make a true buttercream to coat it and a fresh jam filling. All of this was then put together in a classic Victoria sponge sandwich style and rolled into a roulade as an added class bonus.
Before turning to demo, I want to take a brief interlude to tell you how well I have been fed this week - so very well. The two main events of feeding both happened on Thursday, firstly with a beautiful homecooked Finnish lunch cooked up by the lovely Henrika - a girl from class - and secondly by the Superior chefs in school who put on a great evening to show off their now honed skills, which probably deserves a post of its own. Anyway, inbetween demo and practical this week we truly feasted and rolled up to class with a full set of food babies.
Anyway, stuffed as we were, we had a cake to bake! This is the last of our potential exam pieces and is a real tricky one. Again the masking of the cake is a tricky one as the more attempt you have to get a smooth finish the more likely the butercream is to become overworked. There is then the great risk of ruining your cake at the last hurdle with the dreaded chocolate piping. Although mine was a bit smoother this week, my design ended up being somewhat smaller and lopsided than it was in my head.