The texture of a classic Genoese sponge light yet pleasantly firm lends itself to many uses. It’s lovely cut into layers and sandwiched together with Buttercream and soft-set jam; or topped with whipped cream and a pile of fresh berries; or lightly drizzled with a fruit or liqueur syrup, dusted with icing sugar and served with a fresh fruit compote. It’s also perfect for a traditional trifle.
- Yield: 12 to 14 Servings
- 125 g plain flour
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 125 g caster sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 23 cm round or 20 cm square tin, or 2 x 20 cm deep sandwich tins, sides lightly greased and lightly dusted with flour, and base-lined with baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Sift together the flour and salt twice and set aside. Have ready a large saucepan half full of simmering water, over which a heatproof mixing bowl will fit without touching the water.
- Put the eggs and sugar in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan of simmering water. Using a hand-held electric whisk, beat at top speed for about 8 minutes until the mixture has at least tripled in size, is very pale and thick it should hold a ‘ribbon’ on the surface when the whisk is lifted. Remove the bowl from the heat. (Or use a free standing electric mixer; it will take about 5 minutes at its highest speed.)
- Sift half the sifted flour over the mixture and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in. Repeat with the remaining flour. Dribble the melted butter over the surface a little at a time and then carefully but quickly fold it into the mixture, to minimise the loss of volume.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin(s) and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, firm and springs back into shape when lightly pressed. If you are using sandwich tins, the baking time will be barely 25 minutes. Leave in the tin(s) for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- When cold, the cake (s) will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin, or they can frozen for up to 6 weeks, Once filled, a Genoese sponge is best eaten on the day.