the wedding cake: genoese sponge

The wedding is on Sunday. It’s Friday night and I’m wondering how I’m going to get to Sunday and actually produce a magnificent, professional looking cake. Yes, I made a test cake. A little test cake. But I haven’t practiced making the whole thing, getting the quantities right – and above all icing it perfectly and getting the two tiers to stand upright, one on top of each other. Well the top one kind of ‘floating’ above the bottom one on pillars with a layer of avalanche roses and blue irises sandwiched between the tiers.

And I’m a day behind baking schedule. My plan was to make all the genoese sponge layers last night so that tonight I could make the praline, toast the pistachios and pipe perfect miniature meringues. But last night I only managed to make one of the three sponge layers, so tonight was spent whipping eggs and sugar to finished the other two layers.

Because the wedding is still a few days away, and the cake needs to be as fresh as possible – I’ve made the sponges in advanced, wrapped them in clingfilm and frozen them to keep them super fresh. Genoese sponge freezes really well as a rule, so this should save me time and stress the day before the wedding.

The most common use for genoese sponge is to make roulades or swiss roles. This recipe can be used as stated to make one these – look out for ‘Notes’ below.

30 g butter, melted and cooled to tepid
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g caster sugar
125g flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for fan oven). Lightly grease a large rectangular baking sheet (roughly 30cm x 27cm) with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment. Grease the baking parchment and lightly dust with flour. Refrigerate or set aside in a cool place.

Note: If you are using this recipe to make a roulade use a baking sheet 30cm x 40cm.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool while you make the sponge.

Put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer on high until the mixture turns pale and leaves a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk. This should take about 12 minutes.

Sift in the flour and delicately fold it into the mixture with a spatula. Add the melted butter and fold in gently, being careful not to over work the mixture. Using a palette knife spread the mixture onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden – when pressed with a fingertip the sponge should have a slight resistance and should emit a hissing sound. Once done, remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the baking parchment and allow to cool completely.

Note: If you are using this recipe to make a roulade cover the sponge with a tea towel before inverting it onto the wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and allow to cool for 5 minutes only. Fill the roulade as soon as it has just cooled and use the tea towel to help you roll the sponge from the long side to form a neat roll.

I then wrapped the sponges individually in cling film, covering them in quite a few layers of film before placing them in the freezer.

I sip the last of my cold tea and exhale slowly. Tomorrow’s tasks whirl round in my head. Toast hazel nuts. Make caramel. Blend praline. Toast pistachios. Pipe tiny meringues. Bake cheesecake layer. Make pistachio mousse. Assemble layers… sponge, pistachio cheesecake, praline, meringue, sponge, cherries, pistachio mousse… and into the fridge. And then the big question of whether to ice the cake on Saturday night or Sunday morning before the afternoon wedding. The last sip of tea and I block out all thoughts of how I’m going to get the iced bake tiers from my tiny kitchen to the reception venue in one piece.


About thewishfulhousewife

I am a thirty-something professional living and working in London. As a child I envisioned my life sprawl starting with half a decade of intense work and a glittering career, firmly followed by marriage, children and a life as a blissful housewife, passionate cook and writer. Now in my thirties I wonder how my plan fell apart? And so now my days are spent staring deligently at an office computer whilst my mind runs rampant inventing new recipes, dreaming of a way to become a trendy housewife in an age where it's no longer fashionable - as I long to lose the nine-to-five. View all posts by thewishfulhousewife

3 responses to “the wedding cake: genoese sponge

  • Florian

    This is like reality TV. Will she make it in time? Will the decorations stay intact? Apparently you still have enough time and head to live blog, so I say, you shall be fine!

  • Louise Heckl

    I feel privileged to be able to share the making of the next wedding cake sitting so far away in the Karoo in South Africa from your kitchen in London. It seems to be a seriously complicated one! Your mom xxxxx !

  • Meika

    You can do it G… I can’t wait to see the finished product.
    Good luck.


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