genoise

I’m really stoked on this genoise I make for the petits fours, like, incredibly so.

‘Real’ genoise has no chemical leavening- no baking powder or baking soda- instead, eggs are beatn till they’re whipped, so that air bubbles are trapped in the batter, making the cake rise and also making it light and airy.

I guessed on a way to do the same basic thing without eggs, and what’s that there? BAM. Fuckin air bubbles.

COCONUT LAYER CAKE AND CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Summer is here and we’ve got Father’s day, 4th of July, picnics and beach parties ahead of us. These little gems are practical and portable, with that said, there is nothing so precious as sweet layered desserts in a Mason jar. So here’s a" little sugah“ for you.

Happy Summer!

The Genoise: (sponge cake to most folks)

  • 1 ½ T Butter (melted)
  • 1 ½ T Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 t Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C. Cake Flour  (sifted) or AP (All Purpose) if you don’t have cake Flour
  • 4 Whole eggs
  • 2/3 c. Sugar

Making The Cake:

  1. Preheat  the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spray with vegetable oil and dust with flour.
  3. Melt butter and coconut oil together and add vanilla. Keep on the side.
  4. Sift flour.
  5. Bring a sauce pan of water to just under a boil.
  6. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a heatproof mixing bowl and place over the saucepan. Whisk just until the eggs are warmed and the sugar has melted. You can feel this by your fingers. The mixture should be slightly warm and perfectly smooth between them.
  7. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour and mix lightly. Fold in the remaining flour slowly, do not beat the cake batter.
  8. Fold the butter/coconut oil/vanilla mixture into the batter
  9. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth with a cake spatula.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes turning once in the middle.
  11. Let cool to room temperature.

The Frosting:

  • 4 ½ oz. White Chocolate just melted (not over 160 degrees)
  • 6 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 2 oz. Butter (softened)
  • ¼ c. Powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 t. Lemon Juice
  • ¼ c. ground Coconut
  1. In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, butter together.
  2. Add the lemon juice and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Pour in the melted white chocolate and continue to beat until smooth.
  4. Add ground coconut.
  5. Place in a piping bag with a large round tip or a Ziplock bag with a corner cut for piping.

The syrup:

  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Water
  1. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes and cool to room temperature.

The Assembly:

  1. Invert the cake on a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper.
  2. Cut the cake rounds out to fit with a cutter or a wine glass. Trim with scissors if needed. 
  3. Place a piece of cake in the bottom of the jar and drizzle with some syrup.
  4. Place a dollop of filling on top and repeat with cake and syrup until you are close to the top.
  5. Finish with frosting and top with toasted coconut.

Tie it up with a string, add a spoon and tuck them in a tote. This coconut cake will take you back to Charleston, even if you’ve never been there before.



Semifreddo

So I was catching up on Shokugeki no Soma the other day and one of the dishes that was made was a semifreddo. It was made both my Aldini and stalker dude, but I opted to make Aldini’s because it’s a little simpler and this is already a difficult recipe. Here is what it looked like in the show. 

It’s a 4 layer dessert that starts with a pate a genoise on the bottom (a sort of sponge like cake), followed by a thin layer of lemon curd, then the semifreddo itself, an almond praline on top, and then the dish is dressed with a limoncello syrup. 

This is one of the harder dishes I’ve attempted from the show. Overall I think mine turned out well, but there were areas that needed improvement. It would be a gigantic wall of text to write out a lot about each layer, so I’ll just go through what caught my attention with each layer. 

The pate a genoise requires you to beat the eggs and sugar together over a double boiler and then whip that to double the original volume while it’s cooling and then very gently fold in the flour. This gives it a really luxurious fluffy texture. Unfortunately I mostly collapsed the mixture when I folded in the flour. So mine was pretty squat and dense. It tasted alright, but the texture was not great. 

The lemon curd is the next layer, and one of the simpler parts of the recipe. You just take all the ingredients and throw them in a saucepan and whisk it together as you heat it up. The tricky part about it is that the curd goes from really thing to oh no the eggs are about to scramble really fast. I had to very quickly put mine into an emergency ice bath to stop it from cooking further. I’d recommend making a lemon curd at some point. It’s fairly straightforward and is a great spread to put on anything. I’ve been enjoying the leftover curd on waffles. 

The next layer is the Semifreddo. Much like the pate a genoise it requires you to heat a mixture over a double boiler and then whip it to double the volume. If you’re not familiar with cooking over a double boiler it would be real easy to scramble the 7 egg yolks in the mixture. The recipe I used called for bringing it up to 170′F and then taking it off and whipping it as it cooled down. The MVPs here were the instant read thermometer and the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. But a bit more about the eggs. So egg yolks start to set around 160′F and you have to bring the mixture up to 170′F. This means that if you stop whisking it and let it sit for a bit it will start to basically scramble. This is bad. You can’t make a frozen custard out of scrambled eggs. But if you’re diligent with whisking and taking the temperature pretty regularly it’s not a huge problem. Once you’ve cooled it down and beat it, you fold in whipped cream and then pour it into a mold and let it freeze. It was topped with chopped roasted almonds.

The praline is very straightforward. I have a really hard time with candy, so I was a bit nervous about this part of the dessert. The recipe I followed called for gently melting a cup of sugar in a saucepan until it turned a pale golden, and then letting it sit and darken to a deep golden and then you stir in the nuts and then pour it out on a tray. I’m pretty sure the deep golden that was referenced is hard crack (~300′F) but I’m not sure exactly. Overall it turned out more like a brittle than a praline, but that’s ok. It was better than I expected. The texture was pretty hard though, and blitzing it in the food processor would have made plating and eating the dessert a lot easier. (yes the wooded fork became one with the candy)

The last part of the dish is the limoncello syrup. I didn’t take any pictures of this step so I’ll talk a bit about limoncello. It is a liquor that is typically produced in southern italy and has a very strong lemon flavor as you might have expected. It varies greatly in sweetness but typically has some amount of sugar in it. I looked up how to make it by scratch and it’s pretty simple. You take a denatured spirit (everclear is a good example) and steep lemon peels in it (with the white part removed from the inside. That’s really bitter and would not give you the desired taste) for 100-140 days. It’s very simple to do, but it’s a long time to wait. I think I’ll make some sometime, but that’s not on the radar just yet. So to make the syrup I just reduced some limoncello with a little bit of lemon juice and sugar to make a simple syrup. 

So it’s time to put the creation together! The semifreddo melted much faster than I was expecting which made this kind of hard to plate. But here you go!

It was starting to fall over and melt pretty quickly so this is the best picture I managed to get. Overall I was really happy with the dish. The lemon curd turned out excellent, the semifreddo had a wonderful lemon flavor and really light fluffy texture (due to it being made of things that got whipped a bunch, lots of air in the mixture). The praline was too hard and when you tried to put a spoon through it, it squashed the whole cake down. Had I blitzed it in the food processor and just poured crumbles over the top it would have been a lot easier to eat. It still tasted good. As I mentioned before the cake was a little too dense and sort of overpowered the rest of the dish. But If you got a small bite of cake with a larger bite of the other things it was super tasty. 

It was a lot of work to make this dish and I wouldn’t recommend it for people not confident in their cooking abilities. Each part of the dish can go catastrophically wrong really fast, from double boiler disasters, to your candy turning into glass. But if you’re confident in your abilities then it’s a fun dessert to make for a special occasion. If you happen to have liquid nitrogen, dunking the semifreddo in it before plating would help solve the melting problem, but I’m going to assume very few people have access to liquid nitrogen for home cooking. I aspire to get some, but I don’t have it yet. 

pink eldritch abominations!!!

a) over-mixed the genoise batter, cake was chewy

b) used cream of tartar instead of corn syrup in the fondant. blech. crumbly

c) heated fondant too high and pulled it off boil too soon. became a blobby useless mess

d) omG PEPTO BISMOL PINK NOOO

e) buttercream filling melted the second i poured over the hot fondant. oops

f) ….they actually taste okay, but somewhere paul hollywood is crying and isn’t sure why

(i mean, at least i know what i did wrong on each part hahahaha)

MISC HEADCANON DUMP

  • ever since 2009, jill’s veins have been more visible under her skin than is normal. if you stare long enough you might notice a faint blue tint. 
  • she frequently wanders her own apartment half naked. casual clothes include pyjama pants or shorts, and that’s about it.
  • jill is a food network enthusiast. it’s how she deals with cravings for sweet foods she doesn’t really let herself eat, and where she picks up amazing recipes for healthy af stuff (though she usually uses them like theme bases and tweaks them at her leisure). 
  • milky coffee is the devil, but she’ll concede black coffee isn’t the most tasty thing. she still loves it though. 
  • genoise sponge is her greatest weakness, and she’s never yet been able to make it herself. 
  • jill has never forgotten how to lock pick, but in the absence of a reason to need to use the skill, she’s had to find ways to practice. including, but not limited to regularly buying new style locks as they come in at the local hardware store. she’s considered a regular, but no-one has yet had the gumption to ask the frowny muscular blonde woman why she buys so many locks. 
  • jill doesn’t own straighteners, and has never styled her hair. it gets blow dried and sits how it sits. she rarely wears it down, and maintains her fringe by herself. 
  • she hates wearing skirts. a floor length dress, though? for the right reason? she could get behind that. she’s just never had a reason. 
  • …nor trust that everything wouldn’t go wrong. formal wear almost always consists of a fitted pantsuit and flat boots, just in case things go awry and she needs the flexibility. 
  • she loves running in the rain. bongo does too. 
2

Now if only I was a coffee person: The MOKA

Or otherwise known in English as the Mocha. Which sounds less exciting. Perhaps because it’s not in caps lock. In any case, each layer of this traditional French genoise sponge cake is moistened with coffee syrup, filled with coffee-flavoured buttercream and then topped off with even more coffee-flavoured buttercream. There’s enough coffee in that to satisfy your morning coffee addiction and your sweet tooth simultaneously. 

6

Genoise. 

A genoise sponge is a really good basic sponge to master. I decided to use genoise for the tiramisu because of the slight dry texture genoise has- it makes it perfect for absorbing the coffee syrup to give it that traditional moist structure. 

First, crack 3 eggs into a bowl and add 50g sugar. I added one vanilla pod into this, but this is optional. Place the bowl over a simmering pan of water- a bain marie. I whisked by hand until the sugar was dissolved, and then transferred it into my mixer. Whisk on full speed until light, as shown in third photo. Sieve 60g plain flour and gently fold in until fully incorporated. 

I lined a 33cm x 23cm brownie tin with parchment paper and used this to make one sheet. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 for 10-12 minutes until golden.