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light sponge cake


Génoise is a sponge cake and basis for numerous desserts and pastries: made with whole eggs (not separated, as in classic sponge) and sugar whisked over heat, then combined with butter and flour.

Other ingredients (crystallized fruits, liqueurs, zests etc) can be added. It is easy to split a baked génoise into two or three layers, then fill them with cream etc. Often recipes call for it, to soak up kirsch or other alcohol in a sirop d’imbibage.

As the name suggests, it was an Italian invention, originally known as Pâte Génoise or pan genovese. In the mid 1700s, a famous Genoese cook, Giobatta Cabona, was invited by the Genoese ambassador, the Marquis Domenico Pallavicino, to prepare a banquet for the Spanish court of Ferdinand VI in Madrid. For the occasion he created a superb, light and airy cake, which he called pan di spagna in Italian to flatter the court.

In Spain, however, they call it bizcocho.


Text © Dana Facaros

Image by kpst