Basic French Sponge Cake (Genoise)


by: Baker Guy

This is a purist’s cake because it contains no leavening-it's lightened with air alone-and has a delicate egg flavor and a light texture that make it seem to fall apart in the mouth. To make this classic French sponge cake, you need to beat whole eggs with sugar until they become very pale and are tripled or quadrupled in volume. Because eggs whip up more quickly when they are not ice cold, warm them in a bowl of warm water before cracking them, or use a hand whisk to beat them with the sugar in a bowl placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water until they feel warm to the back of a finger. Beat the egg-sugar mixture until you can lift the whisk and move it back and forth through the batter and the ribbon holds its shape for at least 5 seconds. If you overbeat the eggs, the cake may be dry or, worse, it may fall in the oven. If the eggs are not beaten sufficiently the cake will be heavy. Because genoise is often somewhat dry many bakers-especially French ones-brush each layer generously with flavored simple syrup, making the cake very moist, even wet. The syrup can be flavored with coffee, vanilla, liqueurs such as Grand Marnier, fruit brandies such as kirsch, whiskey Cognac, or rum. This recipe makes 1 layer, which is easily sliced cross-wise into 2 layers; with practice it can be sliced into as many as 4. The cake can be used for any round layer cake. It can be filled with mousseline, buttercream, classic chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, fruit Bavarian, stabilized whipped cream, or whipped ganache. It can be glazed or frosted with these same fillings and/or it can be covered with marzipan or rolled fondant.


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serves: 1

butter (for the cake pan)

flour (for the cake pan)

3 eggs

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

3 tablespoons butter (melted) (optional)

Nutrition Facts
Basic French Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Servings Per Recipe: 1

Amount per Serving

Calories: 983

  • Total Fat: 52 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 28.8 g
  •     Trans Fat: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 594 mg
  • Sodium: 531.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 106.3 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
  •     Sugars: 51 g
  • Protein: 22.8 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, or line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

2.  Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Unless the egg mixture already feels warm, put the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk until warm and frothy.

3.  Beat on high speed with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 4 minutes, with a handheld mixer for 20 minutes, or by hand using a bowl and balloon whisk for 12 minutes, or until the ribbon stage: when the beater is lifted, the mixture falls in a wide band onto the surface, forming a figure eight that stays for 5 seconds before dissolving.

4.  Carefully transfer the egg mixture to a large bowl. Fold in the flour by sifting it over the beaten eggs and folding with a rubber spatula.

5.  In a smaller bowl, fold together the melted butter and about one-fifth of the egg mixture. Fold the butter-egg mixture into the egg mixture in the larger bowl.

6.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and gently smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Let cool for 5 minutes in the cake pan and then turn out onto a cake rack.

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