Summer Company Dessert: Genoise Cake

We had company for four days, and I just wanted to have something available for dessert that was not too high in added sugars, yet looked pretty without any fuss. Plus, we were going to be in the heat dome all week, so I wanted something cool. I decided on a nice genoise cake made in a jelly roll pan—lots of servings, small or large—fresh fruit, and many cans of whipped cream ready to adorn it all. To some of the fruit, I added powdered sugar to make a syrup, but there was also a lot of unadorned fresh fruit. I picked what looked good at the market—strawberries, blueberries and black plums. Instead of making my own whipped cream, it seemed more fun to have the canned variety that keeps well and is always ready to go.

What would you do with this cake?

The cake can be cut in squares, of course, but I tore it into bite sized pieces so that more of the cake was exposed to the fruit and cream.

The simple cake starts with 6 eggs and 1 cup of sugar, whisked over simmering water just until the mixer bowl feels warm. Then the bowl goes back on the mixer to be whipped until pale and fluffy, as here:

You know the cake is going to be light and tender with a fluffy base like that.

Genoise Cake

  • Servings: 1 sheet cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s Yellow Genoise Cake. The only difference is that I used salted butter, and in the future, I would add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the batter. Unsalted desserts taste flat to me, no matter how hard I try to like them.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment paper
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for parchment paper
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 12-by-18-inch jelly-roll pan, line with parchment paper, butter and flour the paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. Whisk sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer over a pan of simmering water until the bowl is warm to the touch, and the mixture is pale yellow and beginning to thicken.
  4. Place the bowl back on the mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until mixture is very thick and pale, 6 to 8 minutes. With a silicone spatula, pour out the   mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour in three additions, folding each addition in carefully, streaming in the butter/vanilla mixture with the last addition of flour.
  5. Fold gently, and pour out onto prepared pan. Smooth top into corners with spatula.
  6. Bake until cake is springy to the touch and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on rack, then turn out and cut the cake into servings or tear into bowl in bite-size pieces.

Here’s the bowl I made with black plums and blueberries—the cake is under there somewhere:



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