Steam-Baked Genoise Sponge Cake

Anja Bauman
Anja Bauman
November 29, 2023
Genoise sponge cake is, frankly, a tricky cake to get right. It’s leavened entirely by whipped whole eggs, which must be handled delicately in order to keep their loft. But baking the cake with a bit of steam in the Anova Precision Oven gives the cakes a bit more lift while baking and its precise temperature control means you don’t need to second-guess your baking time. Still, you’ll want to make sure to follow the recipe carefully before placing the cakes in the oven. Be sure to avoid greasing the sides of the cake pan; this batter needs to grip those sides to rise to its fullest height. Warming the eggs and sugar together before beating will help to dissolve the sugar quickly and help the protein molecules in the eggs unravel, which in turn will help them to hold more air and help it to rise. When it comes time to incorporate your dry ingredients, you’ll want to gently sift a mixture of flour and cornstarch over the surface of the egg foam before even more gently folding to combine. From there, you’ll mix a small amount of the batter with melted butter (think of it like tempering egg yolks) before (once again!) folding it very carefully into the main batter bowl. You’ll notice a pattern here — be gentle when mixing! Tapping the cake pan on the counter before baking helps to eliminate any unstable bubbles that formed when transferring the batter to the cake pans. Tapping it once more when the cake is finished baking allows the air inside the cake to be released, which prevents it from collapsing. This recipe makes two 1- to 1 ½-inch thick, 8-inch round cakes that make an excellent blank canvas for whipped cream and seasonal fruit. You can also add in additional flavor by drizzling the cakes with flavored simple syrup or your favorite liqueur. If you’d like to make a four-layer cake as pictured above, you’ll want to make the recipe twice; we don’t recommend doubling the batter mixture. We strongly recommend using the gram weights to measure the ingredients for this recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steam-Baked Genoise Sponge Cake
120 g (1 scant cup)
all-purpose flour
30 g (3 Tbsp)
45 g (3 Tbsp)
unsalted butter, plus additional butter for greasing the pans
5 large
eggs (about 250g)
¼ tsp
kosher salt
150 g (¾ cup)
granulated sugar

1. Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Pans

Coat the bottom but not the sides of two 8-inch cake pans with butter, and line the bottom of the pans with parchment. Place racks in the 2nd and 5th positions and turn on the oven.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 30%
Temp: 340°F
Heat: Rear

2. Sift Dry Ingredients and Prepare Butter

Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a medium bowl and set aside. Melt the butter and set aside to let cool.

3. Heat Eggs and Sugar

Find a saucepan that will nestle your stand mixer bowl without the bowl coming within 1 inch of the bottom. Add 1 inch of water to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. In the stand mixer bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt. Nestle the bowl in the saucepan with the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the egg mixture is warm to the touch or 110°F (43°C), about 1 minute. You do not want it to get hot.

4. Whip the Eggs

Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the stand mixer with the whisk attached. Beat on medium-high until the egg mixture is tripled in size and light in color, 6 to 8 minutes. When you lift the whisk and make ribbons with the batter, the ribbons should rest on top of the batter for a few seconds before dissolving back into the batter. Adjust the mixer speed to low and whisk for 1 more minute to release any large bubbles.
Whip the Eggs

5. Fold in the Flour and Butter

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift half of the flour mixture over the surface of the egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to very gently fold until only a few streaks of flour remain. Do not fold more than 8 times. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. It is critical that you do not overmix the eggs. Scoop about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the melted butter and gently fold until completely combined. Drizzle this butter mixture gently over the cake batter and very gently fold until combined. Do not let the butter mixture sink to the bottom of the mixer bowl. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Tap the bottom of the pans twice on the counter to release bubbles.
Fold in the Flour and Butter

6. Bake

Transfer the pans to the oven, placing one pan on the left side of rack 5 and the second pan on the right side of rack 2. The pans should not be touching the sides of the oven. Bake until golden brown and the cake bounces back when pressed in the middle, about 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 30%
Temp: 340°F
Heat: Rear
00:20 Timer

7. Cool and Serve

Remove from the oven and tap the cake pans once on the counter. Place the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the cakes from the pans. Let them finish cooling on the rack before removing the parchment paper. Serve with fruit and whipped cream.
Cool and Serve
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