A great sponge cake can be considered heavenly by some descriptions. Among cakes, it's the lightest and most aerated to eat and spring up when touched. However, the quality of these features vary not only by the baker's skills but also by the type of sponge cake being made.

A genoise sponge cake is one of the most flexible cakes due to its composition, allowing construction for not only layered cakes but also rolled cakes as well. In today's recipe, we will construct the latter but we'll also be throwing in espresso and chocolate flavors in the mix.

But first, let's give a rundown of the Genoise Cake's past and see why it's one of the most popular sponge cakes to make.

The secret of genoise cake

The genoise cake can be traced back to the city of Genoa in Italy and is not only popular in Italian cuisine but also French cuisine as well. Like most sponge cakes, genoise is mechanically leavened, meaning it relies on eggs to power its lift when baked. However, genoise uses whole eggs for the batter, which are combined with sugar and warmed over a double boiler. This combined with a small amount of "clarified butter" (melted) gives the genoise its rich flavor.

Genoise can be baked in regular cake pans to make rounds or baked on sheet pans to make swiss rolls.

In the following recipe, we will be baking 2 rounds and layering them with buttercream frosting.

Where chocolate and espresso come in

Like most cakes, genoise can be flavored with an assortment of ingredients and layered with buttercream frosting or compote. In this recipe, we will flavor the batter with cocoa powder to make a chocolate genoise.

As for the buttercream frosting, we will flavor it with Espresso powder because it goes well with the chocolate for cakes and desserts.

Now for that recipe

Batter Ingredients:

  • 7 oz cake flour
  • 2 oz cocoa powder
  • 10 eggs
  • 1.5 oz melted butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 8 oz of castor sugar

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder


  1. Grease a couple of 8" springform cake pans and set aside. Whisk the whole eggs and sugar together in a large mixer bowl. Place said bowl over a double boiler and whisk the mixture while it warms until temperature reaches approximately 40°C- 45°C.
  2. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and attach it to a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip the mixture at medium speed for 12 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is cool and forms thick ribbons.
  3. Place the butter in a small pan and melt it over a stove. Remove and set aside. Preheat the oven to 220°C
  4. Remove 1/8 of the mixture and place it in a small bowl. Fold in the melted butter and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour into the remaining batter. Gently fold in the reserved butter/genoise batter mixture.
  6. Immediately divide the batter among the two pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the genoise is light brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove the genoise cakes from the oven to cool.
  8. To make the frosting, place the unsalted butter, confectionary sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract into a bowl and combine with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  9. Remove the genoise rounds from the pans. Place one of the cakes on top of a rotating cake stand and use a cake knife to shave the surface of the cakes evenly flat.
  10. Use a metal spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the surface of the shaved cake. Take the second cake and place it bottom first on top of the first cake. Finally, use the spatula to spread frosting evenly on top of the second cake and around both. Serve or refrigerate.