Cakes, Pastries & Breads – Lesson 1 + Genoise Sponge

This week was the start of the second last course of Commercial Cookery; Cakes, Pastries and Breads. There are 6 lessons in this course block after which I move onto the final course, Deserts. The end is in sight, even though I still need to complete the required 48 service periods in a commercial kitchen under a trained chef. In this lesson we produced, Genoise Sponge filled with Strawberry Jam and Chantilly Cream, Madeira (Pound) Cake with Lemon Icing and Gluten-free Raspberry Friands.

Lesson 1 – Cakes, Pastries and Breads

As Baking is an exact science, there is no more joint preparation of ingredients, we are individually responsible for our own mise en place and weighing properly is essential. I enjoy baking, it makes sense and I’m really looking forward to this part of the course.

Mise en Place done

Chef spent quite a bit of time to show us how to prepare a cake tin, including those which have no base. Where as I am no novice when it comes to preparing cake tins, it is important that the teaching is at the level to inform the least knowledgeable students in the class.

If you don’t have a bottom to your cake tin

I was delighted with the Genoise Sponge I turned out (recipe provided below). Past efforts to make a high and light sponge have resulted in varied success. From the get go Chef assured the class if the measurements were right and the process followed, all of us would make a good sponge which would be sold in the college shop for $25 each! The trick to making the sponge rise is to ‘pre-condition’ the egg and sugar mix by heating it to 40C before whisking it to 3 times its volume, after which you gently fold in well sifted flours and finally the melted butter. After the cake is baked, and superbly light and high, it needs to go into the fridge for a few hours to cool right down before the cake is cut and filled. Chef was right.. there was only 1 ‘pancake’ in the class.

Genoise Sponge with Chantilly Cream

Madeira cake has always been one of my favourites. I remember many afternoon teas with my Nanna, a good cup of tea and a slice of Madeira cake made everything better. I prepared some garnishes at home for the 2 little loaves made in class. I did fumble the turning out of one of the cakes, nothing that a little icing and decorating didn’t save.

Edible flowers make a pretty garnish

The gluten-free friands were easy to make and delicious. I haven’t done a lot of gluten-free baking but have a friend who makes gluten-free cakes and treats for her celiac husband, so I’m glad I now have this in my repertoire. Frozen raspberries are ideal for these. The batter was piped into the muffin papers, 3/4 full, and the raspberries were placed on top. Once cooked a liberal sprinkling of icing sugar was all the finishing these little cakes needed.

Gluten-free raspberry friands

At the end of the class, there was a bounty of baked goods to sell at the college shop. I kept two of the friands to take home, one for Aron and one for a work colleague for whom I was intending to make a birthday cake, but wasn’t able to as I did a service period at the Golf Club after college. Hope I see you back for the next lesson which will cover choux pastry and sweet pastry.

Tray of baked goods for sale

Bon Appetit

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Genoise Sponge

This is a simple, light as air, Genoise Sponge filled with Chantilly Cream and Strawberry jam….afternoon tea anyone? 

  • 280 gm eggs
  • 190 gm Sugar, Castor (super fine)
  • 95 gm White Bakers Flour
  • 95 gm Cornflour
  • 60 gm Unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 150 gm Strawberry Jam, thinned with a little water and warmed through
  • 1 punnet Strawberries, fresh (halved)
  • 25 g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 5 ml Vanilla extract
  • 300 ml Cream, thickened (heavy)
  • 1 23 cm Cake Tin, spayed and lined
  • 6 cm Acetate roll (optional)
  • 1 9 inch Cake Board (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C 

  2. Prepare Cake Tin – spray and line bottom and sides

  3. Add flours and sift several times

  4. Combine sugar and eggs in stand mixer bowl, place over a Bain Marie and whisk by hand until temperature reaches 40C. This will ensure the sponge rises.

  5. When temperature achieved place in stand mixer and whisk until light and fluffy (3 times volume) and ribbon stage achieved.

  6. Fold in the sifted flours gently by hand, getting right under the mixture to incorporate the flour whilst preserving the air in the batter.

  7. Fold in the melted cooled butter with a pallet knife

  8. Put batter into the prepared cake tin 

  9. Bake for 35min or until skewer comes out clean. Leave for 5 mins in pan before inverting onto sprayed bakers paper on cake cooling rack. Place in fridge for 2 hours to totally cool.

  10. Cut the sponge through the middle in half using a bread knife.

  11. Spread both halves with the thinned and warmed jam

  12. Spread generously with Chantilly cream  – not quite to the edges

  13. Decorate around the edge with the halved strawberries – pushing against the cream. Place top on and gently push down. make any adjustments to the strawberries around the edge. If transporting, place an acetate ring around the middle and tape to close.

  14. Place the cooling rack on top and give a gentle sprinkling of icing sugar (this makes a nice pattern

About kathryninthekitchen

I find joy in all aspects of food and cooking; reading about it, enjoying the offerings of great restaurants and cafe’s, sourcing beautiful produce & transforming it into delicious meals to share with the people I care about. I quite easily lose track of time when I am engaged in my favourite pastime. I have always dreamt of one day training as a cook and 2018 is the year that journey begins. I am excited I have the opportunity to follow my passion and grateful for the support of my family and friends. I hope you enjoy my journey with me as well as other food related detours.
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9 Responses to Cakes, Pastries & Breads – Lesson 1 + Genoise Sponge

  1. Kathryn, what a wonderful class! Your cakes looks beautiful, I especially like the pretty little pansies on the Madeira cake. The Genoise with Chantilly Cream is amazing. This must have been an enjoyable class to take. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your choux class. My mom’s favorite dessert was creme puffs, but she also made them savory as well, and she was a master!

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      It was so much Fun Dorothy…I am looking forward to Choux, although I had my first failure with this tricky little party in the first year of the course. Cross fingers for tomorrow. Thanks for your encouragement! 😊

  2. sherry says:

    what a glorious sponge! absolutely amazing. it looks so light and luscious. good work. cheers sherry

  3. Ron says:

    Kathryn, for a non-sweets baker like me I found this lesson to be particularly interesting. I’ve never attempted a sponge such as you made. I can see why getting the egg/sugar mixture just right makes or breaks the cake (and cook). I have made choux pastry before with marginal success, so I’m excited to see how a pro does it in your next post.

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Thank you Ron. I’m not a sweet eater but did enjoy the lesson. I hope to be able to replicate this at home… that’s the test 😊 I’ve had hits and misses with choices… so the next class will be interesting.😳

  4. cookingontheweekends says:

    Baking & Pasty was my favorite part of Culinary School, which is ironic because I actually prefer savory cooking. 🙂 I so enjoyed that course, though, so I love this post. All of your cakes are so pretty, and I can only imagine how delicious! The pansies are lovely!

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Hi Valentina…same for me. I love baking but my preference is also savory bakes as I rarely eat cake or desert….give me a good quiche or pie though and I find it hard to resist. I love the little edible flowers, they add such happiness to the cakes. I hope I ‘pop’ out the other side of my studies as innovative as you!

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