Vanilla Genoise Layer Cake

Princess Cake, made with 3 layers of Vanilla Genoise

“Needed for the Princess Cake. So it’s a must have.” – Calla Ferre

“This is the trickiest part of the Princess Cake. To be honest, I haven’t been entirely successful, my cake tends to collapse after about 10 minutes in the oven. The cake still tastes great, but it was much more dense that it was intended to be.” – April Ferre

Vanilla Genoise Layer Cake

Course: Cakes & Cupcakes
Cuisine: Italian


  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Cake Flour Sifted


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter, flour and line one 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep cake pan or two 9-inch diameter x 1 1/2-inch deep pans with parchment paper. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.
  • Using a wire whisk, stir the eggs in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whisk in the sugar.
  • Place the mixer bowl over the saucepan of boiling water. The water should be at least 2 inches bellow the bottom of the bowl. To prevent the eggs from cooking, use your hand whisk to stir the mixture continuously until it feels quite warm. The eggs should remain liquid and not become opaque or cooked. Failing to mix continuously will result in very sweet scrambled eggs!
  • When warm, immediately remove the bowl from the heat, place on the mixer and start whipping on high speed. Whip the eggs without stopping for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.
  • While the eggs are whipping, melt the butter and pour it into a small bowl. Add the vanilla. Place the flour in the sifter and set aside.
  • The egg mixture is ready when the eggs have just cooled and at least tripled in volume. When you lift the whip out of the bowl, the batter should fall off the whip in ribbons.
  • Take the bowl off the mixer and sift a little less than 1/4 of the flour over the surface of the batter. Gently fold in the flour using the rubber spatula or your hand. You will hear the batter crunch if you are to rough. Repeat until all the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Pour a generous cup of the batter over the melted butter mixture in the small bowl. Thoroughly fold the batter into the butter. Slowly pour the butter mixture over the remaining batter in the mixer bowl in a circular motion. If you add the butter mixture too quickly the butter will sink, reducing the volume and toughening the cake. Gently fold together until none of the darker butter mixture is visible.
  • Carefully pour the batter into the prepared 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep pan; it should be about 2/3 full. If using the two 9-inch diameter x 1 1/2-inch deep pans and making a 3 layer cake, pour 1/3 of the batter into one pan and the remaining 2/3 into the other. If making a 2 or 4 layer cake, divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Set the cake pan(s) on a baking sheet and immediately place on the center rack in the oven. If using 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep pan, bake for about 30 minutes and wait to open the oven until the cake has baked at least 25 minutes or it may fall. If using two pans, bake for about 20 minutes and wait to open the oven until the cake has baked at least 15 minutes.
  • The cake is done when it just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. The cake will not spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick will not come out clean when it is ready.
  • After removing the cake from the oven, immediately run a metal icing spatula or knife around the inside of the pan(s) to loosen the cake. Let cool 5 minutes, then depan.
  • The cake may be stored, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 week. Assemble as desired.


Vanilla Genoise Tips:
Always pre-measure ingredients and assemble equipment before starting.
Once you start making the cake, complete all steps without stopping. If you stop at any point, the batter will not work.
Never double the recipe. If you do, the egg batter will overflow the bowl during whipping.
Genoise may be cut into layers as soon as it is cool. If it has been refrigerated, cut it as soon as you remove it from the refrigerator. If it has been frozen, let it thaw about 30 minutes, then cut. If you wait much longer, the cake will be too soft to cut. When properly made in one 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep pan, this cake can be cut into three 5/8-inch layers.
Do not panic if your cake has some sticky spots in the center of the top after it has been frozen. To remove them, evenly level the whole top by slicing just under the soft spot.
Always cut off the top layer first and place it cut-side down on the cardboard. Do not place it cut-side up or it will stick to the cardboard.
If you precut the cake layers before icing the cake, keep them covered with plastic wrap. Vanilla Genoise dries out very quickly when left unwrapped.
Vanilla Genoise should always be moistened with a soaking solution (see Princess Cake).
For optimum moistness, this cake is best baked in a 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep cake pan, then cut into layers. If you do not have one, use two 9-inch diameter x 1 1/2-inch deep cake pans.

Recipe – Calla Ferre – From The Village Baker’s Wife: The Desserts And Pastries That Made Gayle’s Famous, 1997. – Gayle’s Bakery

Related Recipes:
Princess Cake with 3 layers of Vanilla Genoise