Lorraine Pascale's Mojito Genoese cake recipe

Lorraine Pascale
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Lorraine Pascale's Mojito Genoese cake recipe

The Genoise is a traditional Italian cake from Genoa, with a very light, buttery texture, and which uses no chemical raising agent. Needless to say, for this cake to work it needs the living daylights whisked out of it.

At a glance
  • Cuisine Italian
  • Recipe Type Main
  • Difficulty Medium
  • Preparation time 10 mins
  • Cooking time 35 mins
  • Serves 8 people
Ingredients
  • 150 g (5.3oz) Soft light brown sugar - Sugar syrup
  • 40 ml (1.4fl oz) Water - Sugar syrup
  • 2 Finely grated zest and juice of limes - Sugar syrup
  • 80 ml (2.8fl oz) White rum - Sugar syrup
  • 1 Bunch of fresh mint, leaves only - Sugar syrup
  • 260 g (9.2oz) Caster sugar - For the sponge
  • 115 g (4.1oz) Butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing - For the sponge
  • 260 g (9.2oz) Plain flour - For the sponge
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Butter, softened - For the buttercream
  • 200 g (7.1oz) Icing sugar - For the buttercream
  • 1 Vanilla pod or 2 drops of vanilla extract - For the buttercream
  • 1 Lime - Finely grated zest and juice - For the buttercream
  • 1 Dash of vegetable oil, for oiling - Pecan coating
  • 200 g (7.1oz) Granulated sugar - Pecan coating
  • 200 g (7.1oz) Pecans - Pecan coating
  • 6 Eggs, lightly beaten - For the sponge

Step-by-step

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Make the sugar syrup first to allow the flavours to infuse. Put the sugar, water, lime juice and rum in a medium pan over a low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 2-3 minutes until the syrup thickens. Add the mint and lime zest and set aside.
  3. Fill a large saucepan around a third full of water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Set a large heatproof bowl over the pan, making sure the base isn't touching the water. Add the sugar and eggs to the bowl and whisk. This causes them to foam up and gives a lighter, fluffier cake. The egg mixture should be whisked for about 10 minutes, then remove the bowl from the pan and continue to whisk for a further 5 minutes. The mixture is ready when it holds itself well in the bowl and, if you take a spoonful and then drop it back in, the resulting `blob' should take 3-4 seconds to blend back into the mixture.
  4. Once you have reached this `ribbon stage', pour the melted butter into the bowl, around the sides (pouring it into the middle knocks out all the air). Fold the butter into the egg mix, moving the bowl around and scooping down to the bottom to fold the mixture over itself, using as few movements as possible to retain the air.
  5. Next, add the flour and fold in until the mixture is uniform and smooth. Pour gently into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 30-35 minutes. When cooked, the sponge should spring back when pushed lightly, will be a light golden colour and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake will come out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once it is cool, slice the cake in half horizontally and set aside.
  6. To make the buttercream, put the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest and juice to taste.
  7. To assemble the cake, put a dollop of buttercream on a serving plate (to stop the sponge sliding around the plate). Place the bottom of the sponge on the plate and brush with the reserved sugar syrup. Be quite liberal to make the cake really moist. Put a big dollop of buttercream on top and, using a palette knife, spread the buttercream over the cake until it is level. Take the top half of the cake, turn cut side up and brush with the sugar syrup. Turn it back over and put it on top of the buttercreamed sponge.
  8. Next, cover the whole cake with the buttercream, including the top and sides, making sure it is as smooth as possible with straight sides and top. Put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up a little. For the pecan coating, oil a baking tray. Put the sugar in a medium pan over a low heat and leave to melt, stirring as little as possible. If any sugar sticks to the sides of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and brush it off. Once the sugar is melted bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 1 minute making sure it does not burn. Add the nuts and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Leave to cool.
  9. Once this has cooled right down, blitz the praline in an electric mixer or put it in plastic bag, smash it with a rolling pin and think of your boss. Once the praline pieces are the size of breadcrumbs, use them to coat the sides of the cake.

Recipe from Baking Made Easy (HarperCollins)

Photography courtesy of Myles New

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