One of our most recent additions to Taranaki Timebank - chef Pierre from Switzerland - offered his time to show us how to make a genuine genoise! Together with Brittany he thought up a way of inviting Timebank members along for a baking demonstration. All they needed to host the event was a suitable space that would offer professional standard cooking equipment and an oven that would be up to scratch with Pierre’s requirements.
This is where Helen from Cook Learn Love entered the stage! Helen hosts cooking classes for adults and kids in a newly established community hub called the Open Space on Devon Street. Timebank arranged a few meetings between Pierre and Helen to discuss how to best go about a cake baking demonstration. Ingredient lists and recipes were fine tuned, baking utensils shortlisted - while Timebank got the word out to advertise our first community baking get together of this sort!
On the day of the event, Pierre and our Timebank coordinators met at the Open Space to test bake our first communal chocolate genoise. All went smoothly - until Anja mistook the elaborately prepared aniseed infused syrup for a soaking pot that needed rinsing! Thankfully, Pierre just took a deep breath and whipped up another portion of syrup and the day was saved.
With everything that needed preparing prepared for the event we were ready to welcome our guests. The group turned out to be a perfect size and mix of around a dozen budding bakers, all ready to learn from Pierre the secrets to making a beautiful spongy chocolate cake. Our host was great at explaining the process step-by-step, and even though the presentation genoise wouldn’t rise quite enough, we could luckily fall back on the cake base prepared earlier in the day, glaze it with a beautiful chocolate ganache and - most importantly - find time to enjoy a deliciously light and chocolatey cake. Merci beaucoup, Pierre!
For those of you who want to make their own Chocolate Genoise here's Pierre's recipe:
120g caster sugar
90 g plain flour, mixed with a pinch of salt
30g good quality cocoa powder
40g butter, melted/clarified
150g full fat cream
150g good quality chocolate buttons (42% chocolate)
Grease and line a ca. 20cm diameter round cake dish.
Heat up oven to 170-180°C fan assisted heat or top/bottom heat.
In a bowl mix plain flour, salt and cocoa together. Set aside.
For the Zabaglione (you will need a heat resistant hot and a bowl that fits inside the pot): Over a medium flame/hot element heat water in a pot. Fill metal/heat resistant glass bowl with eggs and sugar. Insert bowl into pot with water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water. With a large whisk mix the eggs and sugar together, making sure you scrape mix off the sides so eggs don’t set. Spin bowl slowly while whisking the mixture. Do NOT stop whisking! And keep mixing for about 10 minutes, remembering to do the ribbon (lifting up movement to check the texture). At the end of this process the mix should have doubled in volume and temperature should have reached about 45°C. Remove from heat and keep whisking until mixture has cooled down. For extra flavouring you can add vanilla, allspice, etc. to the mix.
Using a spatula, gently fold cocoa/flour/salt mix to zabaglione. Gently fold in warm clarified butter (to achieve a nice mix, start by taking 1/5 of zabaglione and mix into butter, once mixed add back into zabaglione mix).
Put cake into oven (centre height) and bake for about 25 minutes.
Once cake is finished take out of oven and let it cool down.
While cake is cooling down prepare the chocolate ganache as follows:
Over a medium flame/element heat up cream in a pot. When hot (about 80°C = inserting finger will hurt!) add chocolate buttons and stir gently until chocolate is fully melted and you have a smooth chocolate-cream mixture. Turn heat off.
When cake has cooled down slice in half lengthwise using a long sharp knife. (This is optional and only if you want to insert a filling into your cake. Filling ideas: spice syrup, apricot jam, whipped cream...whatever takes your fancy!).
Check chocolate ganache has cooled down enough for a good texture. Spread ganache over top and sides of the genoise. Decorate with icing sugar, flowers, or any beautiful décor that comes your way!
And thank you for everyone who came along and helped make our first community baking event a successful trial run - we’ll be organising more of these little Timebank workshops in the future, so if you are keen on teaching your fellow Nakians (is that a word??) how to cook, bake, whip up a feast get in touch!