This light and airy Chocolate Genoise (Italian Sponge Cake) is light and airy and filled with a quick, easy and delicious chocolate mousse, loads of summer fruit like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, with a scrumptious stabilized whipped cream icing.
I recently made this Italian chocolate sponge cake for my husband's birthday and it was AMAZING! So, if you are looking for birthday cake recipes for adults, Italian birthday cakes or homemade birthday cake ideas, this is the one. My family went crazy for it!
For this chocolate sponge cake recipe, you'll need:
- all-purpose flour
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- white granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- unsalted butter
- hot water
- semi-sweet chocolate chips
- heavy cream
- whipped cream frosting recipe
📖 Variations & Substitutions
- Filling: you could you any filling you want, but the chocolate mousse goes so perfectly with it!
- Frosting: you could use plain whipped cream, but it won't hold up as well as the Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing does. When you add gelatin (or piping gel (affiliate link) in this case) to the whipped cream, it holds the whip longer. This genoise sponge also goes well with an Italian Meringue Buttercream.
- Berries: you can use any berries you like!
👪 Serving Size
This genoise recipe makes 16 servings (a 3 layer cake). However, you make ½ double or triple the recipe, if you'd like to make additional cakes, by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You'll just need additional cake pans.
You will need three 8-9 inch round cake pans, as well as mixing bowls and spoons, and a mixer. You will also need an electric mixer. You could use an electric hand mixer, but I would recommend using a stand mixer (affiliate links) for the beating involved in this type of cake. If you don't already have one, it's worth the investment. This is a purchase you will make good use of for a very long time!
I would also recommend using Wilton cake release (affiliate link). This is what I use for crumb-free, perfect cake every single time! And if you prefer to use parchment paper, I recommend these parchment liners (affiliate link) - they fit a round cake pan and come in 8 or 9 inch depending on the size you have.
- Storing: Store this chocolate genoise sponge recipe in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Freezing: You can also freeze this cake UNDECORATED AND UNFILLED, in a sealed extra large cake carrier (affiliate link) or another sealed container for up to 3 months. *Just make sure it's completed defrosted before you decorate it.
Your eggs need to be room temperature for this recipe (this is critical! ) *If you need to warm them quickly, then pour some boiling water into a shallow bowl, then crack your eggs into another bowl and set it on top of the bowl of boiling water. Just keep checking to see if the eggs have warmed. I did this and it worked well.
💭Italian Chocolate (Genoise) sponge vs. sponge
Sponge cakes are lighter cakes and are known for having a subtle flavor and delicate texture. Génoise sponge cake has Italian origins, although it's been adopted for treats that are more commonly associated with French cuisine. The batter is also the basis for Madeleines and ladyfingers, delicate cookies baked in molds. Italian Sponge Cake often ends up in a layer cake, such as this one, with fillings like whipped cream, buttercream or mousse.
And while the sponge and genoise are often regarded as being one and the same, they are, strictly speaking, two quite different creatures.
- A true sponge contains no fat other than that occurring naturally in egg yolks, and the yolks and whites are usually beaten separately.
- With a genoise, butter (in this case melted, but clarified butter is used in some) is used to enrich the batter, which is made by beating whole eggs, sometimes with additional yolks, together with sugar.
Although an Italian sponge is probably the most complicated to make, this recipe is foolproof! It is the perfect chocolate sponge cake recipe. The most critical part is that your eggs are warm and you follow the directions, precisely, whipping the eggs together with the sugar, with a mixer (a stand mixer preferably) until the volume expands dramatically.
If you're curious about the different types of cakes and how they compare, you can Read more about the differences between cakes HERE and HERE!
So, if you're looking for a great summer cake, birthday cake or celebration cake, this Chocolate Genoise Sponge cake is one of the best homemade cakes you will ever eat!
Did you make this chocolate sponge cake recipe? If you loved it, please leave a 5 star rating and a comment below!
🎂Chocolate Genoise Sponge Cake Recipe
Chocolate Sponge (Genoise) Cake:
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon sifted cocoa powder
- 9 eggs at room temperature **it is critical your eggs are at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse:
- ½ cup hot water
- 4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream) -at least 33%
- 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar
Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing:
- 2 small containers of blueberries
- 2 small containers of strawberries hulled and sliced (save a few half and whole strawberries for garnishing the top)
- 2 small containers of raspberries
- 2 small containers of black berries
Chocolate Sponge (Genoise) Cake
- Head up: Before you even turn on the oven, make sure your eggs are out of the fridge - they need to come to room temperature. *this is critical for success with this cake! If you need to warm them quickly, then pour some boiling water into a shallow bowl, then crack your eggs into another bowl and set it on top of the bowl of boiling water. Just keep checking to see if the eggs have warmed. I did this and it worked well.
- Preheat the oven to 350° f or 175° c. Grease three 8-9 inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper (I would suggest parchment rounds- See Equipment) or use cake release ** I always use "Cake Release" by Wilton and it eliminates the need for anything else and your cakes come out perfect every time! *See Equipment
- Sift the flour and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for about 10 minutes on medium-high speed (high speed if you are using an electric hand mixer). * You'll know when it's done because the mixture will turn pale and quadruple in volume. Then gently fold in the melted butter.
- Gently pour the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, folding it in with a spatula.
- Pour the genoise batter into the cake tins, dividing evenly by all 3. * Always fill pans to ⅔ full and no more. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25 minutes.* you will probably have some leftover batter so make a few cupcakes!
- Let cake cool for about 10 minutes. Gently run a spatula around the edges of the pans to loosen the cake. Gently turn onto a wire rack and let completely cool. * If you use Wilton cake release, your cakes will come out perfect and crumb-free!
Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse:
- Dissolve the cocoa powder in the hot water.
- Melt the chocolate chips on 50% power for 2 mins and 30 seconds in the microwave, then stir then for another 30 seconds just until smooth. *Do not let any water/moisture touch the chocolate or utensils or it will make the chocolate seize
- Add cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate chips and stir well to combine.
- In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the whipped cream mixture to the melted chocolate and fold in with a spatula until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing:
- I use this recipe: https://foodmeanderings.com/stabilized-whipped-cream-icing/
- Add first cake to a serving plate. Then spread ⅓ of the chocolate mousse on the first layer of cake, then add about ¼ of the berries. Pipe some whipped cream around the edges of the layer, prior to putting the next layer on top.
- Repeat for 2nd layer, then again, for the top layer.
- Pile the remaining berries on top of the cake!
- Pipe whipped cream around the edge of the top of the cake, the bottom and each layer, if it looks like it needs it.
- Stud whipped cream (between layers( with additional berries, as in my photos, if desired.