Several good comments and emails the last day or two about génoise and the relative benefits of the classic stuff versus some of the more toothsome alternates. Each side has a point. On the one hand traditional génoise can be quite dry, but then that’s what cake syrup is for. You can add entirely new dimensions of flavor and texture by gettin’ jiggy with the spices, extracts and liquors.
On the other there’s no denying the appeal of a sponge that’s moist and tender from the get-go. Indeed we on this side of the Big Drink are disposed to tender cakes already, so a fluffy sponge is an easy sell here. Maybe it’s the American in me, but I’ll almost always prefer a tender sponge cake over a drier one. Also I confess I can’t stand the texture of a sponge that’s awash in syrup. If you’ve ever been to a wedding and wondered why is this cake WET inside?, you know what I mean.
There’s no question that a sodden cake is an example of the improper use of syrup. Still I’ve suffered through way too many sloppy slices of sponge in my life. I’m mostly wrecked for the stuff. But make up your own mind. A little syrup in the right place at the right time can be a beautiful thing. Just make sure, cake makers, that you know when to put down the brush and walk away.