Tuesdays with Dorie: Surprise! Your Berry Cake Fell!

So, about that genoise recipe. I think I speak for all of us when I say: %$&*@~&$!!!
I made the cake recipe twice, can you believe this was the “good” one?
It seems like everyone had problems with this cake sinking dramatically. Someone on the TWD board wrote Dorie and got a reply stating, basically, that the nature of the cake is to fall a little bit. I don’t really buy that. I’ve made other genoise recipes that don’t fall, or that have a tiny dip, but not a huge crater. Sure, they don’t crown like other cakes, but they’re certainly not meant to implode, either.

These are the changes I made the second time to make the cake more, er, “successful.” I omitted the baking powder (many genoise recipes don’t have additional leaveners). After beating the eggs to ribbon stage, I removed about a cup and folded the melted butter into this egg mixture. To the remaining eggs, I sifted the flour over in two additions and incorporated very gently with a whisk, then folded in the egg-butter mixture last. This seemed to help with not overmixing, and it made my cake fail less spectacularly.

What really saved the day is the fact that I decided to make a 6″ cake, but I made a full batch of batter, so I baked the 6″ and a small loaf pan. I was able to use the loaf pan for scraps to cover the top of my cake after it was hollowed out.

I love the idea of this cake. It’s a play on a charlotte russe, which has ladyfingers encircling berries and whipped cream. For this cake, the genoise was hollowed out and filled with fresh berries and a mix of cream cheese and whipped cream, then topped with whipped cream and the remaining berries.

I have to say, the fresh raspberries were just about the best part of the cake for me. What’s that you say? It’s January? But of course fresh raspberries are in season right now! (In Chile.) Outrageously expensive berries aside, it was still worth it because nothing compares to fresh berries.

I used a pint of berries in the 6″, which I thought would be enough, since she calls for about a pint for an 8″ cake. Turns out I’m a berry glutton, because I thought the cake had way too much cream and not enough berries…and the cake portion itself was a little skimpy. (I’m probably in the minority on this one, though.) And I freely admit that I had a heavy hand when applying the whipped cream, but as you saw previously, I had some flaws to hide!

I only waited an hour between assembly and photographing the cake. (Daylight is still in short supply around here!) The structural integrity of the cake was a little lacking, but when I sliced it the next day, the filling had firmed up a little more and supported the cake slices nicely.

If I were to do it again, I’d use a different cake recipe (or just turn it into a trifle) but the basic flavor components are classic. Genoise grumbling aside, the cake was still great. I mean, it’s whipped cream and fresh berries and cake! Can’t really complain about that.

30 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie: Surprise! Your Berry Cake Fell!
  1. Danielle says:

    I am sorry your cake didnt turn out the way you wanted. It is still pretty.
    I have made many genoise cakes in the past as well the one I usually make I have to seperate the eggs so this one was a tad different.

  2. Jen H says:

    You may not have been happy with the process, but your cake looks so delicious!

  3. Cathy says:

    This cake completely whupped me. It looks like you totally made yours work. I have never made a genoise before so I first assumed it was just me, but it is becoming clear that most people had trouble with this, which makes me wonder if it’s not the recipe. I love the idea of this dessert and might try it again with a different cake. Yours looks gorgeous!

  4. rainbowbrown says:

    I agree, the components were good, but perhaps a little re-working is in order. It does look lovely.

  5. Jessica says:

    Your cake is stunning and without your photo evidence, I’d never believe that you had sinking problems. I also had to laugh at your comment about seasonal berries. I think that I’d use a different cake next time too but I loved the berries and cream this week!

  6. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    If a cake falls in the middle it only means one thing to me: more icing on top! ;) Looks delicious!

  7. ecrunner says:

    Judging by the pictures I wouldn’t be able to tell that you had any trouble!! This looks absolutely delicious!! Great job!!

  8. karen says:

    it looks delicious. i loved this cake, sinking and all! :)

  9. Flourchild says:

    I think your cake is great looking. I was frustrated to that it did not rise..there is not way I would make it twice though..way to go! I thought it was tasty but Im sure I won’t make it again.

  10. vibi says:

    After all the trouble you went through to make this cake twice. Liz… you deserve a big BRAVO! because your end results are spectacular!
    Very good looking, the colors are brilliant!

  11. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Lovely looking cake in the end. The top photo looked just like mine!

  12. bakingwiththeboys says:

    Yours looks very good. Mine was crater city. I tried to blame it on baking with the kids but…I don’t really think they were the problem.

  13. pinkstripes says:

    Your cake looks gorgeous. I love the raspberries.

  14. Ivette says:

    You cake looks amazingly delicious! I’m thinking about trying it again.. hopefully without the sinking part. Great Job!

  15. Engineer Baker says:

    What a beautiful job! I agree – not all cakes like this fall quite so much. Tweaking seems necessary.

  16. TeaLady says:

    Lots had trouble with this one. But as long as it tastes good…..

    Beautiful in the end.

  17. Peggy says:

    I made mine twice too. But yours look fabulous. Those eggs were scary. Mine didn’t fall however. It just didn’t rise as much as I thought it should.

  18. Megan says:

    Chilean raspberries aside, it looks like you were able to pull it all together.

  19. Cooking for Comfort by Jennifer says:

    You did a beautiful job!!!!!

  20. Matt says:

    You were smart to make it in a smaller pan. I made it in the recommended pan and after removing the top, there was little if anything to scoop out. Your final product is beautiful!

  21. The Food Librarian says:

    You did a wonderful job! It looks soo good.

  22. Judy says:

    What you did for the second cake jogged my memory. In the Dorie/Julia Child cookbook, that’s exactly how they made the genoise. I recall making that recipe, and the cake came out fine. It’s worth pursuing.

    I also agree that the cake cut better and tasted better the second day.

    Love the raspberries.

  23. Linda says:

    I love how your petite cake turned out. Fantastic job Liz!

    I also piled on the berries, and all of the baking and assembly issues aside, I loved eating this!

  24. Erin says:

    I love the little cake with the raspberries! I also got really frustrated with the way mine fell.

  25. margot says:

    Your cake looks beautiful! Using a different cake recipe next time is a great idea (neither of mine turned out very tall), since it is fabulous combination.

  26. Julie says:

    Well, sorry about the big crater, but it looks yummy! I guess you can consider that big dip just more space to fill with yummy cream.

  27. Jodie says:

    Gorgeous! You can’t even tell once it’s covered! :)

  28. Maria says:

    It looks great, the crater is hidden very nicely!

  29. Designers' Brew says:

    looks DELISH! first time reader here, saw you on citysage’s blogroll and had to come compliment you on your GENIUS blog name. Love the Izzard. Love him.

  30. Pinky says:

    That last shot is mouthwatering!
    Yeah, I think if that many people have a problem with a recipe, it need some reworking.

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