For the last 23 years my family has had a wondrous tradition: each member of our family has a week of celebrating his or her birthday, (we refer to this tradition as “BIRTHDAY WEEK”). The actually story behind this fabulous tradition started with a blunder belonging to my husband, DF.

Without trying to bore you, the story goes like this: the first birthday of mine after my husband and I began living together (we were not married yet) happened to fall on a softball game my husband’s team was playing. Instead of just asking if he could take me to dinner the next night, he promised to be home in time for an 8:00 reservation. He not only missed that timeline, but did not come home till long after 11:00. I had already gone to bed, after having a bowl of raisin brand and locking the bedroom door behind me. The next morning my husband was ready to give me the world, he finally had the idea of a birthday week. He would give me seven full days during my birthday for the rest of our lives! YES! I jumped on that particular idea. When we had Sydney the birthday week extended to each member.
Hawaii, many moons ago
This second week of November is my husband’s birthday, and therefore his birthday week. I started the week with a 6-inch triple layer Chocolate Genoise Cake with a Raspberry Crème Fraiche filling covered in a Marshmallow Meringue Frosting and completely glazed with a Shiny Chocolate Ganche.
As Sydney and I began preparing our mise en place D F peeked around the corner asked in a five year old manner,”is that my Boston Cream Pie?” Laughing Sydney and I, in sync replied “no your actual birthday is seven days away.” Confused DF, had not understood if we created his “BIG” birthday cake that early it would be stale by his special day. I guess I’ll never have to worry about DF growing-up!

Are all husbands just big kids?
DF’s favorite cake is Boston Cream Pie, which is not a pie at all, it is why I wanted to wait till his actually birthday to bake it. I knew he would love the Chocolate Genoise, he is a chocolateholic!
This cake was thought of during Thanksgiving last year, Sydney and I wanted to have a Chocolate dessert to serve with all the usually pies and cakes generally saved for that day in November. To our astonishment the cake was a giant hit. It wasn’t that I thought it would not taste great, but my family generally expects the yam, apple, and cherry pies to be served for dessert. DF was the most enthusiastic of them all, he had two pieces, (a little bigger than the one above).

Due to his zealous attitude during Thanksgiving 2009, I thought I would start his birthday week with this cake. It seems daunting at first, but I promise it’s not that tedious. In fact it is rather fun to bake!

Two-Six inch cakes were the
perfect size

Here is the recipe of all the components:

Bobbie’s Chocolate Génoise cake with Raspberry Sauce


28-grams/ 2-Tablespoons clarified beurre noisette
33 grams/ ¼-cup, plus 2 Tablespoons, sifted cocoa powder
68-grams/ 1/4-cup, plus, 1-1/2  teaspoons boiling water
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
2-teaspoon instant espresso powder
6 eggs/ about 300 grams
Pinch of salt
150-grams/ ¾ -cup superfine sugar
85-grams/ ¾ -cup, sifted cake flour, sifted 3 times
25-grams/ 1/8-cup cornstarch, optional

Preheat oven for 20 minutes at 176ºC. /350ºF. move the rack to the middle or the lower 2/3 of the oven.

Sift cake flour and cornstarch three times and set aside.

Line 2 6×2-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan heat butter on medium heat, as foam forms skim it off to clarify the butter. Watch the butter, so it does not burn, and heat till a deep brown color. Immediately strain through a sieve into a heat proof-measuring jug and keep warm.

In a mixing bowl combine cocoa powder, boiling water, instant espresso, and vanilla, stir or whisk well to create a smooth mixture, eliminating all lumps, set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, salt and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Move standing mixer bowl over simmering water and continue to whisk eggs and sugar continuously till sugar is no longer grainy and candy thermometer reaches 110º-120ºF/ 40º-50ºC. Remove bowl from heat, place on a standing mixer with whisk attachment and beat on high speed till quadruple in volume and ribbons form when lifted. Turn the speed down to medium and continue to whip for a couple more minutes.

Remove ½ -cup of egg foam and temper it to cocoa mixture by whisking, with a balloon whisk. Gently fold cocoa egg mixture back into the batter.

Sift 1/3 of the flour to the foam using a rubber spatula and fold very gently, but thoroughly. When the color of the batter is just about uniform, fold the rest of the flour, retaining as much of the beautiful foam as possible. Spoon about 1 cup of the batter into warm clarified beurre noisette and fold until well blended. Spoon this beurre noisette mixture over the batter and fold in gently just till incorporated.

Pour immediately into prepared cake pans, leaving ½ inch from the top. Bake until cakes spring back when touched in the center, about 30 minutes for 2- 6 inch cakes.

When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release the cakes and unmold it onto a rack; invert right side up onto parchment paper.

Framboise Sugar Syrup


119 grams/ ½-cup water
100 grams/ ½ -cup sugar
¼-cup crème de framboise

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan; cook till the sugar is dissolved. Pour the syrup into a glass-measuring jug and add Framboise. Brush each layer of the cake with the Framboise syrup.

Raspberry Sauce
adapted from Ina Garten


2 half-pint package fresh raspberries
½-cup granulated sugar
¼-cup water
1-cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam
1½-Tablespoon Framboise liqueur

Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and ¼ -cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, fresh raspberries, raspberry jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Crème Fraiche Raspberry Cream Filling


165 grams/ ¾-cup crème fraiche
330 grams/ 1½-cups heavy cream or mascarpone
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8grams/ 1 Tablespoons icing sugar
½ cup raspberry sauce

Instructions below.

Seven Minute Frosting
There are several on the internet, or you may have your own, any would work for this cake.

Mirror Glaze
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Heavenly Cakes


59 grams/ 1/4 -cup water, ice cold
6 grams/ 1¾ -teaspoon powder gelatin
133 grams 2/3-cup superfine sugar
79 grams/ 1/3 cup water, room temperature
28 grams 1-Tablespoon, plus1-teaspoon light corn syrup
66 grams/ ¾-cup, plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
77 grams/ 1/3-cup heavy cream

Have a sieve suspended over a medium metal bowl.

Prepare the gelatin by pouring 59 grams of water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the water, allow this to set for 5 to 6 minutes.

In small heavy bottom pan add water and sugar. Swirl or whisk till completely dissolved (this is a simple syrup) remove or turn heat off, whisk in corn syrup and cocoa powder until smooth, make sure to reach the corners of the pan. The mixture should be glossy.

Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula (heat proof). Place pan back on the medium-heat and cook stirring continuously, bring the mixture to a boil (88ºC/ 190ºF). Bubbles will just begin to “kiss” the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and pour through a metal sieve straining the chocolate mixture into the metal bowl. Cool the mixture slightly to about 50º -60 C/º120º-140ºF. Add the soften gelatin to the chocolate mixture and stir till the gelatin has dissolved and has no streaks.

Strain the entire mixture into a GLASS measure cup, with at least a  2 cup capacity. Stir gently and cool slightly to about 32ºC/88-90ºF.

Assemble the Cake

Cut one of the cooled Génoise cakes in 1/2 even layers, leave one of the two cakes as is. On a 6- inch cardboard circle place the uncut cake. Brush the top of the uncut cake with the framboise syrup.

In a VERY cold bowl, I used my standing mixer bowl, with the whisk attachment in the bowl put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer, pour cream and crème fraiche beat on medium speed till the lines from the whisk show in the crème mixture. Add vanilla and sift powder sugar over the top. Continue to beat on medium speed till the crème cream just about holds peaks.

Whisk ¼-cup  of the raspberry sauce into the crème fraiche keeping the speed at medium-low.  Add the remaining ¼ cup of the raspberry sauce into the crème cream. Keeping the speed on medium-low and then raise the speed to medium; whisk till the raspberry crème cream holds peaks.

Spread ½ the raspberry crème fraiche cream evenly over the uncut génoise. Moisten the first cut layer of the second cake with the framboise syrup place the cake moistened side down on top of crème cream layer, pressing gently to level it. Moisten the top of layer of the cut cake with the syrup and spread evenly the remaining half of the raspberry crème cream on top the cut layer. Moisten the second cut layer of the cake with framboise syrup place it on top of second layer of raspberry crème cream. Moistened the top of the final layer with the syrup again. (If there is left over syrup place in a jar seal tightly and place in refrigerator). Press lightly to set it in place. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

While the cake is having a chilly rest make the seven-minute frosting.

When the cake is nicely chilled remove from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place the cake on the decorating turntable; spread a heaping mound of seven minute frosting on the top of the cake. Spread the frosting around the side, smooth the frosting well, and place the frosted cake back in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to 24 hours.

Prepare your mise en place for the mirror glaze. This process will save you valuable time. Once ready start cooking the mirror glaze. While the glaze is cooling grab the waiting génoise.

When the glaze has cooled down pour over the cake and place in the refrigerator. The easiest way to glaze the cake, with the least mess follow what Rose describes in her book. Lay two pieces of tin foil on top of your work place turning the edges on the top layer of foil (leave the bottom one flat) now the glaze will not run down the side onto the floor, besides you may need to use the excess. Start by pouring the glaze in even circular motion in the middle of the cake allowing the glaze to “cascade” over the sides. Keep pouring in that circular motion till you are about 1- inch from the edge. Make sure the cake is evenly coated. If you need more of the glaze pour the pool of glaze collected on the foil back into the measuring jug and repeat the process till all of génoise is covered. Let the cake rest for about 30 minutes, or until the glaze is no longer dripping and serve.

Any left over cake can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I have found even days later the cake is still shiny, but Rose explains in her book how to bring the shine back if it happens to leave while in the refrigerator.


Happy Birthday
My H-Person!
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