My Epic Fail or, How I Made A Trifle Out Of A Failed Genoise

I love that the word “trifle” has more than one meaning; it can mean something of little, or no value; it can mean frivolously spending ones time (which I thought I had done when making this framboise); my dad always used to say,”You better not be trifling with me!” or, it can refer to a custard and fruit filled dessert, layered with sponge cake. However, I had not set out to make a Trifle. I had desired to create a beautiful, layered cake, filled with a decadent white chocolate-lemon-ganache. This was not to be, but I think you will find what I ended up with was just as delicious and actually, quite fun to make. The best part is—it doesn’t have to be perfect to turn out something that others will enjoy.

A genoise is typically a dry cake, leavened with only eggs. It is often compared to an Italian sponge cake. It’s dry, sponginess makes it the perfect type of cake to pair with a rich custard and some liquored-up fruit. I didn’t have any of the aforementioned fruit–just the lovely vanilla lemon curd I had made, so it would have to do for this time, especially because I am adding in the flavor punch of our Vanilla Rum extract to the cake. In addition, I added some vanilla seeds for that lovely vanilla-speckle that is not only delicious, but an added feast for the eyes.

If you follow these instructions to the letter, you WILL be able to make a gorgeous layered cake. If you forgo the part about lining your cake pans with parchment, you (like me) can make the trifle–either in individual serving size, (I did mine in clear, plastic ones for a SuperBowl party last weekend) or in a large trifle bowl (the one I have I bought at Target).

Vanilla Genoise

Makes 2, 8 ” cakes, or, enough for about 12 individual trifles, or, one large trifle


  • 1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup corn starch
  • **You can use 2 cups of cake flour instead of the previous 2 ingredients–I did not have any on hand, so instead I substituted all purpose + cornstarch. Feel free to use either.
  • 1/4 Cup confectioners sugar
  • vanilla seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablepoons vanilla rum extract


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

Butter your pans generously and line the bottoms with parchment paper (I do this by placing my cake pan onto the parchment and tracing a line around it either with a pen or pencil, or, gently with the tip of a paring knife and then cutting it out).

In a bowl, sift together your flour, corn starch, confectioners sugar, vanilla seeds and salt. Rub the vanilla seeds with the salt and sugar to avoid clumping.

Melt butter in a small pot and set aside and allow to cool while doing next step.

Next is the tricky part:

Crack your eggs into a heat proof bowl. Add in 1 cup of sugar.

You want to heat up the eggs and sugar together to give them “lift”, but not to curdle or scramble the eggs. You will need to heat up some water to a simmer in a large enough pot to hold your bowl. You don’t need to fill the pot completely–just enough water to heat the bottom of your bowl–about 4-5 inches should do the trick. Turn off heat and place your bowl into the pot so that your bowl in sitting on the top of the water bath. Whisk for 5 minutes until the eggs and sugar are fully incorporated and have tripled in volume. When you lift the whisk, the mixture should fall away like ribbons. Pull off the heat and whisk in vanilla rum extract.

Fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture with a very gentle hand. Do not over mix or you will deflate your eggs! Fold in another 1/3 of your flour mixture until combined, and then the remaining 1/3 in the same manner.

Add in cooled, melted butter and fold gently until incorporated.

Pour batter (dividing the batter as evenly as you can between the two pans) into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.

Cool on a rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto another rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate-vanilla-lemon ganache


    1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
    2 Cups White chocolate (chips are fine)
    1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
    8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
    1 Cup confectioners sugar
    1/2 Cup Vanilla Lemon Curd + 1/2 Cup for garnishing the top of cake or trifle(s)


Heat cream in a small, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pot. Turn off heat and add in white chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts. Add vanilla extract. Allow to cool.

In a standing mixer, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar until combined. Stir in 1/2 Cup Vanilla Lemon Curd. Stir in cooled white chocolate mixture.


For a layered cake:

Place one genoise on a cake plate or stand. Generously frost with ganache. Place second cake on top and generously frost, or pipe on decoratively. Using remaining 1/2 cup of your Vanilla Lemon Curd, spoon onto the center of your cake and gently spread, leaving about an inch border. You can then sprinkle it with candied lemon or garnish it with some Vanilla Spiked Whipped Cream if you desire. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to give the genoise time to absorb some of the flavor and for the ganache to set.

For Trifle(s):

Layer in your trifle dish(es); ganache-chunks of genoise-ganache-genoise-ganache-genoise-ganache (until everything is all used up!)-dollop of vanilla lemon curd-whipped cream & candied lemon.

Enjoy your Friday and let me know if you make this and how it turns out. Remember to enjoy it with a cup of Vanilla Coffee and to share it with the ones you love!

xovox (hugs & vanilla kisses), the Vanilla Chef (aka Tracy Reddekopp)


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