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Chocolate Genoise, Chocolate Sponge Cake

Chocolate Genoise (chocolate sponge cake) is light as a feather.  This cake will absorb lots of syrup for an extra layer of flavor and moisture.

a slice of Chocolate Genoise filled with chocolate cream

How many chocolate cake recipes could a person possibly need? I’ve already posted a recipe for Chocolate Butter Cake, if that cake is so good, why would we need another recipe?

Well, different types of cakes are good in different ways.

I love chocolate butter cake because it’s soft and buttery with a very tender cake crumb. It’s perfect filled and iced with Italian Meringue Buttercream.

When I want a lighter cake that I can douse with a flavorful syrup, it’s time to make a classic Chocolate Genoise.

What is Chocolate Genoise? 

Chocolate Genoise is, basically, a chocolate sponge cake. Sponge cakes get most of their structure from whipped eggs. 

Like every sponge cake recipe, Chocolate Genoise is balanced more towards structure builders than tenderizers. This mean the cake is not only light and airy from the whipped eggs, it’s also strong and resilient.

Strong and resilient? Hmmm, that is not a very tempting description of a cake. Bear with me though, because we’re not done making a great Genoise once it’s baked.

The next step is to add another layer of flavor and moisture with a generous dose of sugar syrup.

How to use sugar syrup to make a great Chocolate Genoise (chocolate sponge cake)

  • As the name chocolate sponge cake implies, thanks to that strong and resilient texture, this cake can take in a lot of moisture. 
  • If you add too much syrup to a tender butter cake it could become soggy and pasty. But Chocolate Genoise can absorb a whole bunch of syrup and maintain it’s lovely, light crumb.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to make this cake without the syrup. For a Genoise, the syrup is integral to the flavor and texture of the cake.
  • That’s why I include the syrup as an ingredient for this recipe. The cake is not done until you add the syrup.
  • I’m partial to rum with chocolate cake – remember, alcohol enhances other flavors! But if you don’t want to use alcohol, vanilla or coffee syrup would be wonderful as well.
  • Whether you add the alcohol or not, make the syrup very flavorful so you can really taste it when you eat the cake.

Watch the recipe video to see how to make Chocolate Genoise.

Because Chocolate Genoise is so light and airy, I particularly like it filled and iced with Chocolate Whipped Cream or Chocolate Mousse.

It’s also really good filled with Chocolate and/or Vanilla  Pastry Cream for a version of Italian Rum Cake and it is the base for a classic Black Forest Cake.

If you love this cake, I’m sure you’ll love my Vanilla Genoise too!

a chocolate genoise layer cake filled with chocolate cream

a partially eaten slice of chocolate genoise filled with chocolate cream


If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it a 5-star review.

***RECIPE NOTE*** You will see in the video that I sift the cocoa with the flour. I have changed the recipe to add the cocoa with boiling water for extra moisture and a deeper chocolate flavor. The entire process is the same as you see in the video except for the addition of the cocoa

chocolate genoise filled with chocolate cream

Chocolate Genoise, Chocolate Sponge Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Light as a feather Chocolate Genoise (chocolate sponge cake). This cake will absorb lots of syrup for an extra layer of flavor and moisture. I like to add a bit of rum to the syrup, but you can use vanilla or coffee, whatever flavor you'd like. This classic cake is especially delicious with whipped cream or mousse.


  • 8 tablespoons (4 oz, 113g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz, 140g) cake flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz, 55g) dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) granulated sugar


  • 1.5 cups simple syrup(that's a double batch) flavored with liquor or extract of your choice.
  • Filling & icing of your choice


  1. Line the bottom of two 8" cake pans with a parchment round, or butter and flour the pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F (don't use the convection setting).
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, cook until the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and become brown. Drain the butter into a small bowl, leaving the milk solids in the pan. Stir the vanilla into the browned butter and set aside.
  3. Place the cocoa into a small heat proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Put the eggs & sugar in a mixer bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until the eggs are lukewarm. Put the bowl onto the mixer and whisk until the eggs are tripled in volume.
  5. Sift half the flour over the egg mixture and use a balloon whisk to fold, repeat with the remaining flour. Pour the cocoa into the browned butter and whisk until smooth. Whisk 2 cups of the egg batter into the cocoa/butter mixture and whisk to combine. Use the whisk to fold the cocoa/butter mixture into the batter just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
  6. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  7. Cool completely before filling and frosting.


  1. Trim the top of the cake to level, if desired, split each cake into two layers.
  2. Brush the layers generously with syrup before filling & icing.

Did you make this recipe?

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Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup

Yield: 3/4 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Simple syrup is a pastry kitchen staple. Use it to add a layer of flavor to your favorite cake or stir it into iced tea or a cocktail.


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 125 ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (3 oz, 85g) granulated sugar
  • liquor of choice to taste (I would use about 2 tablespoons)


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan
  2. Heat over medium high heat just until all the sugar is melted
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before adding the liquor/flavoring.


The simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Without the added liquor, this syrup is also great for sweetening iced tea or lemonade.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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