Pecan-Crusted Oat Flour Genoise

December 26, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one 9-inch cake
Author Notes

This is a riff on a splendid recipe from Flavor Flours (Artisan 2014) by Alice Medrich. —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons (38 grams) brown sugar (it’s fine to use ordinary brown sugar -- dark is more flavorful than light. If you want to go all out, use a real raw sugar such as light muscovado sugar. Big wow.)
  • 1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium fine
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (100 grams) oat flour
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, cold
  • generous 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • 9 x 2-inch round pan
  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • Medium mesh strainer or sifter
  • Fine mesh strainer (or tea strainer)
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix the softened butter with the brown sugar and spread it evenly over the bottom, and about 3/4 of the way up, the sides of the pan. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with the nuts; use your fingers as necessary to stick the nuts to the sides of the pan. Set aside.
  3. Cut the butter in chunks and put in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan near the stove. Put the fine strainer and a 4 to 6 cup bowl nearby for later -- the bowl needs to be big enough to hold the butter and accomodate some of the batter.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the oat flour with 25 grams (2 tablespoons) of the sugar.
  5. Put the remaining sugar, eggs, and salt in the mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the mixture on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is tripled in volume and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted.
  6. While the eggs are beating, brown the butter: Cook the butter over medium heat until it is melted and bubbling. Continue to cook, whisking gently until the butter is golden brown and the milk particles suspended in it are a bit darker. Immediately strain the butter into the bowl you've set aside.
  7. As soon as the egg mixture is whipped, remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift 1/3 of the oat flour mixture over the eggs. Fold until the flour in almost blended. Repeat with half of the remaining flour. Repeat with the rest of the flour, folding until all of the flour is blended.
  8. Scrape about 1/4 of the batter over the hot butter. Fold until the butter is completely blended into the batter. Then scrape this buttery batter over the remaining batter and fold just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springy on top and barely beginning to shrink from the sides of the pan.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Slide a slim spatula around the sides of the cake and unmold it onto a rack. Immediately turn the cake right side-up and place it on another rack to finish cooling.
  10. Serve the cake right side-up or nutty side-up, whichever looks better to you. Either way, you can sift a tiny bit of powdered sugar on top. Or not.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • heatshank
  • Cinnamin
  • BavarianCook
  • KurrerBell
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

16 Reviews

DEBORAH48 February 2, 2018
Can I use Almond Flour or coconut flour, instead of oat flour
havefaith November 6, 2017
This recipe looks amazing, but the instructions seem like you have to be a bit of a baking expert. Is it as difficult as it seems? Also, I'm concerned it will stick to the pan. Does this happen?
mindela June 23, 2018
it isn’t difficult at all, as long as you’re as organized as alice suggests. here’s my suggestion to alleviate sticking: put buttered parchment on the bottom of your pan, and, if you’re still a bit nervous, bake it in a springform pan. it is a lovely cake, well worth the effort!
patty September 19, 2017
I find it impossible to spread the butter/sugar mixture evenly to coat bottom of pan. Is there a method to this?
Janice M. February 20, 2017
Looks wonderful, I'm making it this weekend and wondering why you have to flip the cake over after you've inverted it. Don't upside-down cakes usually stay resting with their bottoms up?
Leandra B. February 10, 2017
Brown butter is nectar of the Gods. This cake was so good, I didnt worry too much about getting the butter/brown sugar evenly spread and it worked fine. The butter will melt and spread evenly when it bakes. I used einkorn flour since it's what I had and it paired beautifully with the brown butter!
Julie M. March 9, 2016
Has anybody tried this with Earth Balance vegan butter? I've never tried making 'brown butter' with it.
Aisha May 14, 2016
Hi Julie. I made this yesterday with coconut oil and it turned out beautifully, if you're looking for a vegan alternative to butter. I didn't brown the coconut oil, just melted it. The cake did take on a flavor of coconut (which I was aiming for), and I amped it up by using unsweetened shredded coconut in place of the nuts as the coating. Hope that helps.
heatshank May 13, 2015
This cake was great. I used gluten-free oat flour and followed Jan's lead below, adding 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cardamom, and the zest of one orange. I served it w/ rhubarb curd, fresh strawberries, and homemade whipped cream. Delicious!
Jan I. April 2, 2015
Thanks to the previous comment from Lmkltk, I added a small amount of cinnamon (1/2 tea), cardamom (1/4 tea), and the zest of one orange to the cake batter. It was divine! I've made it twice and there is never a crumb left after two days.
Josie M. March 6, 2015
We loved this cake. So tasty, most, and nutty. I have two comments about the instructions. I had to bake this cake for about 45 minutes (it was jiggly before that). I also recommend putting a rimmed tray under this cake while baking because butter leaked out through my cake pan and smoked up my kitchen. I will definitely make this again!
Cinnamin February 18, 2015
The cake looks amazing and the technique sounds so interesting! Why do the eggs have to be cold?
Lmkltk January 22, 2015
Made it tonight for a friend with Celiac's. I doubled the softened butter/sugar for the pan, and next time I'll mix in the nuts and add a bit of lemon zest. Using parchment paper and the flat of a measuring cup helped spread the nut crust evenly. The cake itself turned out quite well, fluffy with a nice fine crumb.
BavarianCook January 17, 2015
Oh MY! The brown butter in this cake makes a fantastic fragrance while it's baking. This is going to be my birthday cake and we will serve it with a small scoop of ice cream. Thanks for a great recipe!
KurrerBell January 14, 2015
This is a lovely cake reminiscent of something you'd eat with strong coffee in a cozy Middle European cafe at the end of a cold afternoon. Or maybe with ice cold lemonade on a southern porch at the end of a hot afternoon. Either way, it's evocative and soulful, this cake.
Karishma January 3, 2015
This looks so good! I have so many oats, so i'm definitely going to have to try this out :)