I think one of the first things my husband and I ever baked together nearly 10 years ago was a Chocolate Roulade. In those days I definitely didn’t have the sweet tooth I have today, but this was Will’s favourite dessert, so Chocolate Roulade it was. I have no idea where we found the recipe but I remember it having a lovely hint of orange running through the rich dark creamy chocolate. I doubt we had the necessary swiss roll tin and we definitely didn’t have the luxury of a Kitchen Aid mixer, but we had a giggle putting it together and if the memory serves right, it was quite a success. Will still talks about it to this day!
A couple of weeks ago I was out for dinner with the girls, catching up on everything we’d been up to whilst enjoying some lovely food at a little restaurant in Barnes called Annie’s .One of the girls, Hanny, works for a publishing company and she kindly brought along some books for us. So rather than being a book club where you have to read the book, this is a book club where you just get given books. Sounded like my kind of club.
One of the books was a pretty looking baking book called Seasonal Baking by Fiona Harris, which had pages and pages of beautiful looking sweet and savoury delights. Probably prettier than I’m capable of pulling together but upon flicking through I couldn’t help but spot the chocolate roulade recipe. I told them all that this was Will’s favourite dessert, but I hadn’t made one in about 10 years. Kate, said it was her husband, Alex’s, favourite dessert too and as they were coming round to dinner in a few weeks, it should definitely be the dessert!
So the challenge was set.
Try to reproduce a dessert that Alex’s mum has clearly been making him for years whenever requested and also satisfy Will’s memories of an amazing chocolate roulade made 10 years ago.
No pressure. At least icing sugar can hide a thousand sins.
I had a tough time deciding which recipe to go for as there really are an endless number of chocolate log recipes out there. So, I handed the decision to Kate and she opted for the traditional Delia Squidgy Log versus the Paul Hollywood chocolate peppermint log. Go traditional and by one of the cooking masters, how could it go wrong?!
It was actually a reasonably simple dessert to knock up for what is quite an impressive looking dessert. With the rolling you just had to go for it and not be overly tentative or you run the danger of getting stuck half way.
The result was a lovely light airy chocolate sponge, oozing with rich chocolate filling and of course the delicious whipped cream. I was quite impressed that you could really see the roll of the sponge and each individual layer of sponge, chocolate mousse and cream.
I thought a slab of the roulade might be enough for the boys but after a 30 minute break they both went for seconds, which is a seal of approval in my book.
Serves 8 (or 4 in our case!)
You will need a tin 30cm x 20cm x 2.5cm, buttered or oiled and the base lined with baking parchment
For the sponge:
6 large eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
For the filling:
225 dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into small pieces
100ml warm water
2 large eggs, separated
225ml double cream, whisked (although I ended doubling this!)
Santa model (if you wish)
For the chocolate filling:
Break up your chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Once your chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and beat in your egg yolks until you have a smooth consistency.
Whisk your egg white till stiff and once your chocolate has cooled slightly, fold them into the chocolate mixture.
Cover your bowl with clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for about an hour.
For the cake:
Place your egg yolks in a bowl or a kitchen aid mixer and whisk until they start to thicken. Then add your caster your sugar and continue to whisk till the mixture thickens more – but not too thick so keep an eye on it.
Sift in your cocoa powder and whisk again.
In a separate bowl whisk your egg whites until you have soft peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into your chocolate mixture, but make sure it’s mixed thoroughly, then pour the mixture into your lined swiss roll tin.
Bake your cake for 20-25minutes until it is springy and puffed up.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Don’t worry if it shrinks a bit, this is meant to happen!
For the assembly:
Whip the cream softly in a bowl.
Liberally dust some baking parchment that is larger than your tin.
Once the cake is totally cool, turn it out onto your baking parchment.
Peel away the baking parchment from the bottom of the cake which is now your top.
Gently spread the chocolate mousse filling over your cake using a pallet knife.
Next spread the whip cream over your chocolate mousse as gently as you can! I ended up whipping up more double cream, I just thought it looked like it needed more cream.
For the rolling:
With the shortest end nearest you, make a slight indentation across the width with your pallet knife about an inch from the edge. This will allow you to start the rolling process easier.
Using the baking parchment, roll the cake away from to begin to form a log shape.
Don’t worry when the sponge cracks, it is meant to.
Dust with icing sugar for a proper festive look.
If you manage to have any left, you can cover the cake and keep in the fridge for late night munchies!