Arsip Tag: roll

heavenly chocolate cake roll – smitten kitchen

This is one of my family’s three cakes. The first one, a sour cream cinnamon chocolate chip coffee cake, came from my grandmother and her sisters, and my husband occasionally (but very quietly) threatens to skip family events if nobody is planning to make it. Nobody knows the origin of the second cake, my mom’s apple cake, but if you’ve gone to a housewarming party, well, ever and not brought it, well, I think you should have. And this is the third one. We make it on Passover but frankly, there’s nothing especially Passover-ish about it, aside from the absence of flour. There’s no ground matzo, theme of exodous or anything particularly religious about the way it is put together. In fact, while we’re being honest and stuff, there’s something particularly unholy about the way it’s put together in that growing up I used to call it the “sh*t” cake in honor of the word that kept slipping from my mother’s mouth as she tried to roll it without it cracking. It always cracked. I’m surprised my mother hasn’t killed me yet for sharing her yearly spasm of colorful language on my internet website, but I disappear after this post, well, you know…

bittersweet, in convenient 6 oz package
melted chocolate

I attempted to sidestep the expletives a few years ago and shared a doubled version with you that was stacked four high, a layer cake of the finest proportions. I included directions for making it as a roll cake — i.e. like a Yule log, or a Yodel, or a Ho-Ho… — but it seemed wrong not to have a post entirely devoted to the way we actually make it at home, and so I decided I would update the rolled recipe this year. Seeing photos of the process helps, I reasoned.

egg yolkspale yellow yolks and sugaregg whites, stiff peaksfolding egg white cloud into chocolate
the finished batter is light, foamysifting unsweetened cocoa over

Of course, they only help if I manage to pull it off with some semblance of success but while the cake usually cracks once or twice, the version I made on Monday must have sensed that a) I was on my fourth day of being sick and really not in the mood to be cooking and then shuffling off to the suburbs for dinner and b) that I was expecting the cake to be ready for its photographic close-up and decided to rise to the occasion by sighing and then slumping into itself like a shuffled deck of chocolate cake chips after it was rolled.

the sad pile of cake chips

Um, delicious cake chips but seriously, this take was so bad that I decided it high time to find a new approach to my family’s beloved cake. I was on a mission! And food blogs, I love you. There are a million big food machine websites out there, but not a single one of them offered the tip I consistently saw across food blogs, which was to roll the cake while still warm in a tea towel and let it cool in a spiral. This seems to set the threads of the cake in the right direction, so that when you unroll the cooled cake, spread the filling and re-roll it, it doesn’t groan and fight you at every turn. I’ll admit that I didn’t wait for my cake to fully cool before unrolling it — patience has never been my particular virtue — so there was a crack, but it was on the inside and all but disappeared when re-rolled. 36 years later — my mother has been making this since 1975! It’s older than me! And him! — this might be the most intact version of the cake yet. Sheesh, I mean, it took long enough!

peeling back parchment
the next day, with a tea towel
unrolled, a little sketchy looking
whipped cream, slightly overwhipped
chocolate cake roll, yodel/ho-ho style

One year ago: Classic Cobb Salad and Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce
Two years ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns and Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper
Three years ago: Caramelized Shallots, 17 Flourless Dessert Ideas and Peanut Sesame Noodles
Four years ago: The Most Tart Margarita

Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll
Adapted from Jean Hewitt for The New York Times, June 8, 1975

Every time I have a slice of this cake, I wonder why we don’t make it more often. The realm of flourless cakes tends to be populated with brick-like truffle cakes but this one manages to be intensely chocolaty but also featherlight. They also tend to be flooded with butter and while you will never hear me complain about the presence of butter in a cake, the absence of it in this cake allows it to almost float away. We can’t let that happen, so it is anchored it with the most minimal frosting we know, whipped cream. The cold sweet cream against the airy bittersweet cake is, as far as I’m concerned, perfection itself. And it doesn’t exactly hurt that the cake looks like a pinwheel. Or a Yodel. Or a Ho-Ho. You know, whatever your poison may be.

[Updated 5/9/11: To clarify some cake rolling confusion, pointed out by a helpful commenter. The prior directions had you roll the cake with a piece of waxed paper underneath, towel on top. In hindsight, the cake is much easier to roll with a towel underneath, as my photos show. Apologies to anyone who ended up with (delicious) cake chips because of this!]

Cake layer:
6 ounces semisweet bittersweet chocolate, chopped or 1 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons water or strong coffee
6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (use more if you prefer a sweeter filling)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons liqueur of your choice, such as Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or oil a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking or jellyroll pan. Line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of waxed or parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.

Melt chocolate with water or coffee in a small saucepan over very low heat until it is 75 percent melted. Remove from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are pale and ribbony. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into the chocolate-yolk mixture to lighten it. Fold the remaining whites into the cake batter in three additions. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cake layer feels dry (but very soft) to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It will still seem a little underbaked.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes. Gently remove towels; don’t fuss if they have a bit of cake stuck to them. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. Sift one tablespoon cocoa over the top of the cake and cover the cake with a thin tea or flour sack towel [Updated, see Note above] that is a little longer than the pan. Place the back of a baking sheet or a large flat tray over the towel and invert the cake and paper onto it. Gently peel back the parchment or waxed paper that lined the pan. Sift the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder over the top of the cake (that was, one minute ago, the underside). Using the towel underneath to help lift and roll the cake, roll the cake from short end to short end with the towel inside. Let cool completely, encased in its towel.

Once cool, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Get your serving plate ready and place it near your cake roll. Gently unroll chocolate cake and remove tea towel. [Try to get the tea towel to the hamper without touching anything, as it is saturated with smudgy cocoa and trust me, can mess up a white kitchen fast.] Spread whipped cream filling evenly over cake. Gently use waxed or parchment paper once again to reroll cake. Place on serving platter, seam side down.

If you’re fancier than us, you can now garnish it with shaved white or dark chocolate or even a drizzle of each, melted; raspberries are pretty too. Serve immediately in 1-inch thick slices or refrigerate until needed. This cake is best to serve on the first day it is made. It’s still delicious after that, but the whipped cream filling does begin to deflate a little into the cake spiral.

About this cake’s origin/name: When I first wrote about this cake in 2007, I was unable to find the original New York Times article my mother had clipped the recipe from but after finding an almost exact match of my mother’s recipe in a 2001 Gourmet, attributed the name and cake to it. Now that The New York Times online archives are in better order, I was able to find the actual article my mother read on a June day the year before I was born promising that you couldn’t go wrong if you made this heavenly chocolate dessert on Father’s Day. In this version, there are a bunch of minor changes, such as using coffee instead of water with the chocolate, vanilla extract in stead of Grand Marnier, and much less of it, more whipped cream filling (which I find unnecessary) but less sweetener in it (which I preferred) and the option to roll the cake from the short end, which my family always does. I prefer most of these original nuances, as that’s the way my mother always made it, but give some hybrid suggestions above. Neither recipe origin recommends pre-rolling the cake with a towel, but I picked that tip up from various food blogs and find it essential in virtually eliminating cake cracks.

Note: There’s a four-layered version of this cake in the archives.

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ice cream cake roll – smitten kitchen

Wait, come back! No matter how charming Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood made them look on that early episode of Great British Bake Off, I know how most of us feel actually feel about making rolled cakes, which is that they’re the worst: pesky with separated eggs, fragile, cracking, prone to failure, causing foul language to leave the mouth of the person cooking. (“You owe me a quarter, mom.” “Not if you want cake.” is a conversation that might or might not happen around here on Passover.) But this one is different. With flour and cocoa inside, plus an additional egg, it’s stretchier and softer, and it doesn’t fight you so much when you want to roll, unroll it, and then reroll it. And you want to do all of these things because this is one of the prettiest ice cream cakes I’ve ever made, and much easier and faster than it looks.

getting startedstiff egg whitesbeat egg yolkssift dry ingredients over

This is one of those old-school recipes I’d seen bouncing around for years and studiously avoided due to an inherent and well-earned distrust of rolled cakes. But then it showed up in a new book this spring, The Vintage Baker*, there as a holiday-ready peppermint cake roll, and I couldn’t resist any longer. I love this story behind this book, which is that one day a decade ago, Jessie Sheehan, then a baker at the new Baked bakery in Red Hook, went into an antique/junk shop with her not-exactly-patient toddler in a stroller that didn’t exactly fit in the narrow aisles, something I can relate to just a little bit. She spotted boxes filled with brightly colored antique recipe pamphlets, the kind that were once distributed by brands as a thank you for purchases but really were just brilliant marketing devices, since all the recipes called for that brand’s goods, and in a haste to leave, scooped up as many as she could carry. She ended up going back for more and more, amassing quite a collection, and the resulting baking she did — with flavor and ingredient tweaks for modern tastes — is assembled in this book. Butterscotch pecan curls, pull-apart cinnamon raisin pull-apart flake bread, sand tarts, sour cream jumbles, and cornflake macaroons, I want to make everything in it. But I think I started in the right place.

batter into prepared panbaked cakedollop, then spreadrolled, ready to freeze

I took many liberties with the recipe. As written, it has a whipped cream filling and ganache topping. But it’s almost summer and I want ice cream, don’t you? I went to the store to find mint chocolate cookie (a flavor from the heavens, obviously) but came up with only cookies-and-cream. I decided to stick fully with the cookies-and-cream theme, swapping a little black cocoa powder (the “Oreo maker”) into the cake roll to get it extra dark. And I while skipped the ganache topping because it felt luxurious enough but if it was, like, your birthday, I’d definitely serve some hot fudge sauce and whipped cream on the side.

cookies and cream ice cream cake roll
cookies and cream ice cream cake roll

* I am no neutral observer of this book. If you spotted a very elaborate photo in my last cookbook for all of those one-bowl build-your-own party cakes, that was Jessie Sheehan who swooped in to help me bake, frost, and assemble them, saving the day. I got to preview this book over the winter and loved it so much, I blurbed it too.

Tomorrow! I’m going to demo a strawberry-ready recipe on Instagram Stories (@smittenkitchen) at 1:15pm EST. It’s been a while since I did one (I think they’re really fun, my kids are just useless at holding the phone camera) and I’m looking forward to it. Watch it live and you can ask questions while I cook and I’ll do my best to answer them on the fly. Hooray! [Live recipe demo on @smittenkitchen Instagram Live Stories on Friday 2/24 at 1:15pm EST.]


One year ago: Tall, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Potatoes Anna, and Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake
Two years ago: Confetti Cookies, Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Yogurt, and Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars
Three years ago: Mushrooms and Greens with Toast, Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, and Fake Shack Burger
Four years ago: Five Egg Sandwiches, and Soft Pretzel Buns and Knots
Five years ago: Japanese Cabbage and Vegetable Pancakes and Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano, and Two Classic Sangrias
Six years ago: Warm Crisp and a Little Melty Salad Crouton, Chocolate Buckwheat Cake, and Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
Seven years ago: Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, Vermontucky Lemonade, and Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Eight years ago: Leek Bread Pudding, Oatmeal Pancakes, Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash, and Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake
Nine years ago: Endive and Celery Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette, Rhubarb Cobbler, and Broccoli Slaw
Ten years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Cauliflower Bean and Feta Salad, Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca, and Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Eleven years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu, Roasted Cauliflower with Pumpkin Seeds and Brown Butter, and Apple Strudel
2.5 Years Ago: Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing and Apple Cider Sangria
3.5 Years Ago: Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish and Sticky Toffee Pudding
4.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Egg Pizzettes and Perfect, Uncluttered Chicken Stock

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