Chocolate Cake Roll

My mom came over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I decided to make a dessert I had been eying for a while, to try and impress her.  My mom is kind of impossible to impress especially in the kitchen, (since she’s an incredible cook) and on top of this, she’s not even a big fan of desserts – Unbelievable! But this little guy actually did the trick. Hurray! Hopefully this made up for that time I burned her bean soup while watched novelas :-/ 

I give you the Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll.

I made a few alterations to the recipe, mostly because I like to keep my baking as simple as possible. Since I don’t have an exceptionally large kitchen with loads of cabinets to house all the pots and pans I’d like to have, I constantly try to save space and get creative with the items I do have. That means re-using things a few times during a baking project and changing the order of steps in a recipe to suit what I have on hand at the time. I find that a lot of the recipes online tend to get really detail-oriented and fussy for no reason at all. A few chefs in particular are guilty of this, dare I say even my beloved Ina tends to exaggerate how many plates, pots and spoons you usually need. I think that’s why making something for the first time is always trickier and more time consuming than making it for the 2nd or 3rd time. 

Regardless, this recipe was absolutely delicious. Chocolate lovers beware, this will make all your dreams come true! It is intensely chocolaty but also remarkably light; the dark bittersweet chocolate combined with the cold sweet cream makes it impossible to put this treat down and since it melts in your mouth almost instantaneously, you just keep eating and eating and eating. In fact, this is the first cake that I have eaten in less than 24 hours and since my boyfriend was out of town, I basically ate most of it myself, (minus the few slices mom enjoyed).

Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Cake layer:
6 ounces semisweet bittersweet chocolate ( Make sure you use a high quality chocolate as this is the most prominent flavor in the cake. I used Scharffen Berger)
3 tablespoons espresso 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 a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking pan and line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.

Beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks.

Melt chocolate with espresso in a small saucepan until it is 75 percent melted. Then remove from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are pale and thick. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.

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 the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel for 10 minutes. Remove the towels, run a knife around the edges of the cake and remove the cake from the pan, inverting it on top of a towel. Gently peel back the parchment paper that remains. At this point you should find yourself with the cake laying on top of your towel, without any parchment paper on top. 

Beat the heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Spread the whipped cream evenly on the cake, then using the towel underneath lift and roll the cake until it looks like a pinwheel or Ho-Ho.

Remove the towel, dust with coco powder and place on serving platter, seam side down. 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 beyond delicious after that, but the whipped cream filling does begin to deflate a little as time goes by.

Note: The original recipe asked for this cake to be rolled up while hot, using a towel. Then unrolled once it was cool to add the whipped cream, and rolled up once more for the final Ho-Ho look. However I found the cake to be far too delicate to roll and unroll so many times. Not to mention, by the time I had taken it out of the pan and removed the parchment paper, it had already cooled significantly since it’s not a very thick cake to begin with.

Hope you take some time to make this one. You won’t regret it, except maybe when you look at the scale the next day. But some things are worth gaining weight for.


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