Chocolate roulade is a beautiful thing. It’s light, creamy and packed full of flavor. You can fill it with whatever you want, my favorite is fresh raspberry but it goes equally well with cherries, strawberries and pretty much any other fruit or jam you can think of.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
- Grease a swiss roll tin or strong baking tray with a rim to it. The tin should measure 23 x 33 cm.
- Now, cut a sheet of baking or greaseproof paper which will be large enough to line the base and sides and sit above the rim of the tin by 4 cm all around. You need it there to support your roulade as it cooks and rises. Fit your paper into the tin and fold it into each of the corners. Run your hands over the paper so it sits flat. Cut a couple of slashes into each corner piece of the frame above the rim using scissors. It allows expansion. Lightly grease the paper with sunflower/groundnut oil. Set the tin aside.
- Wash your hands with hot water and soap so you remove all traces of oil from them before you start to make the cake. Any oil on your hands as you handle the eggs may stop them from rising. The same is true of the mixing bowls you use and the beaters on your whisk. Rinse them in boiling water then dry them with a clean cloth using clean hands if there’s any risk that they have any trace of oil on them. This can make the difference between a superb result and a flat experience!
- Separate the eggs – putting the whites into a large mixing bowl.
- Put the yolks into an equally large bowl and then add the caster sugar to them.
- Whisk the yolks and sugar for at least 5 minutes or until light, moussey and increased in volume using an electric or free-standing or other effective hand whisk. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate. Find a heavy bottomed saucepan. Break the chocolate into individual squares and drop them in. Add the water and coffee granules. Put the pan onto the lowest possible heat on your hob and without leaving it for a second, stir slowly with a wooden spoon until it is creamy and completely melted. If you don’t have a very heavy pan, put the chocolate, water and coffee into a bowl sitting over (base clear of) a pan of barely simmering water. If the mix gets too hot or the base touches the water the chocolate will solidify and be useless so take care here.
- Pour the chocolate into the egg yolk mousse and fold it in gently using a large metal spoon and light movements. Try to retain the air and work lightly.
- Whisk the egg whites until they are light, frothy, increased in volume and almost stiff but not at that grainy hard stage. Use completely clean beaters so they work.
- Tip the whisked whites into the chocolate mousse. Fold them in gently using large light scooping movements and that large metal spoon. The odd spot of white doesn’t matter.
- Pour the roulade mix into the tin, as evenly as you can. Tease it gently into the corners with a blunt knife. Don’t be rough with it. Keep the air in. Now bake for 12-14 minutes but check progress after 8 minutes. Try not to open the oven door before it’s done though. A cooked roulade looks a bit browned on top (not singed – judge it) and it may have risen or even have a few cracks in it. Don’t panic. The cake may sink when you take it out but again you can cope with this and still have a magnificent result.
- Sit the cake in the tin on a cooling rack. Leave for 10 minutes or until its completely cold.
- Make and fill the roulade just 10 minutes before you want to serve it.
- Whisk the double or whipping cream in a cold bowl until it is softly whipped using a whisk. Don’t over whisk or it hardens and spoils the texture. Add the vanilla and icing sugar after 30 seconds. Taste for balance.
- Spoon half the cream onto the cold cake. Spread it evenly to cover using a metal spatula. Don’t press the cream down. Scatter a few raspberries or other fruit on there. Add the remaining cream and then the fruit.
- Now for the roulade acrobatics – you need to remove the cake from its tin by rolling it up as you go.
- Find a round or oval serving plate or board that’s large enough to take your cake.
- Sit it at the end of the cake as it is in its tin still. Have the cake in the tin sitting in front of you with the short end towards you. Take hold of that short end and roll it away from you towards the serving plate, carefully peeling off the baking paper as you roll. It may crack and bits of cake may stick or come away but just keep going steadily. When its nearly there, looks like a swiss roll and there’s just a bit of paper hanging on, lift it up and roll it onto the plate. It’s easy when you’ve done it the once. Just before serving, dust it with a little sifted icing sugar.
- You can decorate with candles or extra fruit or leave it as it is.
- Serve at the table. Use a very sharp knife and spatula for a clean finish.