This year, I’ve watched Jacques Pepin demonstrate chocolate roulade on Essential Pepin on PBS, and Anna Olson make her version of chocolate roulade on Food Network’s Bake. Both times, cracking of the roulade either occurred or we were warned about the likelihood. In my search over the years for a Bûche de Noel that wouldn’t crack, I came across a recipe in a newspaper that makes a roulade that has never, ever cracked for me. The recipe couldn’t be easier – just five ingredients and it comes together in less than an hour (compared with three to four hours for Julia Child’s traditional recipe (see Julia’s Bûche de Noël Recipe with Improved Directions). This recipe is attributed to Mrs. Connie Douglas, “fashion copywriter and mother of three.” I don’t know where I was living at the time to be able to name the paper, and the little recipe may have even come from a women’s magazine. All I can tell you is that it really works. The finished roulade is light as a cloud, with a very gentle flavor.
The roulade with coffee-flavored whipped cream filling can be served at any time of year. Anna Olson filled her roulade with a chocolate whipped cream, added cherries to the filling, and then iced the whole thing with vanilla whipped cream to make a Black Forest Roulade. In the years when my children were small and time was very limited, I used canned icing to fill and frost it to make a Bûche, and almond paste to make the “mushrooms.” You are only limited by your imagination.
Below is the original recipe, and then a recipe for chocolate whipped cream filling and frosting if you choose that option. Using white modeling chocolate instead of meringue to make mushrooms for the Bûche would also be a time-saver.
(Serves about 8)
- 5 Egg yolks
- 5 Egg whites
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 3 T. unsweetened cocoa
- Approximately ½ cup powdered sugar for covering cake and garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whip egg whites until stiff.
- Sift icing sugar with cocoa, and then add gradually to the egg whites beating constantly.
- Beat egg yolks until lemon colored, then fold into whites.
- Spread batter on buttered wax paper-lined 10”x17” cookie sheet. Smooth batter, and work into all corners.
- Bake 20 minutes.
- Using fine sieve, sift powdered sugar in a thin layer over all of the cake.
- Cover with a tea towel, and then cover with another cookie sheet.
- Remove hot cookie sheet, and gently and carefully remove the wax paper. Run spatula under the sides of the cake.
- Sift a thin layer of powdered sugar over the entire cake, and gently roll up in the towel and let cool, seam side down.
- Make coffee-flavored filling (or chocolate filling and frosting):
- Gently unroll cake and spread filling over cake. Reroll. Cut a small slice off each end with a very sharp knife to reveal filling.
- Using an offset spatula slipped under one end of the roulade, transfer it to a serving platter.
- If making a Bûche, ice the outside of the roulade as well as the inside, and run a fork (tines down) from one end to the other to create a bark effect (see Julia’s Bûche de Noël).
- Sift powdered sugar over the finished roulade. (I put strips of waxed paper or Saran wrap under the sides of the roulade to catch powdered sugar that would otherwise fall on the serving plate.)
- Remove strips, and refrigerate until serving (up to about 8 hours).
- Just before serving, decorate with artificial mushrooms, if desired, having sifted a little cocoa powder over them.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Powdered sugar to taste
- 1 rounded teaspoon instant coffee
In a chilled bowl and with chilled beaters, whip heavy cream sweetened to taste with powdered sugar and instant coffee until stiff.
Chocolate Whipped Cream for filling and Icing:
- 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
In a chilled bowl and with chilled beaters, combine all ingredients and whip until stiff.