One of my favorite cakes to bake is this flourless chocolate roulade. It's super fun to make and looks so pretty when you're done! It's a variation of Mary Berry's recipe, which was made popular on the Great British Bake Off back in 2011.
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What is a roulade?
This term refers to the spiral shape of cakes such as a Swiss roll. This type of dessert is made from a thin, rectangular sponge spread with a filling and rolled up in a spiral. It is typically cut in thin slices and enjoyed at teatime.
Roulades can also be made from meringue, and can even be made from savory ingredients, such as beef or salmon.
What is the difference between Swiss roll and roulade?
These two desserts are actually the same shape, but the exact type of cake and filling used will vary depending upon the flavor. The main difference between a chocolate roulade and a Swiss roll is that a roulade is rolled up after it's completely cooled. With a Swiss roll, you'll want to roll it up while it's still warm so it doesn't crack.
How do you know when it's cooked?
The cake is baked when it has a thin, crisp crust on top. Since it doesn't contain flour, it will look and feel different than a traditional sponge.
How do you roll a roulade?
- Turn the cooled cake onto a large piece of parchment dusted with icing sugar.
- Peel off the parchment from the cake and spread it with the whipped cream.
- Use a serrated knife to cut about an inch from a short edge. This short piece is the beginning of the roll.
- Fold over this short piece and start rolling as tight as you can, using the parchment paper to help.
- Don't worry if some cream oozes out the ends; this is normal.
- Once it is rolled up, trim the ends to neaten it and use a cake lifter to place it on a serving platter.
Why does it crack?
The cake is actually rather brittle and isn't as flexible as a traditional sponge, so it will crack as you roll it up. This is part of it's rustic charm, so don't worry if you notice some cracks. However, if it is cracking severely, you may have overbaked it.
Can you roll a roulade the next day?
Yes, you can. Just bake the cake, let it cool completely, cover tightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and store at room temperature overnight. Do not fill it with the whipped cream until you're ready to serve.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Yes, you can bake it up to a couple of days ahead. Once the roulade is rolled up with the whipped cream inside, it's best eaten within 24 hours. Be sure to refrigerate it, as the cream is perishable and can't be kept out on the counter.
The roulade really does taste best within a few hours of assembling, as the cake will begin to soften from the cream. If you want to make this dessert for company, don't assemble it until right before they arrive.
Can you freeze it?
The roulade can freeze for up to 1 month. It's best to roll it up and pre-slice it, then freeze it in zip-top plastic bags or an airtight container. Dust it with additional icing sugar once it has defrosted in the fridge overnight.
- Be careful not to overbake, or the roulade will crack too much and be too dry.
- Let the cake cool before rolling it up. It will crack a lot more if it's still a little warm!
- Love peppermint? Add ⅛ teaspoon of peppermint extract before whisking the cream.
- Roll it as tightly as possible. Don't worry if some of the cream squeezes out; you can clean it up afterwards.
- The roulade should crack a little as you roll it up. The cracks make it look attractive, and won't affect the flavor.
- Save the trimmings from the ends and eat them as your reward for baking the roulade. Once you've trimmed the ends, you'll get 9 slices from this dessert.
You'll definitely want to try these other recipes fit for a chocoholic!
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This flourless chocolate cake is so moist and delicious! It’s based on Mary Berry’s classic recipe from the Great British Bake Off. Make it from scratch and enjoy a special treat.
Making the Cake (45 min)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter the base and sides of a 9x13-inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper. Also, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
- Place the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is fully melted, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Beat the egg whites with a handheld electric mixer until stiff peaks form. The mixture should not fall out of the bowl when it's turned upside down.
- In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together with a handheld electric mixer. The mixture should be increase in volume and be pale in color. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should fall in a thick ribbon that holds its shape for a couple seconds before sinking back into the mix.
- Gently fold the melted and cooled chocolate into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, making sure they are fully mixed.
- Put two large spoonfuls of beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture and stir it in carefully to slacken the mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites until no white flecks remain. Sift in the cocoa powder and fold it in, being careful not to knock the air out of the batter.
- Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan, tilting the pan to move the batter into the corners. Make sure the batter is level.
- Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is well risen and the top feels a little crisp. Be careful not to overbake. Put it on a wire rack and let it cool completely in the pan.
Assembling the Roulade (15 min)
- Put a large sheet of parchment paper on a big cutting board and sift a little icing sugar all over the paper.
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into a medium mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer until the cream forms fairly stiff peaks.
- Turn the cake out onto the sugar-dusted parchment paper and carefully peel off the paper. Spread the whipped cream evenly on top, making sure to leave 1 inch uncovered all the way around.
- Turn the cutting board so a short side of the cake is facing you. Using a sharp knife, cut almost all the way through the cake about an inch in from the short end. Start the roll by pushing this little strip over, then roll it up as tightly as you can. Use the parchment paper to help. It will crack as it's rolled.
- Trim the ends with a sharp serrated knife, then dust the roulade with more icing sugar if desired. Transfer it to the serving platter with a large cake lifter. Serve within a few hours.
- Be careful not to overbake, or the roulade will crack a lot and be dry.
- Let the cake cool before rolling, or it will crack far too much.
- Give it a mint flavor by adding ⅛ teaspoon of peppermint extract before whisking the cream.
- Roll the cake as tight as you can. If some cream squeezes out, that's okay; you can clean it up.
- It will crack as you roll it up, so don't worry; it's part of this dessert's charm.
- Eat the trimmings from the ends. You'll get 9 additional slices out of this cake.
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: English
Keywords: chocolate roll recipe, best chocolate roulade recipe
This recipe was originally published on January 5, 2018.