Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Cake Roll

I first made this amazing cake for my son's fourth birthday. This year, he requested chocolate-mint cake for his home birthday party, but Chocolate Cake Roll to share with his classmates.

Since each recipe makes ten generous servings, we needed two cakes to feed the whole class. And since I have only one jellyroll pan, it was a good time to find out how this dessert held up to being frozen. I prepared one cake last week, froze it, baked another the next day, froze it, and thawed them both in the fridge yesterday. They came out beautifully!

The not-too-sweet chocolate cake recipe came from Diana's Desserts, but instead of just whipped cream, I use a cream cheese filling that makes people swoon. Another time you might try filling the cake with cooked custard cream, or softened ice cream.

If you've never attempted a cake roll before, BHG.com has an excellent illustrated tutorial here. Note that the tutorial shows rolling from the short side of the cake, but this recipe rolls from the long side. My recipe is rich enough that you don't need a large spiral slice!

While the cake is beguilingly tender, the outside ends up with a crackled "crust" nearly resembling tree bark. In its unsliced form, this cake would not look out of place against a backdrop of evergreens, or autumn leaves.

Chocolate Cake Roll

  • 1/3 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • (about 1/4 cup powdered sugar)

Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tub whipped topping, thawed

First, preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a 15 x 10 jellyroll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the lined pan. 

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir out any lumps. 

Separate eggs, placing whites and yolks into separate mixing bowls. 

Whip the egg whites at high speed till foam. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar while continuing to beat till stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Add 1/2 sugar to egg yolks. Beat on medium speed till fluffy (you can use the same beaters you just used on the whites). 

Fold 1/3 beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Alternately fold in the flour mixture and the remaining egg whites. Pour batter into floured pan and smooth surface to fill pan as evenly as possible. 

Bake (at 350 F) about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes.

Now comes the tricky part. :)

Rolling the Cake:

Spread a clean tea towel (thin, cotton) out on your counter. I like to spread it out on a cooling rack or a cutting board. Dust it evenly with powdered sugar in a rectangle the same size as the jellyroll pan. 

Loosen edges of cake from pan, if necessary. Carefully turn cake out onto dusted towel. Pull off the parchment paper. If cake is cool enough, this is a good time to trim any uneven edges. Now roll cake up with the towel, starting from a long side. 

Cool towel-wrapped cake on a wire rack for an hour or two.  Prepare filling.

For Filling:
Whip cream cheese and sugar till light. Beat in vanilla. Fold in whipped topping. Chill till ready to use.

Filling the Cake:

Gently unroll. Don't panic if the cake cracks! It doesn't have to be perfectly flat.

Spread filling over cake, leaving 1/2 inch margin along the sides. Roll cake up again, and place seam-side down on tray or platter. You can dust it with extra powdered sugar if you like. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till serving time. 


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