This cake is an adaptation of the Cordon Bleu Chocolate Roll as recorded in Camille Glenn’s The Art of Delectable Desserts. I want to say how easy it is to make, and it is. I felt a bit daunted by the task initially, but after making it several times, the fear recedes and intuition takes over. I now wouldn’t hesitate to make it on a whim. It feels to me like eating a chocolate cloud. Perfect after a rich meal.
So, I was planning my entry for the GuardiaCare Chocolate Dreams competition and settled on this cake. I won no prizes, but got lots of oohs and ahhs from the tasters. Even without winning, the evening (actually the whole day) wasn’t a waste though, because I was fortunate enough to have a table next to Fred Moore of Coco’s Chocolate Cafe (1759 Bardstown Rd) and spent a good part of the evening talking about our lives as small business owners. (By the way, Fred did a gingerbread cake with lemon infused syrup and chocolate ganache for his entry – divine!)
When I first read the recipe for the roulade in Camille’s book I was lured by the story behind the recipe’s inception. Her recipe called for whipped and slightly sweetened cream. This led me to a brief reverie of my childhood. When I was growing up, mom used to make brownies for her church circle meetings and top them with mocha whipped cream. Using just a hint of instant coffee in the whipped cream elevated the flavor. Even as a child and before I began drinking coffee, I loved it. Just slightly bitter, but balanced with the sugar and vanilla extract.
I put these two ideas together. A match made in heaven. But, for the competition, I wanted to give the dessert yet another layer. Texture mostly because the cake is so light and fluffy. I wanted the tasters to at least have to chew a bit. The cake itself melts on the tongue. I decided to come up with a toffee that would bring together crunch with a repeat appearance of coffee and chocolate. Here it is.
Mocha Roulade with Coffee-Chocolate-Toffee
- 8 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 oz (by weight) semi sweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup water or cool coffee
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of table salt
Butter an 11×17 baking pan and line with parchment paper, letting the paper extend over the long edges of the pan. Butter the paper. Preheat the oven to 350.
Melt the chocolate and water together in a heavy bottomed pan. Cool slightly. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until emulsified, and the mixture falls like ribbons from the beaters. Mix the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture until well incorporated. In a clean bowl with clean beaters or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt to firm peack stage. Fold the egg whites into chocolate mxture in three stages, mixing gently but thoroughly. There should be minimal if any streaks of white in the batter.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from oven, cover with a clean, damp cloth and cool to room temp. Remove cloth and loosen cake from pan edges. Dust with about 1/4 cup cocoa, and cover again with a clean towel. Place a large cutting board over the cake and invert. Remove the pan and carefully peel away the parchment paper. Spread the whipped mocha cream over the cake and roll the cake, jelly-roll fashion into a log using the towel to pull and turn the cake and keep the cake tightly wound.
The cake will most likely crack, it is to be expected. Move the cake onto a serving platter.
Mocha Whipped Cream
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1-3 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
Whip all the ingredients together until stiff peaks form. Use to fill the roulade. Save about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream to add a dollop on top of the sliced cake.
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbls lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2-3 Tbls finely ground dark roast or espresso roast coffee beans
- 6-8 oz chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (chips work well)
Stir together the water, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon juice and salt in a 3 quart or larger pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occassionally. Once boiling, do not stir again, but lift the pan and swirl to prevent burning and to ensure even browning. Set the timer for 12 minutes once the mixture begins to boil and watch and swirl every few minutes. Once the toffee has reached a rich golden brown, remove from heat and pour onto prepared pan. Spread with an offset spatula to an even thickness. Sprinkle the coffee ground evenly over the hot toffee, then sprinkle the chopped chocolate. Allow the chocolate to turn completely glossy and wet, then spread with the offset spatula to an even layer. Cool completely, then break into shards. Good luck not eating it all. Serves about 12, with plenty of toffee left over.