recipe || chocolate cake roll

I needed to make a gluten-free dessert for our small group this past week and came across several on the Smitten Kitchen Blog (love it) and the one that jumped out to my chocolate adoring heart was this Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll. I wasn't able to go to our small group that night but J came home with an almost empty platter and extremely encouraging remarks from our friends, which a few text messages later verified. Hooray! 

And I was glad to have a little bit left to enjoy myself with a cup of coffee. 

For the Cake Layer

6 ounces semisweet bittersweet chocolate, chopped or 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons water or strong coffee

6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or oil a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking or jellyroll pan. Line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of waxed or parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.

Melt chocolate with water or coffee in a small saucepan over very low heat until it is 75 percent melted. Remove from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are pale and ribbony. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into the chocolate-yolk mixtures to lighten it. Fold the remaining whites into the cake batter in three additions. Pour batter into prepared and smooth top. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cake layer feels dry (but very soft) to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It will still seem a little underbaked.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes. Gently remove towels; don't fuss if they have a bit of cake stuck to them. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. Sift one tablespoon cocoa over the tops of the cake and cover the cake with a thin tea or flour sack towel that is a little longer than the pan. Place the back of a baking sheet or a large flat tray over the towel and invert the cake and paper onto it. Gently peel back the parchment or waxed paper that lined the pan. Sift the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder over the top of the cake (that was, one minute ago, the underside). Using the towel underneath to help lift and roll the cake, roll the cake from short end to short end with the towel inside. Let cool completely, encased in its towel.

For the Filling

1 cup heavy or whipping cream

2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (use more if you prefer a sweeter filling)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons liqueur of your choice, such as Grand Marnier


Once cool, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Get your serving plate ready and place it near your cake roll. Gently unroll chocolate cake and remove tea towel. (Be careful as your towel will be covered in cocoa powder.) Spread whipped cream filling evenly over cake. Gently use waxed or parchment paper once again to reroll cake (I just used my hands). Place on serving platter, seam side down.

Serve immediately in 1-inch thick slices or refrigerate until needed.

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen.

I love her site. You must, must check it out! Also, she has pictures with this recipe which were very helpful for my visual learner brain. My roll did not turn out nearly as beautifully as hers, but her story with it made me feel better, and it still tasted excellent. Enjoy!