Saturday, April 18, 2009

3. Jelly Roll p. 159 {B@H/CIA}

One happy consequence of having a chef for a father ~ and living nearby my parents ~ is that I'm rarely called upon to cook holiday meals. My job is usually to make dessert, and I'm pretty happy about that.

This Easter, against my better judgment, I went ahead and violated one of the great tenets of holiday-meal preparation: Go with what you know. Everyone knows that the worst possible time to experiment with a new recipe is when you are responsible for serving that recipe to a holiday gathering of assorted friends and family members. So, naturally, I prepared not one, but 5 new recipes. More and less successfully.

I chose my primary desserts from the Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of Americabook. Looking over the selections, I settled on jelly rolls, which looked like fun and were easy to customize. The Jelly Roll recipe appears on page 159, where it's shown filled with Chantilly Cream (p. 281) and apricot preserves. Although I love the sound of that combination, I wanted to make the jelly rolls a day in advance, on Saturday, so I decided against using Chantilly Cream in favor of a more stable filling. I flipped back to browse the "Icings, Glazes, and Sauces" chapter, and it took only about 2 minutes to find what I wanted.

My two jelly rolls would be filled with Lemon Curd with Italian Buttercream (p. 274 and p. 279) and Raspberry Jam with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache (p. 284). I'd never made sponge cake, Italian buttercream, or the CIA versions of lemon curd or whipped ganache. I took inventory and started making my grocery list.

I prepped my lemon curd early, which was a good thing, because even though it had about 48 hours to chill and set, it was still pretty loose. In retrospect, I might have either cooked it longer or added a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up. I also made the ganache in advance. Ganache is a great recipe to have in your arsenal. It's so versatile, doing duty as a sandwich-cookie filling, cake frosting, glaze, truffle center, etc. Depending on the amount of cream in your recipe, the flavorings you add or omit, and whether or not you whip it, ganache is extremely flexible in application and very simple to prepare. It also keeps well in the fridge, so you can make it a few days in advance and keep it on hand to use as needed.


The cake for the jelly rolls was a basic sponge, lightened and leavened by separating several eggs, beating the yolks and whites separately, and then recombining them. The recipe called for cake flour, which I didn't have on hand, so I decided to substitute.

unrolling Cake flour is lighter, or "weaker" (speaking in terms of gluten content), than all-purpose flour, so it produces a more tender end product. No one likes a tough sponge cake, so substituting was a dicey proposition, but after doing a little bit of research, and checking with the incredibly helpful and generous Zoe Francois, I used a blend of AP flour and cornstarch to substitute for the cake flour.

Cake flour substitution ~ Makes 1 cup

Place 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a measuring cup; fill cup to level measure with sifted AP flour.

I triple sifted the flour blend and the end result was light enough to make me feel comfortable with using it in place of cake flour.

The recipe was easy to follow and straightforward enough to lead me ~ a roulade novice ~ through two jelly rolls in one afternoon with no breakage.

spreading-buttercream The one issue I found troublesome was a glitch that I amended the second time I prepared the recipe. The instructions call for the flour, the salt, and the vanilla extract to be scattered “all at once” over the whipped eggs, then folded in. Perhaps it was the cornstarch in my flour, but adding the liquid extract along with the dry ingredients proved to be a big mistake. It formed rubbery lumps that were impossible to disperse without breaking down my egg foam, and they did not dissolve upon baking. {That’s right ~ those rubbery brown lumps appeared in my finished jelly roll. Yerck.}

spreading-lemon-curd The second go-round, I eliminated this issue by folding the extract into the beaten egg before scattering the dry ingredients over. Success! I would repeat this even if I were using cake flour ~ seems a better choice intuitively to add the extract with the wet, not dry, ingredients.

raspberry I’ve fallen in love with sponge cake now. This is so tender, so light and delicious. Like a richer, more indulgent version of Angel Food Cake. And if separating the eggs and whipping them into foam sounds like a lot of work, consider that there’s no added fat in this recipe, so the step of creaming butter is eliminated. I can’t wait to experiment with more flavor combinations against this very versatile cake base. A hit!



Elyse said...

Yay! I'm so glad these were a hit. What great sounding flavor combinations. I've yet to make a roll cake; I've always been afraid. But, now, you've given me some courage, and I think I'm going to try this out!

Sarah said...

Great pics! That looks fabulous...I am seriously looking into getting that cookbook.

Ooh, and the chalk drawings are cute!

Sandy Smith said...

~Elyse: I was so relieved when I unrolled the towels and the cake unrolled smoothly and in one piece, let me tell you! Now that I've done it, I can't wait to try other filling combos. Really, it's a terrific cake to play around with, especially if you want something other than a layer or Bundt cake. The CIA recipe was a good one!

~Sarah: Thank you! This cookbook has some great stuff in it ~ it's a good "technique" book to work through. Regarding the chalk art, my kids do an annual Easter driveway greeting. They don't do much chalk art at their ages, but this is a holdout. It's so cute; they really get into it. :)

Zoe Francois said...

Your sponge looks so lovely, light and fluffy! Perfect. I'm sure it was all delicious!

Teanna said...

WOW NO WAY! That looks AMAZING! I'm dying to get that CIA book! It's next on my list and you've just sold me on it again!

The Duo Dishes said...

Jelly roll cakes are fun. We've yet to try one filled with jelly. Instead we've done whipped cream, which is a bit easier to manhandle. Yours looks like a job well done.

oneordinaryday said...

What great flavor combinations! I've only made one cake roll, but I'd like to try this recipe too. Not nearly as hard as I thought it'd be and it looks so lovely when you're done, doesn't it? You did a great job.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Great post. They look so good, thanks for the tips, I love your CIA baking projects.

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