American Cooking: New England, baking, Buche de Noel, chocolate-maple buttercream, chocolate-maple roulade, crabapple jam, elderberry jam, Foods of the World series, how to make Italian-meringue frosting, jam-filled roulade, Random Recipes, recipes for chocolate-maple buttercream, rolled sponge cake, roulade recipes, Shop Local, We Should Cocoa
As I am a dedicated member of the segment of society known as chocoholics, the We Should Cocoa challenge that is hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog is one of my favourite blogging events. I also enjoy surprises and am an adventurous baker who likes to try new recipes, so the format of Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes challenge, where you choose a recipe to make by opening a random cookbook to a random page, particularly suits me.
Understandably, I was delighted to hear that Choclette and Dom of Belleau Kitchen were teaming up to have a chocolate Random Recipes challenge this month. When I started thinking about all the dozens of chocolate recipes lurking in my stash of cookbooks, I was so excited that I immediately dropped everything and ran down to the kitchen to pick out my recipe.
I have the names of all my cookbooks written out on slips of paper, and I jumble them up on a table and then pick one out with my eyes closed whenever I’m doing Random Recipes.
When I looked at the slip in my hand, I was disappointed to find that I had drawn one of my Foods of the World cookbooks, American Cooking: New England. Now don’t misunderstand, I love Time-Life’s Foods of the World series. In fact, I consider them my favourite cookbooks and part of the reason why I ended up following a culinary path. However, for this particular challenge, it wasn’t a very inspiring pick. There were only four chocolate recipes in the book.
I picked the bûche de Noel. How boring, I thought. I’ve made dozens of rolled sponge cakes.
And then I took a closer look at the recipe, and realized that I actually hadn’t done so badly. The cake was frosted with chocolate-maple buttercream (Italian meringue-style, with whipped egg whites and hot syrup). I had never tried anything like that before, and it sounded perfectly divine.
The cake was also supposed to be filled with crabapple jelly. I diligently searched the shelves of my hometown’s Pennsylvania Dutch market, figuring that if any place would have this commodity, it would. No luck. However, they did have a local elderberry jam, which seemed like an appropriate substitute.
Elderberries, like crabapples, are one of those fruits that used to be common, but have become a bit of a rarity these days. I had never tasted elderberries before, and was keen to give the jam a go.
The berries make a dark, strong-flavoured jam with a good amount of tartness. The closest parallel I can cite is lingonberries, which have a similar “woodsy” flavour, that allows the jam to cross over from the sweet to the savory side of the kitchen. I think elderberry jam would go very nicely with a lamb roast or chops.
But it also matched well with the flavour of the maple-chocolate frosting, which was as marvelous as I had hoped. I don’t use chocolate and maple together enough; the pairing is delicious.
The cake itself, which called for a bit of cornstarch, some vanilla extract, and the unique addition of several tablespoons of cold water, was one of the most enjoyable sponge cakes that I’ve ever made. And to think that I was disappointed when I first drew the recipe.
As I used the local elderberry jam (you can find it here, if you’re interested in trying elderberries), I am also submitting this recipe to the Shop Local challenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
Maple-Chocolate Roulade with Elderberry Jam
Adapted from Time-Life’s American Cooking: New England
Ingredients:For the sponge cake: 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons cornstarch 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder 4 eggs, separated 1 cup granulated sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 3 tablespoons cold water For the maple-chocolate frosting: 2 egg whites ¾ cup maple syrup 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces ¾ cup elderberry jam Cocoa powder for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 10 ½-by-15 ½-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease and flour both the paper and the sides of the pan.
- Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder for the cake and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 4 egg whites on high speed until frothy. Gradually beat in ½ cup of the sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
- Now place the egg yolks in the bowl of the stand mixer (you don’t have to bother washing the bowl and whisk), along with the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cold water. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow and thick enough to hold a trail for a few seconds when dropped from the whisk.
- Add the vanilla, and then beat in the sifted flour mixture on low speed, adding it a few tablespoons at a time.
- Stir a dollop of the whipped egg whites into the batter to lighten it, and then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and place it in the oven.
- Bake until the sides of the cake are pulling away from the pan and the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18-20 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately flip it out of the pan onto a piece of wax paper. Peel away the piece of parchment paper from the bottom of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, and then trim off the edges. (They are always crisper than the rest of the cake, so removing them makes rolling up the cake a little easier.)
- Spread the elderberry jam in a thin layer across the still-warm cake and then, starting at one of the long edges, roll the cake into a tight cylinder. Set aside to cool.
- To make the frosting, pour the maple syrup into a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat until a small amount dropped in ice water forms a soft ball, 238°F on a candy thermometer.
- When the syrup has almost reached the required temperature, place the 2 egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat until they are frothy and increased in volume.
- Once the syrup has reached the soft ball stage, quickly stir in the chopped chocolate. Turn the mixer onto high speed, and carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream.
- Continue whipping until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and then beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and dust the top with cocoa powder.
- Cut into slices and serve.
Yield: 16 servings
Dominic Franks (@belleaukitchen) said:
my word, that is the most stunning and perfectly rolled roulade! Thanks so much for the amazing entry x
Alexandra McDermott said:
Thank you, Dom! Great challenge this month–loved the joint theme.
So pleased this didn’t turn out to be a disappointment after all. It sounds delicious and your photographs are fantastic. I can’t seem to get a good roll to save my life, but you look like you’ve cracked it. I make elderberry rob, which is a syrup made from honey and elderberries meant to ward of coughs and colds, but I’ve never tried making jam with it. Thanks for joining in the challenge 🙂
Alexandra McDermott said:
Yes, it was delicious–so glad that I picked it! I firmly believe the trick to rolling roulades is to trim off the edges of the cake: they always crack and splinter because they’re crisper than the center. Since I’ve started using this trick, I’ve never had a bit of trouble!
The rob sounds delicious. My brother and sister, who are singers, are always drinking hot tea with honey and lemon to help their throats when they have colds. They would probably love it!
It turned out beautifully!
Alexandra McDermott said:
Thank you, Elizabeth.
Oh this sounds positively heavenly! Thank you for sharing with Shop Local! 🙂
Alexandra McDermott said:
My pleasure, Elizabeth. The cake was delicious, and it was fun to try a new ingredient. Especially a local one!
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