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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dark Chocolate Roulade with Raspberry Cream


For Father's Day I'll be serving my dad this light and fluffy dessert. It does require a few steps but none are too difficult and it's certainly worth the trouble for a special occasion.

Because the chocolate cake is really just a large, flat souffle made of egg whites and dark chocolate, there isn't any flour and this dish is gluten-free. There is also no added sugar. The filling is composed of cream and raspberries, which makes it just sweet enough and unbelievably light.

This isn't a dessert to make in advance. You can bake the chocolate cake a few hours in advance, but the longer you wait to fill and roll it, the higher the chance of it cracking. And because the filling is made with freshly whipped cream, it's best served immediately. I plan to bake the cake before the meal, and when the time comes for dessert, it will take just a few minutes to finish.

8 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
6 egg whites
Pinch sea salt
1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and mashed with their juices (about 1/2 cup thawed)
Unsweetened cocoa powder to garnish

  • To make the chocolate cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. 

Add the chocolate and 1 cup of cream to a glass or stainless steel. Set it over a saucepan filled with an inch of water (the bottom of the bowl should not be in contact with the water). Warm it over low heat until the mixture is warm and the chocolate is just melted. Do not over-heat the chocolate. Remove it from the heat and whisk until smooth. Set it aside to cool slightly.

While the chocolate melts, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a 10x14 inch baking sheet at least one inch deep (cut it 12x16 inches or larger). Make a slit in each corner and fit it into the corners of the baking sheet. Butter the parchment paper on both sides and place it on the baking sheet. Set it aside.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, separate the eggs, adding the whites to a large non-reactive mixing bowl. (Save the egg yolks to make Béarnaise Sauce or Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème.) Add a pinch of sea salt to the egg whites and whisk or whip them into stiff peaks.

Add approximately a third of the chocolate mixture to the egg whites, stir it in gently with a rubber scraper, then gently fold in the rest. Don't fold it too much, just until it's smooth and homogenous.

Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread it out evenly and transfer it to the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, just until it is set. Do not over-bake (this will also cause cracking). Cool it completely to room temperature.

  • To make the Raspberry Cream:
Whip the remaining cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the thawed, mashed raspberries with all of their juices until they are evenly distributed.

  • To assemble the Roulade:
Transfer the chocolate cake with the parchement paper to a clean working surface. Spread the Raspberry Cream evenly over the top, leaving a 2-inch margin along one of the longer sides. Smooth the top.

Slowly and carefully, roll it horizontally, starting with the longer end that has cream all the way to the edge, ending with the edge that has a 2-inch margin. Peel back the paper as you roll, removing it from the inside surface but leaving it intact on the outside surface. (If it does crack, the cocoa powder garnish at the end will help minimize any imperfections, as long as it hasn't been over-baked.)

Make sure that the roulade is seam-side down and squeeze it gently to fill any air pockets and secure its shape. 

Serve the roulade right away or transfer it to the fridge until ready to eat, storing it wrapped in the buttered parchment paper to keep it moist.

To serve, trim away the uneven ends and cut 1-inch slices. Place each slice on a serving plate and use a fine mesh strainer to dust it with unsweetened cocoa powder.

NOTE:  The roulade is easiest to cut when chilled, but more likely to crack. It is softest at room temperature, but the raspberry cream filling is more likely to smudge when cut. For best results: chill the roulade briefly in advance, cut it carefully using a knife dipped in hot water between slices, and allow the slices to sit at room temperature briefly before serving.

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