Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Roll With Cappuccino Cream

This is my holiday Yule log. I've been making it since it first appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 1991. Many years I've made two so that my husband can take one to his office party.

I usually make the cake part ahead of time. I wrap it, still in the pan, and make filling the next day, just before serving.

Don't be daunted by all the steps in the recipe. It's really very easy. There's no flour in this cake. It's made by simply separating the egg yolks and whites, whipping the whites, adding the yolks to the melted chocolate then carefully folding the two parts together. It rises in the oven and then settles on cooling.

Don't forget that when melting the chocolate for the cake 1/4 cup of water is needed. It's not in the ingredient list, but in the instructions. You put it in the bowl before starting to melt the chocolate. I've been melting mine in the microwave slowly for years.

I've long since stopped adding the gelatin to the cappuccino cream. Whipped firm, the cream holds up fine for a few hours. There won't be any leftovers anyway!

I also have found that no matter how little cinnamon I add to the cream, it is always too strong, so I now leave it out.

I'm posting this now because I'm thinking about how much I'll miss Gourmet Magazine. I first read it in the 1980s before I learned to cook. It taught me to dream big in terms of food and that no recipe was beyond me. Most especially, that there are places to go and wonderful food to try all over the world.

I'm sure that everyone has their favourite Gourmet Magazine recipes. This is mine. I'd love to hear what yours are.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Chocolate Roll With Cappuccino Cream
For the cake
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the filling
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup well-chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

For the garnish
1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
a pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
5 chocolate coffee beans

Make the cake:
Line a lightly greased 15- by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with foil and grease the foil. Line the foil with wax paper and grease the paper. In the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup water, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of the sugar for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale and ribbons when the beaters are lifted, and beat in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla. In another large bowl beat the egg whites with the salt until they are frothy, add the cream of tartar, and beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat the whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir one fourth of the whites into the chocolate mixture and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a metal spatula. Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is puffed and just set. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. (The cake will be puffed when it comes out of the oven but will sink as it cools.)

Make the filling:
In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons cold water and let it soften for 5 minutes. Heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved, and let it cool for 5 minutes. In a bowl combine the cream, the espresso powder, and the cinnamon and beat the mixture until it holds soft peaks. Add the confectioners' sugar, sifted, and the gelatin mixture, beat the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, and chill the filling, covered, for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl stir together the cocoa powder and the confectioners' sugar and sift about half of the mixture evenly over the cake. Cover the cake with a sheet of wax paper, invert a baking sheet over the paper, and invert the cake onto the baking sheet. Peel off the foil and wax paper carefully and mound the filling lengthwise down the center, leaving a 1-inch border at each end. With a long side facing you and using the wax paper as an aid, roll up the cake jelly-roll fashion, keeping it wrapped in the wax paper. (The cake will crack but it will still hold together.) Chill the cake, wrapped in the wax paper, on the baking sheet for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Transfer the cake to a platter, remove the wax paper, and trim the ends on the diagonal. The chocolate roll can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Sift the remaining cocoa mixture over the cake.

Make the garnish:
In a chilled small bowl beat the cream with the espresso powder, the cinnamon, and the confectioners' sugar, sifted, until it just holds stiff peaks, transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small flute tip, and pipe it decoratively on and around the cake roll. Garnish the roll with the chocolate coffee beans.


  1. It's beautiful! I'm considering making a yule log for Christmas Eve this year, so thank you for the recipe and especially for the tips. I'm not a fan of gelatin, so it's good to know it can be left out!

  2. This would look fabulous on Christmas table, thanks for sharing! And merry Christmas! :)

  3. This looks absolutely delcious, AND STUNNING! I love the idea of cappucino cream. YUM!

  4. That looks amazing! I've been seeing so many yules and have, in fact, been a little daunted. Thanks for reassuring us that it's really not that difficult.

    So sad about Gourmet magazine. I had actually just began subscribing to it this year and was making more recipes from it than other cooking magazines I subscribe to.

  5. I too am going to miss Gourmet terribly. I have more recipes from their holiday menus than I would care to admit. Sometimes I would cook the entire section for Christmas dinner. Sigh.

    Never made a yule log, but this version sounds terrific!

  6. This is just gorgeous Clivia! What an elegant dessert, so perfect for the season.

  7. looks beautiful! I haven't made a regular yule log in forever- just the frozen/ice cream version but yours looks perfect

  8. This brings back great memories. I used to make a chocolate and whipped cream roll for the holidays, with little meringue "mushrooms" on the side. Yours looks gorgeous!

  9. I've been thinking about making a yule log cake this year. This recipe looks perfect, thanks!

  10. I made this in 91 when it came out in Gourmet and again the following year. I lost the recipe until finding it here. Awesome dish!! Thanks


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