One of the surest signs that summer is on the way to Munich is the re-emergence of my local fruit stand on Munich’s Sonnenstraße. Perched in the most unlikely place amid the hustle and bustle, trams, buses, commuters and traffic of this busy street, this fruit stand appears only for the summer months. Piled high with berries, figs, avocados and other treats from around the globe, it always has tempting produce and prices. It’s dangerous because I walk past it on my way home from the supermarket, and even if I’m loaded down with groceries I seem to always find room for a couple of trays of juicy looking berries. And we all know what happens to berries in this household. Cake!
I’m not sure if there is a cake I like more than Chocolate Sponge Roulade. It is my ultimate backup cake. For birthdays, impromptu dinner parties, or even for days when I just feel like something sweet, this is what I make. I love it because it doesn’t matter where you are, or what kitchen equipment you have, you can still produce a stunning looking dessert in next to no time. No special cake tins, no special equipment other than a whisk or beater, yet it always gets oohs and aahs of appreciation when brought to the table. Proof positive that some recipes are classics for a reason.
Classic Chocolate Berry Roulade
for the sponge:
- 3 large eggs
- 125 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 75 ml neutral oil
- 75 g plain flour
- 50 g cocoa
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar, extra
- butter to grease the pan
- 50 g dark chocolate
- 250-500 g mixed berries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
- 250 ml cream
- 2 Tbsp icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornflour / cornstarch
- Heat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Line a half sheet pan (standard oven sized, rimmed baking tray approx 46 x 33 cm) with baking paper and grease well with butter.
- Using an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes, then drizzle in the oil, beating continuously until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gently, but thoroughly fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg mixture, ensuring it is well combined but keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Spread evenly over the prepared baking tray, then bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until risen. Meanwhile, lay a clean tea towel on the benchtop and sprinkle generously with the additional 2 tablespoons of sugar. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then invert the warm cake onto the sugared towel - be brave!
- Carefully peel off the baking paper, turn the paper over and replace, then starting from one of the short sides, roll up tightly using the paper and towel to assist. Allow to cool at least 15-20 minutes before filling.
- While the cake is cooling make the decoration and filling. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Spread over one side of a piece of baking paper, fold the baking paper in half then roll into a tube, securing with a rubber band. Place in the freezer until needed. Wash and drain the berries well, hulling and chopping the strawberries.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks, drizzling in the icing sugar and cornflour while the beaters are on low speed, then increase the speed to high and whip to stiff peaks.
- Unroll the sponge, spread with cream, leaving a 2cm border at the end which will be the seam. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons cream for decoration. Scatter over some of the berries, then re-roll tightly. Transfer to a serving platter or plate and chill until ready to serve, at least an hour or two to allow the cake to stabilise.
- When you are ready to serve, trim the ends, spread the reserved cream down the middle of the roulade. Top with the berries, then unroll the chocolate from the freezer. It will break into large shards which you can place amongst the berries. Surround the roulade with any remaining berries and serve immediately.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am on a gluten-free diet. Can I make this roulade gluten-free?
Sure, there is so little flour in this cake anyway, just replace it with your favourite brand of gluten-free flour.
I am on a dairy-free diet. Can I make this roulade dairy-free?
While I have never made this roulade dairy-free, coconut cream can be whipped beautifully and would be perfect for this roulade. You need to chill a whole tin of coconut cream (not milk) overnight. The next day, scoop out the cooled solids and whip with sugar and vanilla to a light and fluffy cream. For a recipe of this size, you may need 2 tins.
How do I flip the roulade! I’m scared!
No need to be scared, you just have to channel your inner Julia Child and go for it! Letting the cake cool for a couple of minutes when it comes out of the oven will stabilise it, but don’t leave it too long as it gets harder to roll. If the worst happens and the cake slips or breaks, just patch it back together and cover it with a bit more cream. Nobody will notice, I promise!
Can I make this in advance?
I think sponge roulade is delicious the day after it is made, so I would say yes! Alternatively, make the sponge up to the point where it is first rolled in the towel, cool, then store in an airtight container for up to two days. Fill and decorate before serving.