Chocolate Apricot Swiss Roll

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Hello hello!

Sorry about the post delay – yesterday was a bit of a crazy day about campus (and of course, all of the first round end-of-semester due dates).

To compensate for the fact that there’s been no chocolate on this blog for the past couple of months, here’s your second week in a row of chocolate-y goodness to get you through those last couple of weeks before Thanksgiving at last. Fantastically wonderful, light and fluffy chocolate-y goodness at that.

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Contrary to the whole dessert blog, I’m actually not super into the decadent and heavy recipes that are about 83% butter. To this day, my mental image of “cake” isn’t the traditional bakery style birthday cake type of cake, it’s actually the fluffy, ultra sponge-y chiffon cake that you find at Asian bakeries that my mom was basically addicted to adored when she was growing up. Incidentally, I had a lot more slices of thick, fluffy Swiss rolls filled with an ultra thin layer of whipped cream than sprinkles-speckled vanilla as a kid.

(And don’t get me started on the once-in-a-blue moon $1 bags of cake scraps laying on top of counters filled to the brim with cakes of all shapes and sizes. Getting to the grocery stores at just the right time to grab one before they’re all snatched up in seconds? Basically like Christmas coming early.)

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For this recipe though, we’re deviating a bit from the Swiss rolls of my childhood by slightly upping the whipped cream-to-cake ratio. We’re also adding a healthy layer of apricot preserves mostly because I miss Vienna already, and also because they’re bright and pretty and make for a very fall-looking cake roll for your next pre-holiday season gathering. That being said, basically any sort of fruit jelly would make an amazing substitute (chocolate and strawberries, anyone?), or even something a little bit heavier like Nutella – just be sure to thin it out with a teeny bit of milk to help it spread without smooshing the delicate chiffon cake underneath!

The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for? Go make the Swiss roll of dreams (and then, go make like 3 more because there is no such thing as impulse control with these seriously addictive swirly slices). Hope you enjoy!

Happy Thursday,
Anne

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Chocolate Apricot Swiss Roll

Makes one cake roll

Ingredients:

Chocolate Chiffon Cake:
65 g (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
20 g (3 tbs) cocoa powder
5 large eggs, separated to whites and yolks
90 g (about 6 1/2 tbs) granulated sugar, separated to 30 g (2 tbs) and 60 g (4 1/2 tbs) portions
40 g (5 tbs) milk
40 g (5 tbs) vegetable oil

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs granulated sugar (or more to taste)

To Serve:
Apricot preserves
2 tbs chocolate chips
2 tbs heavy cream

Directions:

Chocolate Chiffon Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 340 °F. Line a 9″ x 13″ sheet pan with parchment paper, then lightly grease the edges.
  2. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder until well combined.
  3. Beat the 60 g of sugar into the egg yolks until well mixed, then whisk in the vegetable oil and milk.
  4. Add the flour to the egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, gently whisking in just until no visible dry clumps remain. Set the mixture aside.
    Tip: Especially after the first two additions, you will still see lumps in the batter after the dry, white clumps are mixed in. That’s okay! It’ll more or less smooth out after the third addition, and any lumps should be small enough not to make a difference once the cake is baked.
  5. Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand or electric mixer and start whipping at a slow/medium speed. While the egg whites are still foamy, add the remaining 30 g of sugar in 3 additions about 20-30 seconds apart. After the third addition, whip the egg whites on high until the stiff peaks stage.
    Tip: When the egg whites are fully whipped, the mixture should be glossy and you should be able to lift the beaters out to leave a sharp standing peak behind that does not bend over.
  6. Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, gently folding in the whites until just until no large lumps remain.
  7. Pour the mixture into the remaining 2/3 of the whipped egg whites and gently fold together just until no streaks remain.
  8. Divide the batter into your cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back slightly when depressed.
  9. Using a small knife, gently pry the 4 sides of the cake away from the cake pan.
  10. Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar on one side. Place the towel sugar size down on top of the still-hot cake pan, then place a large wooden cutting board on top of the kitchen towel.
    Tip: It is very important to do this almost immediately after the cake out of the pan! If the cake cools too much, it will be too stiff to roll properly, and your cake will crack!
  11. Using oven mitts, carefully sandwich together the cutting board and cake pan with the cake and kitchen towel in between, and flip the whole thing over so that the cutting board is on the bottom laying on top of the table.
  12. Gently remove the cake pan, leaving the still-hot chiffon cake on top of the kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper, then dust the exposed side of cake generously with powdered sugar.
  13. Gently roll up the chiffon cake and kitchen towel tightly to form the classic Swiss roll shape. Set the rolled chiffon cake aside to cool.

Whipped Cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, whip together the sugar and heavy cream to firm peaks. At this point, when you lift the beaters from the mixture, the whipped cream should form a peak that bends over slightly at the tip. Set aside for filling!

Assembly:

  1. Gently unroll the chiffon cake roll.
    Tip: To prevent the cake roll from cracking, as you start unrolling toward the inside of the spiral, start rolling the “outside” end of the cake roll back up. Imagine your chiffon cake is one of those ancient scrolls that curl inward from both ends – as you unroll the inside end, you should roll the outside end up. This prevents cracking by keeping the cake mostly rolled up.
  2. Smear on a generous layer of apricot preserves on the unrolled interior of the chiffon cake, then add a thick layer of whipped cream on top.
  3. Roll the Swiss roll back up, continually adding apricot preserves then whipped cream onto any newly exposed part of the roll until you reach the outside edge.
    Tip: The whipped cream will probably get squished forward toward the unrolled portion as you roll – don’t worry – it’s very easy to wipe off the excess when the last bit of whipped cream gets squished out when you get to the end of the roll.
  4. Load the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag with a closed star tip (I used the Wilton 2D!), and pipe a design onto the top of the roll.
    Tip: To decorate the top, I swished back and forth from one end of the roll to the other, then added dots of cream to either side. Feel free to get creative and do whatever makes you happy!
  5. In the microwave, melt together the chocolate chips and heavy cream in 15 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the Swiss roll.
  6. In the microwave, heat up about 3 tbs of apricot preserves until the consistency is fairly runny, then strain using a fine mesh sieve. Drizzle the strained preserves over the Swiss roll, then serve. Enjoy!

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