If you follow me on Facebook, you may know a little bit about the making of this roulade already including the ensuing drama that followed. It was Hungry Hubby’s birthday on Easter Monday this year and as has become tradition, we head home to my parents for the long weekend for a birthday BBQ celebration. As The Hungry One had already had a Nutella pear tart* I made for him to take to work to celebrate with his colleagues, he requested a roulade so that my coeliac dad could join in the dessert fun that weekend. I was so proud of myself for getting through a crazy week with my day job and having time to make not one but two birthday “cakes” for Hungry Hubby, I even posted the photos to Facebook on Good Friday night, so happy was I with how it looked. Sod’s Law intervened and this particular Black Forest Roulade never made it to the party!
(*= you may have seen piccies of that too on Facebook but the tart remains a prototype and so the recipe isn’t ready for you just yet!)
*Sigh*. Now, there’s a few idiosyncrasies in my personality for which I am well known. And compulsive list making with more than a touch of OCD about them is one of those classic JoJo-isms. It wasn’t until Hungry Hubby and I were drinking coffee in my folks’ kitchen after our 80-odd mile drive, smug from a clear run through the Woodhead Pass and Glossop (local residents will know how rare drives like that are!) that I realised the beautiful roulade I’d prepared with care and love was still in our fridge. In the Apple Chapel! I’m not proud of this, but I snapped – I shouted a very loud expletive near Hungry Hubby not meaning to shout at him, but that was how it came out and before long, I was crying alone in the garden. I know. A shining example of good and perfectly reasonable behaviour…
Poor old Daddums was left bewildered as I wept on the patio. Why on earth is the girl crying over a sodding cake? He even offered in all seriousness to drive back to Sheffield to retrieve it which just made me more emotionally labile but of course, that would have been ridiculous! You see, it was a case of the cake being the straw that broke the camel’s back. Work pressures, including my training ending in August with no job on the horizon to follow it, and me doing an extremely challenging and demanding post-graduate course, not to mention the back pain severe enough to reduce me to tears and the sheer waste of the first roulade which would have to be discarded after the 4 days I’d be away broke me. Once I got myself together and felt some relief at a good cry, me and Daddums took a blotchy face (me) trip to buy more ingredients so I could make another roulade for Hungry Hubby. Here’s where the Facebook posts came into it. This is me, a few hours-post-melodramatic-meltdown, making a second roulade using my father’s mother’s rotary whisk.
As my parents aren’t bakers (although Step Mum was as her first job, in fact, a baker she hasn’t baked in many years) there are no scales in their kitchen – just the measuring cups I bought my dad years ago when he was cooking for himself regularly. Luckily though, chocolate roulades are a regular bake I do for family get-togethers and I know the recipe off by heart. I’ve made so many the process of making it is almost like a dance I know without having to think about it. I managed to cobble it together with no bother and actually, this replacement roulade was even better than the original! It just goes to show how forgiving the recipe is.
Can you see why Hungry Hubby loves this so much? Black Forest Gateau is his childhood dream dessert and I love making different takes on it for him when a special occasion calls. A roulade is almost a flourless sponge that is filled with cream and in this case, black cherry conserve and then covered in chocolate ganache. Kirsch, that clear brandy flavoured with cherry, is the traditional alcohol that goes into a BFG (that’s what Hungry Hubby calls the gateau!) but to be honest, we don’t care for it – it’s too strong on the alcohol and too weak on the fruit fronts for our tastes. Instead, I use Chambord, that black cherry and raspberry liqueur which is sweet and very fruity, to flavour the cream as well as the ganache. It works beautifully and I am delighted to say that Hungry Hubby, Daddums, and my “oh I don’t like a pudding” Step Mum and even Step Bro adored it. We went on to have a superb birthday BBQ and Hungry Hubby, being the wonderful guy that he is, forgave me for being a cow bag and we all went to bed full of roulade and laughing about the daftness that was the day.
P.s. in case you’re wondering – the infamous first roulade became the “model” for this photo shoot and very sadly had to be discarded due to the fresh cream content, which can only be safely stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours before potentially harmful bacteria start to grow. Curse that sodding Food Hygiene and Safety NVQ I did last year for imparting such knowledge to me lol!
A naturally gluten free chocolate and cherry dessert fit for a party (and Black Forest Gateau lovers)! It freezes beautifully and only gets better for making ahead.
- 175 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 175 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (plus more for dusting)
- 175 g black cherry conserve (I use half a jar of the Bonne Maman one)
- 350 ml double cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Chambord (a black cherry and raspberry liqueur)
- 125 g double cream
- 2 tbsp Chambord
- 200 g milk chocolate, chopped
- 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
Start by preheating the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a tin of approximately 8 x 12 inches with baking parchment. I highly recommend lightly greasing the paper once it's in the tin to help release it later - I dip a piece of kitchen roll in rapeseed oil and lightly brush it over the parchment.
Melt the dark chocolate for the roulade in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly or give it 15-30 second zaps in the microwave. Set aside for now.
Add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use an electric hand whisk) and whisk to stiff peaks - you want them snowy white and glossy. Set aside.
Whisk the yolks and caster sugar in another bowl until tripled in volume. No need to clean the whisk in between! Fold in the cocoa then scrape in all of the chocolate and fold that in too - it gets quite thick and sticky at this point but persevere!
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, one large spoonful at a time then pour into the prepared baking tin once smooth. Level it off as best you can (it's always a little lumpy - that is fine) and bake for 18-20 minutes. It will be dry to the touch, bounce back lightly when pressed and very well puffed up when cooked.
Remove from the oven and carefully remove the roulade by it's baking parchment. Sift over a little cocoa to give a light coating, place a second piece of parchment on top then in one deft move, flip it over and peel off the piece of parchment that the roulade baked in. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave until cold before filling - usually about 30 minutes (nice and fast!).
When cold, spread the cherry conserve over the roulade, not quite to the edges. Whisk the double cream with the vanilla and Chambord to soft peaks only then spread this on top of the conserve. Don't worry if it mixes in a little.
Now for the not-so-scary bit - rolling that roulade up! Turn it so a long side faces you then with confidence, start rolling by folding over the first inch thoroughly anticipating it cracks. Once started, don't stop and roll it up firmly, using the cocoa-dusted parchment it is laying on to help you. Flip over seam side down onto a serving plate and pop in the fridge for now.
Heat the cream and Chambord for the ganache in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil, then pour over the chopped milk and dark chocolate. Stir well and beat until smooth. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
Retrieve the roulade from the fridge and spoon over the ganache. If it's too runny, you can spoon over half, chill for 15 minutes then add the rest. Smooth over with a knife/palette knife or spatula and decorate as you please - I go for Dr Oetker's chocolate stars but fresh cherries, when in season would be sublime.
- You need a tin that measures about 7-8 by 11-12 inches. Traybake tins are approximately this size but check your roasting dishes or if you can invest in the Alan Silverwood 12" x 4" deep Multisize Foldaway Cake Pan, set that to 7 x 12 inches.
- Will keep in the fridge for 48 hours or freeze it sliced or whole but wrapped in foil.
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