My son Nick was turning thirty; (I think I was more shaken by the news than he was). I was told by his wife Chelsea that he really liked red velvet cake. Well, here is what I came-up with. Its relatively easy and fast but best to make over a couple of days in stages. One day to make the raspberry coulis, and chop the pistachios, one day to make the cake and filling. Assembly takes 30 minutes, and voilà! He really liked it.
Chocolate raspberry roll
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
For the cake:
3/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional but it helps with the meringue)
1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup of sugar (can be granulated or powdered)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (can replace the cocoa,water and butter with a chocolate bar 70% bittersweet, 100g)
1/4 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour (all-purpose or cake flour), optional (see note)
1 Tbsp red food color (optional)
For the filling:
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (can add more to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 envelope whipping cream stabilizer (optional)
For raspberry coulis:
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup raspberry jelly or preserves
juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup raspberry jelly (store bought to save time)
2 cup of raspberries (may need more)
1 cup of toasted pistachios
2 or more fresh mint sprigs
Making the cake:
1 half sheet pan measuring 15"x10" (it should be deeper than a regular cookie sheet)
2 or 3 spatulas, 2 rubber and one metal for spreading the batter
electric egg beaters or a stand-in mixer
blender or food processor for making the coulis
parchment paper for lining the pan
1 large whisk for folding the meringue into the chocolate batter
measuring spoons and cups
glass measuring cup to boil water and melt jelly
1. Boil water in measuring cup, add the cocoa, butter and vanilla and mix till smooth. Set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with the cream of tartar, adding 3 tablespoons of sugar gradually. Beat until the meringue is shiny and soft peaks form when stopping the machine. Place the meringue covered in the fridge while doing the egg yolk batter.
3.Beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar for 5 to 10 minutes until light colored and thick. Add the cocoa cream and mix to combine. If desired, add a tablespoon of red color to get a red velvet effect.
4. Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and place rack in the lower third of the oven.
5. Get the meringue from the fridge and start very gently folding it into the cocoa mixture, a little at a time, using a large whisk or rubber spatula. Keep at it until all the whites are mixed in but not deflated. The batter should be thick and delicate like a chocolate mousse. If not, the way to rescue it is to add some all-purpose flour (or cake flour), about 1/2 cup, by sprinkling it over the batter and by folding it gently as well.
6. Spread the batter onto the pan gently, using a long spatula, but without pressing on the batter too much. Insert into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. The cake will look set and will spring back when touched lightly with one’s finger. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with some cocoa powder. Then cover it with a wet (but dry) kitchen towel and start rolling it while removing it from the pan, holding the parchment paper and towel. When the cake is shaped like a roll, let it cool a bit. Prepare the filling.
7. Place the whipping cream, vanilla, powdered sugar and whipped cream stabilizer if using in a cold mixing bowl. Whip the mixture for 5 minutes or so until it thickens.
8.Unroll the cake and remove both the towel and parchment paper. Spread it with the whipped cream and roll it back, using the paper for support. Wrap the cake in the towel tightly and place it in the fridge for a few hours.
9.Prepare the raspberry coulis. Place the raspberries, lemon juice, sugar and some raspberry jelly in a mixer and process till pureed. Run the mixture through a strainer to remove any seeds.
10.To garnish the cake: Cut two pieces on the diagonal from both ends of the cake and set them aside (to eat separately). In a microwaveable bowl, place a few tablespoons of raspberry jelly and heat till it melts. Run it through a strainer if the jelly has seeds. Apply a thin coat of jelly on the cake (on top) and immediately press three rows of fresh raspberries onto the cake. Dab the remaining jelly on the raspberries to give them some shine.
11. Plating: Dab some pistachios on one side (over the cream filling if it is visible) or on the side and ladle the raspberry coulis on the other side. Place a couple mint leaves on the corners to add a splash of green.
This cake can be made successfully with or without flour; if the egg yolks are beaten till thick and the meringue is in good shape (firm, shiny), and the folding of the two is done without a problem (keeping the meringue fluffy within the batter), then no flour is needed.
I made it this time without the help of electric beaters or my beloved stand in mixer and so the yolks were not thick at all, and I had to use some flour to give the cake some body and structure. The flour can be added lightly by sprinkling it through a strainer and folding it into the batter gently with a whisk or spatula.
If you don't have cocoa powder in your pantry, you can melt a bar of good quality bittersweet chocolate (about 100 g or 125g the equivalent of 3 ounces) in the microwave and use it instead.
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